Pleasure grounds laid out 1723-37 for Sir Charles Hotham, fifth baronet, possibly with the involvement of Richard, third Earl of Burlington and with advice from Burlington's head gardener Thomas Knowlton. The grounds are one of the best-preserved early C18 Rococo gardens in the country. The park is of early and late C19 date.
The manor of Dalton was held by the chapter of Beverley until the suppression of the collegiate church in 1548. In 1552 the Crown granted the property to Frances Aslaby and it remained in the family until Thomas Aslaby sold it to John Hotham Bt in 1680. It passed to Sir Charles Hotham, fourth baronet, in 1697 and the fifth baronet, also Sir Charles, made it his principal seat in 1723. Sir Charles was a close friend of Lord Burlington whose wife was a relative of Hotham's wife, and he visited Burlington when the latter was resident at his nearby country seat, Londesborough Hall (qv), where Burlington was laying out pleasure grounds during the 1720s and 1730s.
The property descended with the baronetcy in the Hotham family thereafter and remains in private ownership (1998).
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Dalton Hall lies immediately north and west of the village of South Dalton. The c 200ha site is on rolling land in a rural and agricultural setting. The boundaries are formed by the by-road between Market Weighton and South Dalton on the south side, fencing dividing it from fields and the precincts of the village to the south-east, and by the road to Holme on the Wolds to the north-east. Fencing dividing parkland and plantations from fields forms the boundary on the north and west sides.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
There are four main entrances. In the centre of South Dalton, West End leads west from Main Street and on to a drive called Park Road which runs west across the park. A drive branches south-west to the Hall and the road continues westwards across the park much as shown on the 1855 OS map, when it formed the northern park boundary and was a by-road to Market Weighton. The present (1997) main entrance is on the north side of the village where a lodge on Main Street leads to a drive which runs west and south-west to join Park Road. This is not shown on the 1855 OS map but appears on that of 1890. There is another entrance on the west side of the site at Park Cottages from which Park Road runs eastwards. An entrance from the Market Weighton road has a lodge called South Lodge from which a drive runs north-east to the Hall as shown on the 1890 OS map.
Dalton Hall (listed grade II*) lies south-west of the centre of the park and was built 1771-6 for Sir Charles Hotham, eighth baronet. The building was probably designed by Thomas Atkinson and consists of a central pedimented block flanked by single-storey linking ranges and pedimented pavilions. It was extended to the north and south by Payne & Talbot for the fifth Lord Hotham in 1872(7 and altered during the 1950s. The Hall is on the site proposed by the fifth baronet who commissioned ambitious plans in the 1730s for a new house on an axis with the pleasure grounds he had laid out. The plans were not executed and he continued to live in a small house to the east of the present building which was later demolished, probably when the new house had been completed.
A stable block (listed grade II) lies in woodland c 150m north-west of the Hall. It was designed by Atkinson in the 1770s and refronted by Payne & Talbot in Italianate style during the 1870s.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
The east side the Hall overlooks a forecourt and turning circle with views to the east over the park. On the west side of the Hall there is a terrace overlooking a lawn with shaped beds which was laid out by William Broderick Thomas during the 1870s. West of this is a large lawn in the form of an elongated oval fringed by woodland and at the west end of the lawn there is a level grass ride along a yew-lined walk through woodland to a garden pavilion (listed grade I, attributed to Colen Campbell or Roger Morris) which lies c 750m west of the Hall. The building has Tuscan columns with vermiculated bands and a pediment surmounted by a ball finial and is based on the design of the York Water Gate (listed grade I) in London. Estate accounts (see Neave and Turnbull 1992) show that it was built at a cost of £294 in 1733-4.
On the south side of the oval lawn a serpentine path leads west along the edge of the lawn, and a straight path runs alongside the north edge. A plan of the garden by John Rocque of 1737 (Vitruvius Britannicus) shows the layout with lawn, serpentine south walk, vista and pavilion. The lawn is shown as an oblong with a bow at the west end, and a system of serpentine walks and clearings is shown in the woodland on each side of the walk to the pavilion. These walks are shown in simplified form on the 1850 OS map. The 1890 OS map shows them further simplified and they are now (1998) overgrown.
The garden was laid out in the years following 1729 with advice from Thomas Knowlton (1691-1781), Lord Burlington's head gardener at Londesborough Hall who 'waited on the Honbl. Sr Charles Hotham & spent most of the afternoon with him about a new designe for a garden & paddock &c' (quoted in Neave and Turnbull 1992). There are parallels with the layout of the pleasure grounds at Londesborough, where Lord Burlington is thought to have been responsible for the design (ibid). Estate accounts show that £1660 had been spent on the gardens and the pavilion by 1736 including payments to Stephen Switzer for trees.
The park to the east of the Hall consists of open pasture land with scattered mature trees and clumps. Clumps along the south side of Park Road are the remains of a shelter belt along the former park boundary shown on the 1850 OS map. This part of the park was laid out c 1827 by J N Sleed following the enclosure of fields.
On the north side of the Hall a strip of woodland called Robin Rhea Balk along the west boundary is shown outside the park on the 1850 OS map. Along the north boundary Reservoir Clump lies on the edge of the park to the north. The pattern of trees in the parkland coincides in some respects with field boundaries shown on the 1850 map. To the south of the Hall land sloping down to the Market Weighton road is open pasture planted with scattered trees and clumps replacing fields shown on the 1850 map. These additions to the core of parkland shown in 1850 were made in the 1870s by the fifth Lord Hotham, probably with advice from William Broderick Thomas who was working on the gardens at the time.
Rocque's engraving shows a semicircle of trees east of the future site of the Hall, with a double avenue aligned with the projected east front running from it through fields, but it is not known whether this part of the design was executed.
The walled kitchen garden lies in woodland c 250m south-west of the Hall. Glasshouses are ranged along the inner north wall backed by ancillary buildings. The garden was built in 1822 and laid out by J N Sleed replacing a walled garden shown by Rocque c 200m north-west of the Hall which was built in 1737.
T Badeslade and J Rocque, Vitruvius Britannicus IV, (1737)
The Victoria History of the County of York East Riding 4, (1979), pp 87-8
Country Life, no 20 (17 May 1990), pp 198-200
D Neave and D Turnbull, Landscaped Parks and Gardens of East Yorkshire (1992), pp 68-73
N Pevsner and D Neave, The Buildings of England: Yorkshire, York and the East Riding (1995), pp 704-6
John Rocque, Plan of Gardens at South Dalton, 1737 [in Neave and Turnbull 1992]
OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1855
OS 25" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1890
Description written: June 1998
Amended: March 1999
Register Inspector: CEH
Edited: November 1999