- Heritage Category:
- Park and Garden
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- Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
- Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
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Gardens and a later C18 landscape park including dingle with pools, associated with a country house.
Hatton Grange, which before the Dissolution belonged to Buildwas Abbey, was purchased in the later C17 by Robert Slaney. The latter's great-grandson Plowden Slaney, who was born in 1724, inherited the 1100-acre (c 458ha) estate in 1757. Four years later he married Martha Pitt, of Priors Lee, and two years after that employed T F Pritchard to build a new house for them. Before his death in 1788 Slaney seems also to have made considerable improvements to his estate, and by 1779 had spent some £6630, of which the main building work between 1763 and 1768 accounted for £1553. Slaney was succeeded by his son Robert, under whom work continued; by 1793 the overall sum expended at Hatton had reached £7106. It was presumably in that thirty-year period, 1763-93, that the park was created and the dingle pools modified. After Robert's death in 1834 Hatton passed to his son Robert Aglionby Slaney (d 1862), MP for Shrewsbury and leading national proponent of public parks (Stamper 1996, 87-8). Hatton Grange remains (1998) in private hands.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING Hatton Grange stands in its park 4km south-east of Shifnal, 1km south-east of the A464 to Bridgnorth. To the west the park boundary follows the west bank of Hatton Dingle, and to the south the south bank of the River Worfe. Otherwise the boundary follows field and wood edges. The house occupies a slight rise on the centre-east of the park, looking west across to the Dingle's woods. The area here registered is c 85ha.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES Hatton Grange is approached by a long, mainly tree-lined drive off the A464, at the end of which are Lodge Cottages, a pair of two-storey brick lodges of which the more easterly predates the 1880s. This drive runs south-west for 1km before turning, at the later C19 School Cottage, south-east to approach the north side of the house via the east side of Thick Covert. Baugh's map of 1808 indicates the main approach to have then been on the same line, although slightly later in the C19 the option was apparently provided of approaching the main, west side of the house via a circuitous approach from School Cottage via a route along the east side of Abbot's Pool. Another C19 innovation was an approach from the south, via Adamsford Bridge. These two C19 approaches largely remain, as estate tracks. There is a back drive to Hatton via a drive which departs from the A464 at Rookery Cottages, 700m south-east of Lodge Cottages.
PRINCIPAL BUILDING Hatton Grange (listed grade II*) was designed and built by Thomas Farnolls Pritchard (d 1777), Shropshire's principal architect in the mid C18, with whom Plowden Slaney signed a contract in 1763, two years after his marriage to Martha Pitt. Work began in 1763 and was completed in 1768. It is a south-west-facing, two-and-a-half storey brick house of seven bays, the centre three slightly projecting and surmounted with a pediment carrying a garlanded cartouche. Linking walls curve back to pavilions, from the more southerly of which a buttressed fruit wall leads north-east to a small square dovecote (together listed grade II). Apart from this wall and dovecote, probably late C18, the only substantial external additions to Pritchard's house are projecting two-storey bays added to the south-west front in the later C19.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS A ha-ha defines the pleasure grounds. On the lawn before the main, south-west front is a rectangular pond surrounded by sandstone paving, with to one side a formal garden surrounded by a low yew hedge. A similarly defined rose garden lies close to the south-east front. These features were introduced of the 1930s. There are views from both across the park, with the Temple 400m to the south-west forming an eyecatcher. East of the house, extending to and around the kitchen garden, are shrubbery walks with large numbers of mature specimen trees including yew, beech, oak and cedar.
PARK While the park perimeter is largely wooded, the interior (The Lawn in C18 and C19 sources) is under arable cultivation, albeit with retention of some parkland trees. The Temple was built on the edge of The Lawn, above Hell Pool, in 1969 by Clough Williams-Ellis.
The western boundary of the park comprises Hatton Dingle, a red sandstone gorge which carries the Twyford brook. Dams retain four pools. The largest at 400m long is the most northerly, Abbot's Pool. The others, in a chain to its south, are Purgatory Pool, Hell Pool and Bath Pool. All four were so-known by 1798. A fifth pool, north of Abbot's, has long been dry, and the other four had become largely so in the late C20. In 1998 only Purgatory Pool retained a damp and muddy bottom; the rest were covered with vegetation. The cause was believed to be a fall in the local water table. Hatton Dingle is heavily wooded, largely with sycamore and other invasive species; only a relatively few large specimen trees, such as beech, still survive. Winding through the woods, and along the pool sides, are walks. In a few places seats are cut back under the red sandstone faces of the Gorge. There is an icehouse cut into the stone above Purgatory and Hell pools and a boathouse at the south-east corner of Abbot's Pool. Writing in 1858 R A Slaney (1858, 50) was explicit that it was at the same time that the house was rebuilt in the later C18 that the park was laid out and the dingle pools created and the walks laid out around them. A lease of 1798 mentions the shrubberies, pleasure ground and the lawn before the house (the last 12ha). The poolside pleasure grounds were planted with rhododendron, magnolias and azaleas in the 1930s by Major R O R Kenyon-Slaney.
The valley carrying the Worfe along the south edge of the park is called Blubber Hole. The reason is unknown.
KITCHEN GARDEN A late C18 brick-walled kitchen garden, in the later C20 used for a plantation of coniferous trees, lies 100m south-east of the house. The main compartment is rectangular, and c 110m long from north to south and 60m wide. The north-west and north-east corners are rounded. Sheds stand in an enclosure attached to the north end.
North-west of the kitchen garden is the home farm.
Viator, A Guide to the View from Brimstree Hill (1858), pp 50-1 Country Life, 143 (29 February 1968), pp 466-70 J Harris, Catalogue of British Drawings in American Collections (1971), pp 164-5 P A Stamper, Historic Parks and Gardens of Shropshire (1996), pp 87-8, 107
Maps R Baugh, Map of Shropshire, 1808 Shifnal field name map (Shropshire Records and Research Centre)
OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1880-1, published 1890-1 2nd edition published 1903 OS 25" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1881, published 1882 2nd edition surveyed 1900, published 1902
Archival items Lease of 29 August 1798 (796/178), (Shropshire Records and Research Centre)
Description written: October 1998 Register Inspector: PAS Edited: February 2000
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
- Parks and Gardens
This garden or other land is registered under the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953 within the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens by Historic England for its special historic interest.
End of official listing