Gardens, including a Chinoiserie summerhouse, and C18 landscape park associated with a country house.
From the later C14 the manor of Orleton was owned by the Cludde family, descending from father to son until Edward Cludde (d 1721) left it to his nephew William Cludde. On his death in 1765 Orleton passed to his son Edward (d 1785), who was succeeded by his nephew William Pemberton of Wrockwardine Hall (d 1829), who took the name Cludde under the terms of his uncle's will. Orleton remains (1998) in private hands.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Orleton Hall stands within its park immediately west of Wellington, an historic market town which now lies on the western fringe of Telford new town. To the south the park is bounded by the B5061 Watling Street (Holyhead Road). Once one of the country's great highways, since the opening of the M54 and the A5 Shrewsbury by-pass this has been a minor local road. To the east the park is bounded by Haygate Road and the back (or Wellington) drive. Otherwise the park boundary follows field edges. The area here registered is c 25ha.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
The park is entered by a gate with squat stone piers, probably of c 1840, on the Watling Street. On the east side of the gate is a rendered lodge of the 1960s. This replaced an earlier structure. From here a drive curves gently northward through the park, with the Hall being revealed only towards its end. This drive ends in the gravelled forecourt which lies between the Hall and the gatehouse. There is also access via the back drive up the east side of the park. This runs along the north side of the kitchen garden before passing over the bridge and beneath the gatehouse.
Orleton Hall (listed grade II*) was refronted c 1830 by Edward Haycock; since then its facade has been of nine bays and two-and-a-half storeys, with a pediment over the centre three bays. The greater part of the structure is of the later C18 although it probably incorporates part of an earlier, triple-gabled, timber-framed house, possibly C17. This itself was presumably built on the site of the medieval messuage, for as late as 1792 the house was completely surrounded by a moat. Today only the north-east arm thereof survives. That is crossed by a stone bridge, possibly late medieval, which leads to a timber-frame and brick gatehouse (both listed grade II) of 1588 and later.
There are extensive kitchen buildings and outbuildings on the north side of the Hall, and beyond them farm buildings including a stable and coach house (listed grade II) of 1735 and a brick dovecote (listed grade II) of c 1800.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
The gardens and pleasure grounds around the Hall are separated from the park to the south by a crenellated yew hedge. From the Hall there are views over this, across the park to the wooded slopes of The Wrekin and The Ercall which lie c 2km to the south. South of the Hall is a long, shaved lawn, bounded to the east by the drive. From here a path leads east to the kitchen garden and its summerhouse, crossing a small stream via a footbridge. The lawn extends around the west side of the Hall. A fountain with infilled basin stands near the centre of the west lawn, set around which are four small, circular flower beds with formal bedding. A shrubbery with mature specimen trees extends down the west side of the garden. Paths curve through this. A dogs' graveyard lies on its west edge.
The Hall lies at the north end of a park which extends to the Watling Street. The park is 800m long from north to south and 400m wide, the position of the Hall and the line of the drive giving the visitor the impression its extent is larger. The south and east sides of the park are defined by a low stone wall of 1840 (datestone at south-east corner). Its interior is mainly permanent pasture with large numbers of parkland trees. These include many old oaks which probably stood originally in the hedgerows of the pre-park agricultural landscape. Near the centre of the park the drive passes the west side of an ornamental plantation, and there are small woods on the south and east borders of the park. In the late C20 the park was enlarged by c 2.5ha on its south-west side; a walnut plantation was established herein in the 1990s.
Since 1949 Wellington Cricket Club has occupied a ground in the east side of the park. It is also used by the Shropshire county side.
The date of the park's creation is unknown. In 1728 the Hall still lay in an agricultural landscape of small closes, represented today by the abovementioned oaks, and no park is shown on Rocque's map of 1752. By 1792, when the Hall was painted (private collection), imparkment had taken place.
The brick-walled kitchen garden, probably mid C18 (walls listed grade II), lies c 100m east of the Hall. It is roughly square, measuring 65m north/south by 60m, and is divided into quarters with a central sundial. In the late C20 the garden was still gardened traditionally, for vegetables, flowers and fruit. Against the north wall is a later C19 vinery. The main entrance is in the centre of the west wall; this has an elaborate wrought-iron gate, possibly of c 1900. Against the centre of the east wall is a two-storey Chinoiserie summerhouse (listed grade II*) of the mid C18 (with mid C19 brickwork to the basement), the main first-floor reception room reached by a flight of steps. From its door there is a view back across the garden to the south side of the Hall. Underneath is a basement service room. In the later C19 or early C20 the structure was inhabited by the gardener, and ever since has been known as The Bothy. To its south is a small swimming pool.
The Victoria History of the County of Shropshire xi, (1985), p 312
P A Stamper, Historic Parks and Gardens of Shropshire (1996), pp 51, 61
Country Life, no 26 (25 June 1998), pp 106-10
Shropshire Magazine, (September 1998), pp 26-7
Map of Orleton, 1728 (private collection)
J Rocque, Map of Shropshire, 1752
OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1880-1, published 1889-90
OS 25" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1881, published 1882
2nd edition surveyed 1900, published 1902
Painting of Hall, 1792 (private collection)
Description written: September 1998
Register Inspector: PAS
Edited: February 2000