- Heritage Category:
- Park and Garden
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- Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
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A landscape park, for which a Red Book was prepared in 1803-4 by Humphry Repton, associated with a contemporary house by John Nash.
The Burtons have been seated at Longner since the C14. In 1748 Robert Lingen Burton (d 1803) inherited the estate, and subsequently married Ann Hill of Attingham, which estate adjoined Longner to the east. There was expenditure on the gardens in the 1760s, and by 1786 a park had been laid out. In 1801, two years before he inherited the estate, Robert Burton was in correspondence with John Nash, who had been at work on Attingham from 1800, about a new house. That was built between 1803 and 1807. In 1803, about the time its construction started, Humphry Repton (d 1818) was brought in to suggest improvements to its surrounds; a Red Book is dated March 1804. Burton died in 1841, and was succeeded by a son of the same name. In the 1840s he employed the Shrewsbury architect Edward Haycock to alter and extend the house and outbuildings. The estate remains (1998) in private hands.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING Longner lies 4km south-east of Shrewsbury, above the north bank of the River Severn. Immediately to the east is Attingham Park (qv). The park, c 70ha, curves for c 2km along and above the river which bounds it to the south-west. To the east the park is bounded by the early C19 road leading north from the Watling Street (B4380) to Berwick Grove.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES The park is entered off the Berwick Grove road to the south-east via a gated entrance of c 1803 (listed grade II). On the north side of the entrance is a single-storey brick lodge of c 1805 with Tudor-gothic detailing, probably by John Nash (listed grade II). From here the drive, of similar date but not on the line proposed by Repton (which ran closer to the river, via Longner Castle), curves through the park for 2km, with panoramic views south-west to the country south of the Severn. West of Big Wood, which conceals any view of the Hall from the main body of the park and on the east side of which Repton intended a half-timbered lodge (unexecuted), the drive is lined with oaks planted in 1947. This section leads to the sandstone gate piers, probably of c 1842, at the entrance to the 60m long east arm of the forecourt. North of this is Moat Wood. The main forecourt is bounded by pierced red sandstone balustrading of c 1803 by John Nash (listed grade II). Back drives serve the farmyard north of the Hall.
In 1786 the Hall was approached from the east, via a drive from close to the later Berwick Wharf.
About 450m north of Longner Lodge, on the west side of the road to Berwick Wharf in the corner of Longner park, is a turreted building, Tower Lodge. This, probably a later C18 building, was never a lodge. Rather, it was probably built to balance the Back Lodge to Attingham Park, which it stands opposite.
PRINCIPAL BUILDING Longner Hall (listed grade I) was built by John Nash (d 1835) between 1803 and 1807 at a cost of c £10,000, immediately adjacent to the old house. Some alterations and extensions were made in the 1840s by Edward Haycock (d 1870). Of red sandstone, with grey sandstone ashlar dressings and details in the Tudor gothic style, the two-storey house has an irregular plan. On the south, garden front is a gabled wing with, to the east, a loggia (now closed) which extends for four bays before turning north to run for a further three bays along the east side. The loggia was originally balanced, west of the gabled wing, by a conservatory, in 1813 described as 'very elegant, lofty and the pillars beautifully covered and festooned from one to another with creeping plants' (Plymley Diaries 1066/100, p ). This was demolished c 1920. The cobbled forecourt lies in the north-east angle of the Hall, with the long entrance range with tower-like central porch along its west side. To the north-east of the Hall is a crenellated service courtyard with two-storey boghouse tower (listed grade II), both of c 1803 by John Nash. In the centre of the courtyard is an octagonal mid C19 game larder with icehouse beneath (listed grade II).
North-west of the Hall are stables and farm courts (listed grade II), the latter, mostly late C18, including a dovecote.
The building which Nash's Hall replaced was a substantial, multi-period, moated manor house.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS The Hall is flanked to east, west and south by gardens, mostly flat lawns, bounded by a ha-ha (listed grade II) of c 1803 which stands up to 2m high. This defines a rectangular area c 140m east/west by c 100m. A gravelled terrace walk runs along the south side of the Hall. To its south is a shaved lawn. On the south-west corner of the lawn is the chest tomb (listed grade II) erected in 1614 over the grave of Edward Burton (d 1548, allegedly of joy on a Protestant succession), who was refused burial in St Chad's, Shrewsbury, then Longner's parish church. On the centre of the south side of the lawn is a sundial of c 1803 (listed grade II). Running along the south side of the lawn is a gravelled walk; 2m tall clipped yew balls, planted in the early C20, run along its south side and up the east side of the Hall. At the east end of the gravelled walk five segmental steps (listed grade II) of c 1803 lead down to the narrow lawn which runs up the east side of the Hall. At the south-east corner of the garden steps lead down into the park. The shaved lawn is bounded to the west by a north/south gravel path which leads from the terrace which occupies the site of the conservatory to a 6m square greenhouse-like summerhouse. This is probably an early C20 structure built on a C19 stone bastion-like foundation, perhaps a viewing platform, which projects forward from the ha-ha.
West of the Hall a further shaved lawn extends 100m west. A yew hedge runs along the bottom (south) of the lawn, and there is a mature cedar of Lebanon in its south-west corner. A slightly raised grass terrace runs along the west side of the lawn, leading to a small, brick, summerhouse-like building. This is the Laboratory, built c 1900 for a family member who was a keen amateur scientist. North of the lawn, between it and the Hall's service buildings, is a yew grove, with a straight east/west walk through its southern part. This area occupies that shown as a Winter Walk and New Fruit Garden on Repton's plan of 1803-4. The present east/west walk may represent an adaptation of Repton's Winter Walk.
The pre-1803 house was surrounded by a moat, associated with which were four fishponds. At least one lay near Burton's tomb. Large quantities of flowering shrubs and evergreens were purchased in the 1760s. The precise location of the new house, and the filling in of the old moat and the construction of a terraced garden to its south and west, were among the suggestions contained in Repton's 1804 Red Book which seem to have been implemented.
PARK Longner's park runs along the north bank of the Severn for c 2km, with the entrance lodge close to the south-east corner of the park and the Hall towards its north-west extremity. The southernmost part of the park, along the north bank of the Severn west of Longner Lodge, comprises Paradise, a 1km long, 300m wide strip of lush meadow ground with parkland trees underlain with ridge and furrow. North-east of Paradise the ground rises, from 45m OD to 55m, onto the terrace occupied by the rest of the park. The south-east half of this part of the park, south of Berwick Grove, is arable farmland, largely without parkland trees. North-west of the field boundary leading west from Berwick Grove is a 700m long section of permanent pasture, much of it underlain with ridge and furrow, with large numbers of parkland trees, both ancient (originating as hedgerow trees) and recently planted. At its west end is Big Wood which runs across the width of the park, to the south adjoining Temple Bank, a wooded belt along the ground sloping up from the north bank of the River Severn. Between the west side of Big Wood and the Hall is further permanent pasture, while west of the Hall is improved grassland (in the mid C19 the Starch House fields) with plantation belts around its north-west and north-east sides. South-east and south-west of the Hall the boundary of the park runs along the bottom of the steep wooded slope of Raven's Nest which drops down to the Severnside meadow ground.
One of the best views of the Hall and its surroundings is from The Knoll, a slight, apparently natural hill 100m to its south-east, on the outside, north-west, corner of Old Garden.
A park, 2km long from east to west and c 400m wide, was created at Longner before 1786, extending east from the Hall to what is now Berwick Wharf. Longner Castle, a substantial fishing pavilion in the Gothick style, was built c 1793 on the cliff edge in Temple Wood (then Cliff Dale Rough), 500m south-east of the Hall. It was demolished early in the C19. Repton visited Longner in late November 1803. Although not all of his suggestions for the park were implemented it was extended soon after he delivered his Red Book and its improvement was presumably much influenced by his proposals.
KITCHEN GARDEN Longner's walled kitchen garden (walls etc listed grade II), c 70m east/west by 40m, lies c 50m north-west of the Hall, to the west of the farm court. The south wall of the garden, with angled lengths at either end, is c 5m tall and has plinth buttresses. This appears as a free-standing wall along the north side of the 'New Fruit Garden' on the Red Book plan. The east, west and north walls were probably built c 1803 to enclose a new kitchen garden, concealed from the Hall. Its interior is now occupied by a mixed flower and vegetable garden. West of the main compartment are former kennels, while to the east is a frameyard; no glass survives.
At an unknown date after 1750 but before 1786 a short-lived kitchen garden was built on steeply sloping ground 200m south-east of the Hall. In 1803 this had a wall along its north side although it was noted that the former garden interior was 'now planted with choice trees and is an Arboretum'. This is now Old Garden, mixed woodland with some box.
G Carter et al, Humphry Repton (1982), p 161 Longner Park Restoration Management Plan, (Chris Burnett Associates 1995) P A Stamper, Historic Parks and Gardens of Shropshire (1996), pp 58, 64-5 Shropshire Parks & Gardens Trust Newsletter 2, (1998), pp 8-14
Maps Field name map for Atcham, 1849 (Shropshire Records and Research Centre) Field name map for Longner Upon Severn, 1923 (Shropshire Records and Research Centre)
OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1879-81, published 1887, 1890 OS 25" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1881, published 1881 2nd edition surveyed 1901, published 1902
Archival items Humphry Repton, Red Book for Longner (private collection) Longner archives (private collection) Plymley Diaries (1066), (Shropshire Records and Research Centre)
Description written: August 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