Elements of a C17 garden and park associated with an imposing hunting lodge, later a house. Some garden and park modifications and additions of C18 to early C20 date
Westwood was a nunnery in the Middle Ages. At the Dissolution it passed to Sir John Pakington (d 1560), whose main seat of Hampton Lovett lay 2km to the north-east. His grandson John Pakington (kt 1593, d 1625), who inherited in 1571, built a hunting box here, which after the Civil War became the Pakingtons' principal residence. It remained a part of the Hampton Lovett estate and in the ownership of the Pakingtons until the estate was sold c 1900. The house was bought in the early C20 by the first Lord Doverdale, but on the death of the third and last Baron (who married an Australian chorus girl) it was sold and eventually became flats. The park passed into separate ownership in the C20 and by the late C20 was intensively farmed.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Westwood lies immediately west of Droitwich, the suburb of Boycott extending up to the Elmbridge Brook which forms the eastern boundary of the park. To the west of the park is the scattered settlement of Hadley, Hadley Mill lying on the Hadley Brook which bounds the park to the west. To the south the park wall follows the Westwood Way, from Hadley to Boycott, while to the north the park boundary follows field edges. The registered area is c 240ha.
Westwood House lies on high ground in the centre of the park, with commanding views in all directions, especially from its upper floors.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
Westwood House is approached from the south-east, via a 1km long drive, lined with conifers near the house, from the Droitwich Lodge (listed grade II) close to Boycott Bridge. The lodge is of the mid C19 (present by 1883), and is an L-plan building with a stone porch set diagonally in its inner angle and with elaborate bargeboards. Adjoining it and straddling the drive is an ornate brick and stone gateway, probably of about the same date, whose quadrant walls have arcades of stone arches (listed grade II).
Two secondary drives approach from the south, crossing each other midway across the park. Both have lodges. The more easterly is Middle Lodge (listed grade II), which adjoins Park Farm. It (like the Coach House, which is attributed in the listing description as possibly by Sir Reginald Blomfield, and the Boathouse) is a later C19 (post 1883) brick building with Jacobean (Flemish-inspired) gables. Three hundred metres to the west is Ombersley Lodge (listed grade II), a two-storey mid C19 (present 1883) brick building with a two-storey gabled and jettied porch to the centre. Its gates, gate piers and quadrant walls (all listed grade II) are very similar to those at the Droitwich Lodge entrance.
Westwood House (listed grade I) was begun c 1598 following Sir John Pakington's marriage of that year to Mrs Barnham, a rich widow. As originally built it comprised a more or less square, brick hunting lodge of four storeys. Diagonal four-storey wings, perhaps replacing angle turrets, were added to each corner c 1660-70, that perhaps being when canted bay windows, shaped gables, and diagonal chimneys were added to the original build together with detached three-storey brick pavilions opposite and c 35m from the angles, a gatehouse (listed grade I), and diagonal courts to north and south which linked the pavilions to the main house. The two western pavilions (the survivors, Falcon Tower and Heron=s Tower both listed grade II) and the court walls were swept away in the C18. A single-story kitchen was added on the west side c 1840. The roofs of the end bays of the wings have elaborate two-stage ogee cupolas redone by Sir Reginald Blomfield soon after 1900.
North-west of the house stands a later C19 (present by 1883) brick Coach House (listed grade II), possibly by Sir Reginald Blomfield, with Jacobean (Flemish-inspired) gables. In the C20 it was converted to two houses. Several other buildings, mostly C20 houses, lie north and west of the kitchen gardens.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
The garden around the house lies within a boundary comprising, on the east and south sides, a brick base with piers every c 5m, between which is a wooden palisade of pointed stakes set corner-wise. The brickwork and the stone pier caps are similar to those of the kitchen garden, which appears to be of mid to late C18 date. The wall is shown on an engraving of 1847. An additional area to the south was enclosed by a wall of similar character in the earlier C20 (post 1925).
Around the house are lawns with mature specimen trees. The main pleasure grounds lie north and south of it, defined and bounded in part by topiaried yew hedges, probably C19. South of the house low stone walls incorporating a bench seat define a small court, along the centre of which is a pool or canal. All this is of the very late C19 or early C20. The southernmost corner of the garden area is separated off by a tall yew hedge. A wooden Chinoiserie summerhouse of the mid C18 lies within, looking across the park to the Great Pool. North of the house is a large lawn with a cedar tree. Off this, northwards, leads the linear Secret Garden (created 1885-1925), a narrow enclosure heavily planted with conifers and bisected with a straight path leading to a stone bench seat looking back to the house.
An engraving of c 1698 by Kip (see VCH 1913) suggests that the whole landscape at Westwood may have been re-ordered as a part of the building campaign of c 1660-70 which saw the addition of angled wings to the house and the construction of the four garden pavilions and the gatehouse. Kip's view shows a diamond-shaped, grassed, east forecourt defined by straight walls from the two pavilions to the angled wings of the house and to the gatehouse. That forecourt was crossed by the main approach to the house, which continued the line of the main drive from the south-east. On the opposite side of the house was a similar court, with a stables range taking the place of the gatehouse; the court was used as a tilting ground or exercise yard. Formal gardens lay north and south of the house. The east and south boundaries of the C17 garden complex were apparently followed exactly when landscaping and re-ordering took place in the C18, whereas west and north of the house slightly enlarged boundaries were established.
The southern part of the park, between the Ombersley and Droitwich lodges, is bounded by a C19 brick wall with clay coping stones. The vast majority of the park is now arable farmland. The main historic features still extant in the late C20 were: the Great Pool in the south-east of the park and two fishponds north and north-west of the house; Nunnery Wood in the north-west of the park, Bowling Green Plantation (not present 1883) 300m east of the house and Broadfield Plantation and belt planting around the south-eastern part of the park; and a remnant avenue running due east from the house to the south of Bowling Green Plantation.
On the south-east shore of the Great Pool, and adjoining the park wall, is a later C19 (it or a predecessor present 1883) brick boathouse (listed grade II) with gables in a Jacobean (Flemish-inspired) style. The building resembles the Coach House, and may also be by Sir Reginald Blomfield.
Creation of a park of sorts may have soon followed Sir John Pakington's acquisition of Westwood in 1539, as his petition to the Crown for the property stated that he had 'no pasture for his horses although he was in the king's service in North Wales to his great charge'. In 1618 his great nephew obtained licence (perhaps retrospective, as a dispute over the stopping of roads is dated 1616) to impark 1000 acres (c 400ha) at Westwood and elsewhere, whereby he created two great parks called Westwood Parks, one stocked with red deer and one with fallow. The Great Pool was created, roads across the later Westwood Park stopped, and the modern road along the southern park boundary constructed. If Kip's view is to be believed, by 1698 the park around Westwood House was largely planted with oaks, cut through with straight rides radiating from the house and with a great circuit ride c 300m from the house. Nash reported the park still to contain c 200 acres (c 83ha) of oak wood in the late C18.
The brick-walled kitchen garden lies c 50m west of Westwood House, and is linked to it by a C17 wall. The kitchen garden walls, however, are probably mid to late C18, and are stone topped and have stone-capped brick piers every c 5m. The main entrance is in the east wall. The north wall is considerably taller than the others; along the west wall are some glasshouses, probably early C20. Old apple and pear trees line the quadrant paths. A walk runs along the outside of the south wall, defined to the south by a box hedge.
The brick walling and stone pier caps are similar to those used for the brick, palisaded wall around the garden.
The kitchen garden is the traditional site of the nunnery (VCH 1913, 236).
T Nash, Collections for a History of Worcester I, (1781), p 351
The Victoria History of the County of Worcester 3, (1913), pp 154-5, 234-7
Country Life, 64 (14 July 1928), pp 50-7
Trans Worcestershire Archaeol Soc 13, (1937), pp 28-49
P Reid, Burke's and Savills Guide to Country Houses: Volume II, Herefordshire (1980), p 230
OS 6" to 1 mile: Worcestershire sheet 22 SW, 1st edition published 1884
Worcestershire sheet 22 SW, 1925-6 edition
Worcestershire sheet 22 SE, 1st edition published 1884
Worcestershire sheet 22 SE, 1925-6 edition
Worcestershire sheet 28 NE, 1st edition published 1886
Worcestershire sheet 28 NE, 1925-6 edition
Worcestershire sheet 29 NW, 1st edition published 1885
Worcestershire sheet 29 NW, 1925-6 edition
OS 25" to 1 mile: Worcestershire sheet 22.13, 1st edition published 1884
Description written: 1997
Register Inspector: PAS
Edited: September 1999