C17 and later gardens surrounding a C16 and later former manor house, within a late C18/C19 landscape park.
The Norman Hinton Castle was a royal residence during the C14 and early C15, falling into disrepair during the later C15 when it was unoccupied. It is probable that Dr George Owen, Royal Physician to Henry VIII, Edward VI and Queen Mary, began the construction of the present house before his death in 1558. The formal gardens and pleasure grounds were perhaps constructed during the mid C17, incorporating the former castle earthworks and including the motte as a viewing mount, the whole encircled by the former moat. The house was extended c 1700 by John Loder, and the park created some time in the late C18/early C19. Alterations made by Robert Loder-Symonds to the house, in Gothic style, 1830(2, included the construction of an orangery, with further gothicisation later in the C19, mostly removed by Nicholas Davenport in the 1930s. The site remains (1998) in private ownership.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Hinton Manor lies in the Vale of the White Horse, adjacent to the north-west corner of the village of Hinton Waldrist, the park lying adjacent to the west side of the village. The c 45ha site is bounded to the east by the village and Church Road, and on the other sides by agricultural land. Part of the northern section of the east boundary is defined by an C18 brick and stone wall (listed grade II) which also forms the east boundary of the walled kitchen garden. The house and gardens lie at the edge of a plateau overlooking parkland sloping down to the west. The Warren slopes down to the north, towards the River Thames meandering c 1km from the site, levelling out in its northern half. The steep slope to the north is part of the escarpment running from Cumnor to Faringdon and enjoys long views north across the upper Thames valley towards the Cotswolds. The setting is largely agricultural, together with the adjacent church and village. The site is one of a group of landscape parks lying close to the A420 Oxford to Swindon road, including Buckland Park (qv), Pusey House (qv) and Kingston Bagpuize House.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
The main entrance is approached from the village to the south, along Church Road. The drive enters past the north side of the churchyard, 50m east of the house, between late C20 wooden gates. Emerging from a belt of trees, it opens into a turning circle by the south, entrance front, enclosing an oval panel of lawn, with two large cedars standing on the lawn to the south.
A further drive enters 100m south-east of the house, adjacent to the south side of the churchyard, between late C20 wooden gates and through a belt of mature trees. Continuing west along the south side of the lake, overlooking the south lawn and the south front of the house to the north, the drive turns north-east at the west end of the lake. The latter is divided from a narrow pool to the west (now (1998) a swimming pool) by a single-arched stone bridge (dated 1834, listed grade II), standing 120m south-west of the house and carrying the drive. The lake and pool are both set in the south arm of the former moat, overlooked by The Mount to the south-west. The drive continues east, along the north side of the south lawn, arriving at the turning circle on the south front.
Formerly (Rocque, 1761; OS) a further drive approached through the park from the south, entering off the west end of the High Street, 500m south-south-east of the house, past a picturesque single-storey stone lodge (late C18/C19) set back off the street. The drive curved north-west across the park, with views west down the hillside towards Buckland and north-west towards the river, entering the pleasure grounds c 180m south-west of the house between gate piers of local limestone coral, with moulded cornices and ball finials, supporting wrought-iron gates (c 1700, the whole listed grade II). The drive from here (extant) continues north-east, joining the southern drive through the garden adjacent to The Mount. It appears that in the mid C18 (Rocque, 1761; reconstructed Enclosure map, 1762 in Howse 1968) the northern end of Church Road (then known as Broad Way) encircled the garden to the west, possibly on the course of the southern drive within the garden, so that the former south drive through the park (at that time open fields) crossed the road before continuing north-east through the garden, entering probably via the c 1700 gateway.
Hinton Manor (C16 with additions c 1700 and C19, listed grade II*) stands towards the north end of the site, close to the east boundary and Church Road beyond. The two-storey, rendered house presents its main facade to the south, with the Regency-style orangery (1832) attached to the east end. The north, garden front contains the garden door, with a grand arched pediment above, together with a blind doorway in similar style standing at right angles, set into a block adjacent to the west.
The rendered, Gothick-style coach house (early C19, listed grade II) stands 80m west of the house, built of two storeys with a castellated parapet.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
The gardens surround the house and are partly enclosed by the former moat of the Norman castle, incorporating remaining medieval features.
Against the east front lies a garden of clipped box hedges and topiary work separated by grass paths, surrounding a circular fountain pool (early C18, listed grade II) in Baroque style standing c 25m east of the house. To the east of this, separated by an informal shrubbery, lies the Long Walk, connecting the main, east drive with the north corner of the garden via a path bounded to the east by a long border.
West of the house, a balustraded terrace looks south and west over lawns planted with mature specimen trees, towards the lake and Mount, and beyond this south-west across the park to distant hills. Formerly the Norman motte, the c 6m high and c 20m wide Mount was incorporated within the garden as a viewing mount, embellished, probably during the C17, with a spiral path ascending it. It is now (1998) covered with shrubs including mature specimens of box and yew. Panoramic views extend west, south and north from The Mount over the Thames valley.
North of the house the early C18 garden door opens onto a square terrace (mid C20, CL 1942) with rough-cast walls surmounted by an early C18 balustrade, with a set of balustraded stone steps leading down to the north lawn below. From here long views extend north over the Thames valley. At the north-west edge of the north lawn, the inner bank of the former moat divides the lawn from the rectangular bowling green (possibly C17) below. To the west of this the remaining arm of the dry moat extends west and then south, enclosing a tennis court and circular rose garden which are screened by informal tree and shrub planting. A gravel path extends along the top of the inner bank of the moat, with views west and north, connecting the south lawn with the north lawn. Adjacent to the north-west lies The Warren, the site of the medieval manorial warren. This rectangular, largely wooded area slopes down the hillside, its northern half levelling out and containing three central, rectangular canals arranged in a U-shape, possibly medieval fishponds (Davenport 1976).
The park lies to the south-west and south of the garden, running from the eastern plateau down the slope to the west, across which the former south drive ran. The eastern half, laid to pasture, contains single trees, whilst the western half, under arable cultivation, encloses Woodington's Copse, with a pond on the south boundary. Views extend west towards Buckland and north towards the Thames and beyond.
The walled garden, largely laid to lawn, lies 50m north-east of the house, set in a curve bounded by the C18 brick and stone wall standing above Church Road to the east. It enjoys long views across the plain to the north.
Victoria History of the County of Berkshire 4, (1924), pp 463-6
Country Life, 92 (11 December 1942), pp 1130-3
N Pevsner and J Sherwood, The Buildings of England: Berkshire (1966), p 155
J Howse, Hinton Waldrist Through the Centuries (1968)
N Davenport, The Honour of St Valery, the Story of an English Manor House (1976)
J Rocque, A topographical survey of the county of Berks ..., 1761
Enclosure map for Hinton Waldrist parish, 1762 (Oxfordshire County Record Office)
C and J Greenwood, Map of the county of Berks ..., surveyed 1822-3, published 1824
OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1881(2
2nd edition published 1911/1914
OS 25" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1876
2nd edition published 1912
Description written: October 1998
Amended: April 1999
Register Inspector: SR
Edited: January 2000