A mid C19 landscape park created as the setting for a mid C19 country house.
In the early C19 the village of Parhamdam (now gone) which lay to the east of South Rauceby was owned by Adlard Welby who had inherited it from his father in 1812. In 1826 he lived in a house called The Cottage but by 1832 he described himself as Adlard Welby of Rauceby Hall (Rogers 1969). In 1841 Adlard Welby sold the estate of Rauceby to Anthony Peacock (1811-66) who over the following two years built the present Rauceby Hall, demolishing the old house and the remains of the village of Parhamdam. Anthony Peacock later took the name of Willson when he inherited property in Lincoln from his maternal grandfather, the Rev John Willson. On Anthony Peacock Willson's death the Hall passed to his eldest son, Mildmay Willson Willson (1847?1912) and then to the younger sons Vere Francis Willson (1855-1917) and Arthur Bruce Willson (1859-1923). Their sister Mary's son, Montegu Haffenden Hall inherited in 1923 but passed the Hall to his cousin John Cracroft-Amcotts (1891-1956) by deed of gift. During the Second World War the Hall was requisitioned by the Royal Air Force. The Hall remains (2000) in the ownership of the family who originally built it.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Rauceby Hall and its grounds are situated 4km west of Sleaford, immediately east of the village of South Rauceby and comprise c 50ha. The northern boundary is marked by Drove Lane. The eastern boundary gives onto arable land to the north and to the south runs adjacent to a track which leads through a small plantation, continues westwards to Home Farm (outside the boundary here registered), and then joins a private road running southwards to the south-east corner of the site. From here the southern boundary runs westwards adjacent to Pinfold Lane and meets the western boundary in the south-west corner of the site. The western boundary follows Main Street then continues north as Tom Lane to the north-west corner of the site where Tom Lane meets Drove Lane.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
The main entrance to Rauceby Hall is off Tom Lane at the north-west corner of the site. A tarmacked drive with stone edging passes between wrought-iron gates with lyre-shaped panels flanked by single matching pedestrian gates supported by rusticated square piers. To the north of the entrance, adjacent to the drive, is the lodge (1877, lodge, gate, and railings all listed grade II), built of limestone ashlar with sloped gables and slate roofs in Tudor style by William Burn (Pevsner et al 1989). The drive curves south-east for 400m through the parkland to reach the west front of Rauceby Hall from where it leads past the Hall, continuing southwards as a track for 520m to a gate in the south-west corner of the park. By 1903 (OS) both drives formed part of the landscaping around the Hall.
Rauceby Hall (listed grade II), which lies on a north-east to south-west axis, is built of limestone ashlar with slate roofs, ornate chimneys, and raised gables with obelisk finials. Designed by William Burn in 1842-3 in Jacobethan style, the Hall has seven bays and three storeys with steep gables. On the north-west front the building comprises a taller four-bay wing to the north with a lower three-bay wing attached to a service block to the south. This entrance front has two doors: to the south is an elaborate doorcase with Doric columns topped by a frieze with an armorial cartouche; north of this is a late C20 door and railings. The south-west front has two canted bays while the east or garden front has seven bays with the service wing and stable block to the north. A fire in the stables in the 1980s destroyed most of its roof and the walls have since been capped. Part of the remaining stable block has been converted into a private dwelling.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
The gardens are situated to the south-west and south-east of the Hall. A lawn to the south-west of the Hall is entered through an ornamental iron gate off the north-west front of the building. Set in the lawn immediately outside the windows is a sunken garden, designed and built in the late 1940s/early 1950s for John Cracroft-Amcotts (G Hoare pers comm, 2000). The rectangular paved garden is edged by a low stone wall cut in with steps to the north-east and south-west with a centrally placed circular flat stone. A lower inner wall retains the flower beds around the edges of the garden. To the south-east of the Hall, outside the windows of the south wing the lawn continues as a grassed upper terrace. The boundaries of the terrace are marked by a low stone wall on the south-east and a stone retaining wall topped with a stone balustrade on the north-east. From steps cut in the south-east upper terrace wall, a path runs south-eastwards towards the lake, c 50m from the Hall.
Parallel to the upper terrace a gravel path leads north-eastwards to the middle terrace. This is also grassed and supports a rosery, a circular feature comprising metal uprights hung with wire, adjacent to the wall of the upper terrace; the rosery was present by 1903 (OS). North-east of the rosery the lawn is broken by a yew tree and a circular flower bed. A short flight of stone steps leads to the lowest terrace immediately outside the service area of the Hall where there is a small kitchen garden edged with a low wall, with a C20 greenhouse adjacent to it.
The path parallel to the upper terrace runs south-westwards towards the ha-ha which forms the boundary of the pleasure grounds. East of the path is a small vegetable garden cut into the lawn. South-east of this adjacent to the ha-ha is a tennis court c 60m from the Hall.
The pleasure grounds, incorporating to the south-east the lake and an ornamental walk to the walled kitchen garden, are marked on their southern and western boundaries by the ha-ha. This was built between 1874 and 1880 (Rogers 1969). The lake is approached from the south-west wing of the Hall by the gravel path leading from the upper terrace and also from a path from the north-east wing of the Hall. The path from the upper terrace, which formerly continued around the lake (OS 1904), now (2000) ends in a circle of gravel. The lakeside path is now approached over the grass. The path continues around the south-west bank of the lake over a small bridge to the woodland at the south-east end of the water. From here the path, marked by clay markers, continues through Gas House Plantation to the west of Hall Farm. From the southern edge of Gas House Plantation a path leads westwards, passing north of the walled garden, to link with an ornamental gate into the south parkland. The lake is fed from a stream to the west of Hollow Belt plantation which runs to a small pond then runs underground south-eastwards under the Hall to re-emerge into the north-west corner of the lake. From the south-east end of the lake a stream is carried parallel to the path in Gas House Plantation in a series of pools. A small lake with accompanying planting of trees and shrubs was created by 1846 as part of the parkland setting for the Hall (Rogers 1969). The lake was enlarged and the bridge added between 1874 and 1880 (ibid).
The wooded pleasure grounds to the north-west of the stables are bounded on three sides by parkland and are approached from the north drive. A brick-lined icehouse lies in the woodland.
The parkland surrounds the Hall, gardens, and pleasure grounds and is under pasture. There are several small woodlands within the parkland: Drove Spinney and Beacon Belt in the north-east and north-west corners of the site respectively, and Well Plantation along the south-west boundary. Keeper's Belt is cut through by the south-east boundary. The Tank Plantations lie within the park to the north-east. An avenue of walnut trees leads from an ornamental gate in Gas House Plantation north of the walled garden into the parkland. The park of 70 acres (29ha) was created by Anthony Peacock Willson in the early 1840s from smaller holdings of land purchased or exchanged from other landowners (ibid). Willson and his son, Mildmay Willson continued to add to their property until the whole of South Rauceby village was included in their estate. They demolished some of the old cottages and built new houses and farmhouses. The old house was demolished for Anthony Peacock when he had the Hall built in 1842?3; an area of earthworks within the park south of the Hall may mark its site (G Hoare pers comm, 2000).
The brick-walled kitchen garden is situated 400m south-east of the Hall. The garden was present by 1903 (OS) with garden buildings on the north and south walls and the gardener's cottage to the south-east of the garden. Half of the garden is now (2000) used for growing eucalyptus trees while the other half is uncultivated. The main entrance to the garden is from the garden walk through the pleasure grounds to the north-east corner of the kitchen garden. Another path north of the kitchen garden leads through an ornamental gate into the parkland.
H Thorold and J Yates, Lincolnshire, A Shell Guide (1965)
A Rogers (ed), Stability and Change (1969)
N Pevsner et al, The Buildings of England: Lincolnshire (2nd edn 1989)
H Thorold, Lincolnshire Houses (1999)
OS 6" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1903..
OS 25" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1905
Description written: May 2000
Amended: April 2002
Register Inspector: CEB
Edited: June 2002