Early-C20 formal gardens and Japanese garden designed by Harold Peto, with a 1930s woodland garden developed with the advice of Eric Savill.
Reasons for Designation
Wayford Manor is included on the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Representative example: it is a good and mostly intact example of a formal terraced garden laid out in the Arts and Crafts style, on the site of an earlier garden, and in association with a Japanese rock garden and woodland garden;
* Documentation and influence: the site is well documented and as evident from contemporary articles the qualities of its design and planting scheme were well respected.
In the late C15 the manor of Wayford was acquired through marriage by James Daubeney, a member of a leading west country family (Country Life, 1934). James' grandson, Giles Daubeney, rebuilt an existing manor house at Wayford in c1600, probably using as his master mason William Arnold, who also worked at Cranborne Manor, Dorset (qv) and Montacute, Somerset (qv). The Daubeney family continued to own the property until about 1700, and during the C18 the manor house appears to have been let as a farmhouse. In 1791 it belonged to John Bagg of Thorncombe, while in the early C19 its owner, Lord Bridport, let it to the Bullen family (Country Life, 1934). Wayford Manor was purchased in 1899 by Lawrence Ingham Baker, JP, who in c1900 commissioned Sir Ernest George (former partner of Harold Peto) to complete the north wing (Country Life, 1934). Baker was brother-in-law to Harold Peto (1854-1933), who in 1902 was commissioned to remodel existing C16 or C17 terraces to provide a more fitting setting for the house (Bond, 1998). The sloping site was laid out with formal terraces adjacent to the house, and an informal, Japanese-style woodland garden on the lower slope. The garden has many features in common with other gardens by Peto including his own garden at Iford Manor, Wiltshire (qv), and commissions for other family members at Burton Pynsent, Somerset (qv) and Seaborough Court, Dorset. These gardens were designed at a time when Peto was unable officially to practice in England under the terms of the dissolution of his partnership with Sir Ernest George in 1892.
Wayford Manor was inherited by Baker's son, Humphrey, in 1931, and further areas of woodland were developed as garden with the advice of Eric Savill (1895-1980). Humphrey Baker died in 1966, and the estate was sold. Today (2013), Wayford Manor remains in private ownership.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Wayford Manor is situated c 50m west of the parish church of St Michael in the village of Wayford, c 3km south-west of Crewkerne. The c 2ha site is bounded to the north by a stone wall which separates it from Park Lane, while to the west walls and a holly hedge divide it from the buildings and land associated with Wayford Farm. To the south and east the site adjoins agricultural land and paddocks. The site slopes steeply from north to south, allowing extensive views south and south-east across the valley of the River Axe c 0.5 km south-east of the site.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
Wayford Manor is approached from Park Lane to the north at a point c 100m west of the parish church. The entrance is set in the stone boundary wall which separates the gardens from Park Lane, and comprises a pair of Ham stone ashlar piers with pyramid caps and inset rectangular ornamental panels of flint-work, which support a pair of timber carriage gates. The gates lead to a wide gravelled drive which descends southwards towards the carriage turn to the west of the house. The drive is flanked to the east by a stone wall which extends c 20m to terminate in a tall pier surmounted by a ball finial. This wall continues south beyond the pier at a lower level, and separates the carriage turn from the forecourt immediately west of the house. To the west the drive is adjoined by a short length of high stone wall forming part of the buildings of Wayford Farm, and then by a topiary yew hedge, which encloses the Iris Garden. The carriage turn comprises a rectangular area of gravel to the west of which is a camomile lawn enclosed by a semi-circular topiary yew hedge open to the east. To the south the carriage court is separated from the gardens by a topiary yew hedge, while to the east it is separated from the forecourt by a low stone wall. An entrance flanked by low stone piers surmounted by ball finials leads from the carriage turn to a broad stone flagged walk aligned on the entrance loggia at the central point of the west facade of the house. The flagged walk is flanked by a symmetrical arrangement of topiary standard bays; these late-C20 specimens replicate those planted by Peto and shown in early C20 photographs (Country Life, 1934). To the north, beyond the forecourt, an area of lawn at the north-west corner of the house is planted with a mature specimen magnolia; this lawn returns around the north side of the building. To the south the forecourt is separated from the upper garden by a tall yew hedge.
Wayford Manor (listed Grade I) was rebuilt by Giles Daubeney in c1600 incorporating fragments of an earlier medieval house. The north wing of the C17 house remained incomplete, and was finally realised by Sir Ernest George, working for Harold Peto's brother-in-law, Ingham Baker, in c1900. The south-west wing comprising the conservatory and loggia is contemporary, but on stylistic grounds is attributed to Peto, a former partner in Sir Ernest George's practice.
The house is constructed in Ham stone ashlar and comprises two storeys and an attic under hipped stone slate roofs, and is lit by mullion and transom windows. It is built to an 'E' shaped plan with projecting north-west and south-west gabled wings flanking a centrally-placed projecting two-storey porch, the lower level of which is designed as a triple-arched loggia. The design of this feature, which is similar to one at Cranborne Manor, Dorset (qv) has been attributed to the master mason William Arnold. The south or garden elevation is irregular in plan with a single-storey wing projecting at the south-east corner comprising a conservatory lit by mullion and transom windows, and a triple-arched loggia. These features are similar in plan and detail to those designed by Peto at Seaborough Court, Dorset, Bourton Hall, Warwickshire and Burton Pynsent, Somerset (qv).
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
To the north-west of the carriage turn, the Iris Garden comprises a rectangular area enclosed to the east and south by topiary yew hedges, and to the north and west by stone buildings and high walls associated with the Manor Farm; mature figs are trained on these walls. Stone flagged and concrete paths divide the enclosure into rectangular beds planted with irises .The Iris Garden forms part of the layout devised by Peto in 1902.
To the south of the forecourt an entrance set in a high yew hedge leads to the upper terrace of a series of four early-C20 formal garden terraces which descend below the south facade of the house. The central north-south axis of these terraces and the wild garden beyond is aligned on this entrance from the forecourt to the upper terrace, rather than on any feature of the house.
The upper terrace is retained by a rubble stone wall and comprises a flagged walk extending below the facade of the house which is flanked by narrow borders. The terrace is terminated to the east by the early-C20 conservatory at the south-east corner of the house, while to the west the flagged walk extends c 20m beyond the house to terminate in an open-fronted pyramidal stone-slated summerhouse. The summerhouse is flanked by a pair of topiary box birds, while to the north of the walk a panel of lawn surrounding a rectangular fish pool and fountain is adjoined to east and west by a symmetrical arrangement of stone-edged geometrical flower beds. The beds are separated by flagged paths and each group is centred on a topiary golden yew.
A flight of stone steps flanked by a glaucous columnar conifer (originally a pair) descends from the upper terrace to the second terrace which comprises a narrow rectangular lawn. The lawn is adjoined to the north by a narrow bed extending below the retaining wall for the upper terrace, and to the south by an early-C20 stone balustrade which is said to have been modelled by Peto on a C16 fragment discovered on the site (CL, 1934).
To the east the terrace is terminated by a broad flight of stone steps which ascends to the early-C20 loggia. The loggia recalls the similar feature on the entrance porch of the house, and communicates directly with the conservatory to the north while to the south a pair of arches leads to a small raised terrace at the north-east corner of the third garden terrace which it overlooks. A door in the east wall of the loggia leads to the kitchen garden south-east of the house. To the west the second terrace is terminated by a pair of mature horse chestnuts which appear to pre-date the construction of the garden. Echoing the small terrace south of the loggia, a small stone flagged area projects south adjacent to the chestnuts, allowing access to a flight of stone steps edged by a stone balustrade, which descends to the Pool Garden. The pool garden comprises a rectangular area enclosed on each side by high stone walls which are luxuriantly planted with climbers and other shrubs. A wall fountain set in a shallow niche on the north wall feeds a small pool, while a large rectangular stone-edged pool and fountain at the centre of the garden is surrounded by a narrow stone rill and borders planted with moisture-loving plants. Japanese maples, some being mature specimens, are planted at each corner of the pool. A stone-flagged walk separates the pool and borders from further stone-edged perimeter borders. An alcove seat set in the western wall of the garden overlooks the pool and is placed on axis with a door in the eastern wall which leads to the third garden terrace.
The third and deepest garden terrace is approached from the second terrace by an axially-placed flight of stone steps which descends to a broad gravel walk which passes across the northern side of the terrace from east to west, connecting the pergola on the eastern side to the entrance to the Pool Garden set in the wall forming the western boundary of the terrace. To the north this walk is adjoined by two deep stone-edged mixed borders placed either side of the steps descending from the second terrace, and backed by its retaining wall. A further gravel walk extends south from the steps and is flanked by a pair of rectangular stone-edged beds planted with roses and herbaceous plants. To the south the walk is terminated by an entrance flanked by ball finials set in a low stone wall forming the southern boundary of the terrace. The entrance was formerly closed by a gate. The north-south axial walk divides two rectangular panels of lawn, while there are further perimeter borders to the east, south and west. Towards the south-east corner of the eastern lawn a mature specimen magnolia overhangs a rectangular pool fed by a decorative fountain. The pergola which extends along the eastern side of the terrace comprises a row of stone columns (replaced late C20) with a timber superstructure supported to the east by a high stone wall, which shelters a flagged walk. At the northern end of the pergola, beneath the terrace immediately south of the loggia, a wall fountain feeds a small pool, echoing a similar feature in the Pool Garden to the west. At the southern end of the pergola an entrance formerly closed by a gate leads to a short flight of stone steps descending to the fourth and lowest terrace. This terrace is also approached by a flight of stone steps descending from the entrance set on the central north-south axis of the terraces.
The fourth terrace comprises a gravel walk adjoined to the north by a border planted
with predominantly evergreen shrubs. To the east the terrace is terminated by a pair
of stone piers which flank a flight of stone steps which descends to a further gravel walk extending between stone-edged rectangular borders which leads to a gateway set in the stone boundary wall of the garden, beyond which lies the orchard. To the west the fourth terrace leads to an informal grass path extending through an area of 1930s rockwork planted with specimen conifers and shrubs, to reach two artificial terraces laid out as tennis lawns.
The upper terrace has a raised grass walk and mixed border to the north, and is enclosed to the east, south and west by yew hedges. The lower terrace is similar in design but is today planted with groups of specimen trees and shrubs. A flight of stone steps flanked by a pair of urns descends from the central point of the south side of the lower terrace to reach the wild garden.
To the south of the fourth terrace walk the ground drops away gently. To the east it is laid out with an extensive rock garden comprising pools linked by a stream, and interspersed by informal paths and stone steps. A more formal flight of steps descends beneath mature pines on the eastern boundary of the rock garden. The whole area is planted with mature Japanese maples, conifers and other ornamental trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants. The garden incorporates several Japanese details. The stream flows along the eastern boundary of the garden through an area of mature ornamental planting, to feed a large informal artificial pond at the south-east corner of the garden. Retained above the level of the surrounding agricultural land and with views from a walk on its south-east side, the pond is surrounded by luxuriant planting and further oriental details. A further informal pond lies on higher ground to the north-west, while the southern boundary of the garden and the area to the north-west and west of the ponds is planted as a woodland or wild garden.
Informal grass paths form a series of interconnecting glades beneath mature trees which shelter mature, predominantly evergreen, ornamental shrubs. The area immediately south of the rock garden, extending the north-south axis of the formal garden terraces, is more open and grassy in character and is planted with mid- and late-C20 specimen trees and shrubs. This area may have been intended to allow views out to the surrounding countryside from the lower levels of the formal gardens.
The formal garden terraces were developed in its present form by Peto c 1902, possibly making use of some existing C16 or C17 terracing south of the house (VCH). The formal gardens remain substantially unchanged from the form shown in early-C20 photographs published by Country Life (CL, 1934). Features such as the pergola have been restored in the late C20, while other elements such as box edging and a rose arbour on the third terrace have been simplified or removed. The Japanese rock garden to the south-east of the terraced gardens also forms part of Peto's early-C20 scheme, while the linked area of rockwork leading west to the tennis lawns was designed by Gavin Jones in 1928 (English Heritage, 1990).
The woodland garden was originally developed in the early C20 by Lawrence Baker as a place in which to grow Japanese plants, conifers and rhododendrons in which he had a particular interest. The woodland garden was further developed in the 1930s by Humphrey Baker with the advice of Eric Savill (1895-1980), creator of the Savill and Valley Gardens, Windsor (qv). The woodland garden has been extended by the present owners in the late C20.
The kitchen garden is situated on a south-facing slope to the east of the loggia terminating the eastern end of the second terrace, and to the south of a range of domestic offices to the south-east of the house. The garden is approached through a door in the east wall of the loggia, and from the house to the north. It is separated from orchard and paddock to the east by fences, and is laid out with a series of approximately rectangular vegetable beds separated by grass paths. A group of brick-edged herb beds is situated beneath the south-facing wall at the upper or northern end of the garden, together with a late-C20 metal glasshouse. A group of sheds, stores and bothies stands against the western boundary wall of the garden, while to the south there it is separated from two further terraces by the gravel walk extending to the east of the fourth terrace walk. The lower terraces are today laid to grass and ornamental planting, but appear formerly to have supported several glazed structures. To the east of the kitchen garden and the lower terraces is a south-facing sloping paddock, formerly planted as an orchard. Two mature standard fruit trees and a group of mature hazels survive in this area.