Mid to late C18 pleasure grounds largely laid out by Thomas Scrope forming the setting for a country house of C17 origins.
Sir William Lister of Rippingdale built a new house in 1628 on the foundations of the site of the former Coleby Hall. The new hall was extended in 1687 by Sir William's great great-nephew Thomas Lister. When Thomas died in 1717 the property passed to his eldest daughter, Mary and it was her nephew, Thomas Scrope who inherited Coleby in 1734. Between 1744 and 1780 Thomas laid out new grounds with water features and built two temples, as well as making further additions to the Hall in 1785. When he died the estate passed to a distant cousin, Stephen Tempest of Broughton and the Hall was let. His grandson, however, Major Arthur Cecil Tempest (1837-1920) took up occupation in 1856 and became the sole owner in 1895, during which time he made major alterations to the Hall and the estate. Major Tempest was succeeded in 1920 by his son, Brigadier General Roger Stephen Tempest who sold the Hall and its grounds to Colonel Hurndall in 1928. The property was again for sale in 1933 when it was purchased by Michael Fowkes although during the Second World War the Hall was requisitioned by the Army and the RAF. It remained in the ownership of the Fowkes family until 1981, when the Hall, stable yard, and some of the grounds were sold to a property developer. The site remains (2000) in divided private ownership.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Coleby Hall lies in a rural setting c 11km south of Lincoln on the northern edge of Coleby village. The c 12ha site is bounded to the east and partly to the north by a public footpath and to the south by Coleby village. Otherwise it is surrounded by farmland. The Hall stands at the centre of the site with flat land to the east and steeply sloping ground to the west giving extensive views out of the site across open farmland.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
There are two approaches to the site, the main entrance being from the east. A drive leads from the main Lincoln road (A607) for 270m to a semicircular arched stone gateway (listed grade II) standing c 300m south-east of the Hall which marks the entrance to the grounds. The archway was built as an imitation Roman arch based on Newport Arch in Lincoln and was erected in 1774 for Thomas Scrope, possibly designed by John Venn (fl 1790s), William Chamber's assistant (Harris 1970). The east drive then passes a white rendered lodge with a pantile roof, built in 1933 and enlarged in the 1990s, before continuing westwards through the grounds for c 150m to join the south drive. The southern entrance is from Coleby village off Far Lane. From the entrance gateway the drive leads north-westwards for 230m, joining with the east drive to arrive at the east front of the Hall.
Coleby Hall (listed grade II*) is built of coursed rubble and ashlar under a red-tiled roof. It is constructed in two and a half storeys with three ranges in a 'U' plan. The Hall was built in 1628 for Sir William Lister on the foundations of the old hall, with the eastern gable added by Thomas Lister in 1687. The single-storey porch on the south front was added by Thomas Scrope in 1760, who was also responsible for the extension of the east wing between 1785 and 1795 to designs by John Venn. By 1850 a second storey had been added to the porch for Charles Mainwairing, tenant of Stephen Tempest, and in the 1890s the east wing was rebuilt and a new entrance front made. Coleby Hall is now (2000) subdivided into separate dwellings, each having their own C20 garden.
The stables and coach house (late C18, listed grade II) stand c 50m north of the Hall and have also been converted into private dwellings. They are built of ashlar with hipped pantile roofs and have a two-storey centre with arched carriage doorways and single-storey wings.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
The garden lies to the south and east of the Hall, bounded by C20 wooden fencing. A wide gravel path runs below the south front, beyond which lies the south lawn edged on three sides with trees and shrubs and with a C20 wooden summerhouse standing c 60m west of the Hall. The south lawn is shown on a drawing by C Nattes of 1805 while the 1906 OS map records the tree planting around its perimeter. Immediately to the east and west of the Hall are the private late C20 gardens associated with the subdivision into separate dwellings.
The pleasure grounds are laid out around the boundaries of the site and were constructed by Thomas Scrope between 1744 and 1780 (Fowkes 1995). A steep path leads south-westwards from the Hall through woodland down towards the Small Pond, now (2000) drained, in the south-west corner of the site. Large stones mark the remains of a cascade linking the Small Pond to the Long Pond which runs parallel to the western boundary of the site. Scrope developed the Long Pond, which had been the fishponds for the earlier hall, into a feature with a rustic bridge (now, 2000, gone) and constructed the cascade in 1770. The path continues along the west bank of Long Pond with glimpsed views eastwards over the water. At the northern end of Long Pond the path turns east along the boundary past Round Pond which lies c 150m north-west of the Hall. On the northern bank of Round Pond is a Grotto (Scrope 1780) with an arched stone entrance, above which is an inscribed stone plaque. The reclining statue of a woman which lay in the Grotto does not survive. The path continues eastwards to the site of the Little Temple, erected in 1759 by Thomas Scrope as a memorial to William Pitt, Lord Chatham. It stood c 100m north-west of the Hall overlooking the valley and was built of wood and plaster; it was demolished in the late C20. The pleasure grounds continue on the east side of the stables with a path which runs along the remains of a beech avenue to the north-east corner of the site where stands a temple to Romulus and Remus (listed grade I) designed by Sir William Chambers, a friend of Thomas Scrope, in 1762. The Temple, which stands on an open lawn backed by trees, is built of ashlar and cement and is circular with two projecting side apses and pedimented porches. It was used as a Roman Catholic chapel in the early C20. A ha-ha constructed by Scrope in 1753 runs along the eastern boundary of the pleasure grounds dividing them from the public footpath and the fields beyond.
The pleasure grounds surround small areas of parkland laid out by Thomas Scrope between 1744 and 1780 to the east and west of the Hall. The eastern parkland is separated from the main drive by wooden fencing. It is sparsely scattered with trees and has a tennis court close to the eastern boundary. West of the Hall the parkland is now (2000) divided into paddocks. Further westwards is grassland used for grazing cattle, and this is sparsely scattered with young trees.
The walled kitchen garden lies c 450m south-south-east of the Hall. It is triangular in shape, the woodland of the pleasure grounds extending around its boundary to north and east. The garden is divided with temporary wooden fencing from north to south-west of the Gardener's Cottage. A two-storey house, built in 1980, stands to the west of the fence with a late C20 garden laid out around it.
H Thorold and J Yates, Lincolnshire, A Shell Guide (1965), pp 46-7
J Harris, Sir William Chambers, Knight of the Pole Star (1970), p 202, pl 82
N Pevsner et al, The Buildings of England: Lincolnshire (2nd edn 1989), pp 228-9
T R Leach, Lincolnshire Country Houses and their Families II, (1991), pp 154-63
R S Fowkes, Coleby Hall, guidebook, (1995)
H Thorold, Lincolnshire Houses (1999), pp 128-9
OS 6" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1906
OS 25" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1905
C Nattes, Coleby Hall, 1805 (private collection)
C Nattes, The bridge over Long Pond, c 1805 (private collection)
Description written: October 2000
Redrafted: May 2001 (EMP)
Register Inspector: CEB
Edited: May 2002