Heritage Category: Park and Garden
List Entry Number: 1001130
Date first listed: 01-Dec-1986
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: SO 52370 88362
Pleasure grounds with temple and obelisk of 1760s and later and landscape park associated with a country house.
The manor of Lower Millichope was bought in 1544 by the Mores, a local land-owning family. Thomas More inherited the estate from his father, Henry, in 1689. It was in Thomas' last years, in the 1760s, that Millichope's pleasure grounds took shape. All Thomas' sons predeceased him, and on his death in 1767 Lower Millichope passed to his daughter Catherine (d 1792), who left it to her cousin Robert Pemberton (d 1794). His son Thomas (d 1832) was succeeded by his nephew the Rev R N Pemberton (d 1848), who rebuilt the house and otherwise improved the estate. He left Lower Millichope to his cousin C O Childe (from 1849 Childe-Pemberton), who before his death in 1883 made further changes to the pleasure grounds. In 1896 his son sold the estate to Capt H J Beckwith, in whose family it then descended. It remains in private hands (1998).
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING Millichope Park is c 8km south-east of Church Stretton and 13km north of Ludlow in central Corvedale. The park is bounded to the south by the B4368 road which runs north-east up the bottom of Corvedale from Craven Arms, and in part to the east by the minor road to Rushbury leading north off the B4368 at Beambridge, which was constructed as part of the improvements at Millichope in the early 1830s. The north-west part of the park rises onto high ground oN the north side of Corvedale, the dip slope of Wenlock Edge. The area here registered is c 90ha.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES The main approach is via a drive off the B4368 to the south, which runs north-west across the park for 300m before entering a 15m deep cutting through the rocky hill between the Rotunda and the kitchen garden. As the drive emerges at the end of the cutting, by the north end of Upper Pool, there is the first glimpse of the house. The drive then swings west, around the end of the Pool, before turning south to enter the house's north forecourt. Although there was already a gate on the Corvedale road in 1843, the drive, and the cutting, were only made c 1870. The entrance lodge is of 1907.
Between 1840 and the 1870s the main approach to Millichope Park was via what is now the back drive from the north. This gave the Rev Pemberton access to the road to Church Stretton, where he was rector. At the end of the drive is the Rushbury Lodge, probably by Edward Haycock and of c 1840.
A line of old limes running north from a point c 70m north of the present side entrance to the house marks the approach to the old hall, demolished c 1843.
PRINCIPAL BUILDING Millichope Park (listed grade II*) was built to a design by Edward Haycock (d 1870) of Shrewsbury in 1835-40 to replace an earlier timber-framed house which stood c 50m to its north. It is a stone house in the Greek Revival style, with an east facade of fluted Ionic giant columns on the first-floor level, continued as terraces to either side. The entrance lay at basement level below the portico, an internal staircase leading up to a lofty hall at ground level.
After a long period of institutional use and neglect the house was reduced in size and restored in 1968-70, among the changes being the abandonment of the basement entrance, replaced by a new one made at ground-floor level on the north side.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS The terrace along the east side of the house is c 85m long and stands c 5m high. It gives access to a 160m long and 25m wide terraced lawn extending south-west from the south side of the house; in the late C19 a summerhouse (no longer extant) lay at the end of the axial path down the lawn. The lawn has a retaining wall along its south-east side. Three new yew-hedged garden compartments were built against (south-east of) the wall in the 1970s; the south-westernmost contains a swimming pool. West of the lawn the ground rises, and steps give access to The Grove, a 150m square block of mature ornamental woodland. At its centre is the Cenotaph (completed c 1780) a 10m high obelisk, of finely jointed sandstone.
The steps to Oak Grove are opposed by others which lead down to the lawn which drops to Upper Pool 100m south-east of the house. The view from the terrace across the lawn to the Rotunda (with cedar of Lebanon behind) standing above the Upper Pool, and with the Clee Hills 10km to the south-east, is very fine. The lawn is planted with mature specimen trees, mostly coniferous. The Upper Pool is irregularly shaped with a number of lobes and 300m long. Hidden at its north end, where the drive passes through a small yew grove, is an arch-roofed stone boathouse, probably later C19. Rising above the east side of the Pool is a 15m high rocky cliff, on top of which is the Ionic Rotunda (listed grade II*), completed in 1770 to a design by George Steuart (d 1806). Inside is a memorial, in the form of an inscribed plinth surmounted with a putto, to Leighton and John More. There are many mature specimen trees around the Rotunda, and this planting continues around the much smaller Lower Pool which lies to the south of Upper Pool. A dam divides the two, and this carries the path which extends around the edge of the Upper Pool and up to the Rotunda. From the Rotunda - south of which are some low terraces, probably of the early 1830s - another path leads east, via a bridge over the cutting which carries the main drive, to the slip along the west side of the kitchen garden. A flight of steps against the south corner of the kitchen garden originally carried a path along the south-east side of the garden and towards the Estate Yard.
Embellishment of the house's surroundings probably began in the 1760s, reputedly as Thomas More (d 1767) 'scattered' 'little memorials' to his sons Leighton (d 1744), John (d 1762) and Thomas (d 1767) up and down the grounds (VCH 1998, 159n). The estate records have largely perished, and no tradition has survived of any landscape designer's involvement. To this phase may be attributed the Rotunda, the obelisk and probably the Oak Grove and some of the earliest specimen trees. The memorial within the Rotunda makes no mention of Thomas More, and presumably dates from 1762-67. Its original location within the pleasure grounds is unknown. Perhaps also of c 1770 was the Moustry, a rustic summerhouse (not extant) at the north end of The Grove. In the 1830s and 1840s the terrace and south lawn were laid out alongside his new house by the Rev Pemberton. He also made at least some changes to the grounds, making the Rotunda the western focus of the new kitchen garden/Estate Yard complex. The main phase of specimen tree planting may also have been undertaken by Pemberton. The grounds took on their present appearance at an unknown date between 1843 and c 1870 when the Upper Pool was created for C O Childe-Pemberton by enlarging and amalgamating earlier and smaller ponds and by cutting into the slope east of the Pool to create the cliff face. A stone bridge constructed at this stage to carry a path along the bottom of the cliff had been removed by 1883. It was presumably also at this time that the spectacular cutting was made east of the Rotunda to carry the south drive.
PARK The park is roughly rectangular, extending uphill for 1.5km from the B4368 up the north-west side of Corvedale. The main body of the park is 800m wide. The most ornamental part of the park is its east half, and especially south-west and south-east of the house where there are many mature oaks and specimen trees in permanent pasture. South of Lower Pool is a cricket pitch. The further west into the park, and uphill, one walks, the more extensive are the views east across Shropshire.
Two small valleys (known locally as deans) run through the park down the side of Corvedale. One, Foxley, extends north from the house, with the back drive running along its east side. A stream along its bottom has been modified to create a rill-like pool, divided and retained by low waterfalls. Along its east side is a lawn with shrubs and specimen trees, while on the high ground above it to the west is the block of woodland called The Grove. The other valley, Baldwyn's Glen, runs up the south-west edge of the park. It is well planted with ancient oaks and specimen trees. Railings across the south-east end of the Glen, through which there is a view up it, link to a stone park wall which extends south towards Munslow and north-east to the corner of Oak Grove.
The central and north-western parts of the park are largely farmland and commercial woodland. Some 400m north-west of the house is the Sheepcote, a stone sheep shelter. Its stone corner towers may be partly ornamental.
The park was probably created in the 1760s, and enlarged to its present extent in the 1830s by the Rev Pemberton.
KITCHEN GARDEN A brick-walled kitchen garden was built at the same time as the Estate Yard, in the early 1830s, immediately to its south-west. It is c 120m square. The interior is now grazed. Against the north wall is a range of semi-ruinous glasshouses. Probably erected 1841- 1843 by Foster & Pearson of Nottingham, this comprises a central, curvilinear, cast-iron peach house, with a span house to either side.
The extensive stone-built Estate Yard (outside the registered area) is of the early 1830s. It was probably designed by Edward Haycock.
Country Life, 161 (10 February 1977), pp 310-13; (17 February 1977), pp 370-3 B and A Palmer, Some Shropshire Gardens (1990), pp 75-8 P A Stamper, Historic Parks and Gardens of Shropshire (1996), pp 45, 49, 51, 54, 56, 60, 85, 92 The Victoria History of the County of Shropshire x, (1998), pp 158-60
Maps Tithe map for Munslow parish, 1843 (Shropshire Records and Research Centre)
OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1882-3, published 1890 OS 25" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1883, published 1883 2nd edition surveyed 1901, published 1903
Illustrations Photos of Lower Millichope, c 1870 (private collection at Kinlet Hall)
Archival items Foster & Pearson greenhouse catalogue, 1929 (private collection) [notes Millichope commission]
Description written: September 1998 Register Inspector: PAS Edited: February 2000
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 2133
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