Garden and parkland of c 1820 surrounding Conock Old Manor, built c 1710, and Conock Manor, built in the C18 and altered and extended by the architect Richard Ingleman c 1817 for Gifford Warriner.
Conock is of medieval origin and is reputed to have had a chapel of Grestain Abbey, last recorded in 1410. In 1430, William de la Pole, the Earl of Suffolk, became the owner of Conock, and in 1442 he endowed his new almshouses at Ewelme in Oxfordshire with his new estate. Subsequently, Conock belonged to the Ewelme Trust, who leased it to the Ernles family and their descendants, the Warriners. Conock has two manor houses: Conock Manor and Conock Old Manor. The date of Conock Manor (including its stable block) is uncertain, but it was probably built during the tenancy of the Warriner family in the C18. The first lease was taken by Isaac Warriner in the early 1720s, succeeded by Gifford Warriner in 1752. After Gifford's death in 1787, his son, also Gifford, took over the lease of Conock Manor and moved there from neighbouring Conock Old Manor; the latter was built c 1710. In 1817, after Gifford Warriner had moved to Conock Manor, he commissioned the architect Richard Ingleman of Southwell in Nottinghamshire, who a few years earlier had designed the county jail in Devizes, to add two single-storey wings which included a rustic dairy with a verandah. During this period the landscape at Conock was laid out in the Picturesque style, embracing the Old Manor, Manor Farm, and various other estate buildings (Tithe map, 1844).
The park was surrounded by a belt of trees and planted with oval and circular tree clumps. It was also given a new drive with a rustic lodge, and two cottages ornés.
In 1841 the Warriner lease of Conock Manor was sold to Stephen Mills, and subsequently there was a succession of tenants. In 1925 the lease of Conock Manor was taken by Colonel Robert and Mrs Smith-Barry, who made various alterations and lived there until 1941. It was possibly during this period that Conock Manor and Conock Old Manor ceased to be let together. During the Second World War, Conock Manor became a hostel for the Women's Land Army. In 1945 the Ewelme Trust sold the freehold of Conock Manor to Sir Frederick Sykes, whose predecessors were former lessees of the Trust. Conock Old Manor remained the property of the Ewelme Trust until the early C21 before being sold; it is now (2004) in private ownership. The other estate properties were sold separately.
Conock remains (2004) in multiple private ownership.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Conock, a site of c 43ha, lies in the parish of Chirton, to the south-east of Devizes along the A342 between Wedhampton and Chirton. The site lies on a gently sloping mound, surrounded by farmland and bounded to the south by the A342.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
The main entrance to Conock, established in the early C19, lies to the north of the A342. It is flanked by gate piers and an early C19 rustic lodge (listed grade II) and gives access to the driveway that runs in northerly direction, along the west side of Manor Farm. Subsequently it runs past two early C19 cottages ornés (listed grade II) with to their east, two gate piers. Here the drive crosses the public road that runs north to south through Conock, after which it passes a second rustic lodge (listed grade II). This part of the drive was formerly lined by a thin belt of trees, as indicated on the Tithe map of 1844. The drive continues in an easterly direction to the west front of Conock Manor, lined to the south-east by early C19 railings (listed grade II). It then sweeps around the north-west corner of the Manor to run along the garden wall and stable block, lined with rhododendrons. This section of the drive is shown on the Tithe Map of 1844 as a serpentine walk flanked by a tree belt to its north.
Some 200m to the east of the main entrance is another public road that leads to Conock, which runs from the A342 in northerly direction immediately to the west of The Grove, a house of c 1830 (listed grade II). This road runs through the centre of the settlement of Conock leading to the Old Manor.
Conock Manor (listed grade II*) is situated in the eastern part of the site. The two-storey manor house is built of limestone and has a slate roof with three dormers. The west front has a central bay which is set slightly forward, with a central door set within a portico supported by fluted Ionic columns and nine windows that overlook the parkland to the west. The east front has a central door and gothic windows from which there are views to the garden and stable block to the east. To the north and south are the early C19 wings designed by Richard Ingleman, which include an open loggia to the south and a thatched dairy with a verandah to the north. From the rustic dairy a brick garden wall runs in easterly direction, linking the Manor with the adjacent stable block (listed grade II). The latter, which was possibly built in the early C19 (VCH 1975; Cherry and Pevsner 1985), is built of brick and has a central lantern (renewed 1968) containing a bell.
To the north-west of Conock Manor lies the Old Manor (listed grade II), with an attached walled garden to the north. Built on an earlier site dating from the C15, the present building is of c 1710.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
The main garden lies to the east of Conock Manor and its stable block, screened to the north by the brick garden wall and bounded to the south by a curvilinear brick ha-ha, with parkland beyond. The area immediately east of the house is laid to lawn with various trees, with a central stone sundial surrounded by four pyramidal clipped yews. To its south-west is a circular pond, indicated on the 1st edition OS map surveyed in 1885. Along the garden wall lies a border with various trees and shrubs, now (1999) partly paved with a black and yellow brick mosaic.
To the south-west of the stable block is a rectangular swimming pool built in the late C20. To the east of the swimming pool runs a straight grassed walk lined with clipped beech trees, leading in easterly direction along the stable block. Towards the end of this walk is an herbaceous border decorated with brick mosaic patterns (late C20).
The parkland stretches out to the north, south, and west of Conock Manor, and is bounded to the north-west by a belt of trees. The parkland to the south is divided from the garden by a ha-ha, and further south it is crossed by a track, with the field known as Coster's Ground beyond it. In the north-east corner of Coster's Ground stands a large modern (late C20) farm shed. Formerly the parkland to the south had a series of circular tree clumps, three lining the track to the north of Coster's Ground.
The parkland to the west of Manor Farm and the Old Manor has a few mature trees. The western boundary of the park was lined formerly by a belt of trees, as shown on the Tithe Map of 1844, and there is a circular clump of trees to the west of the Old Manor. A public footpath, first marked on the Tithe map of 1844, runs through the north-west area of the park in a northerly direction, past the front of the Old Manor. On reaching the tree belt it divides, one path leading west towards Wedhampton and the other running east through the tree belt, passing the north side of the walled garden of the Old Manor and leading into the parkland to the north of Conock Manor. The north park has two late C20 rectangular-shaped tree plantations. Formerly the parkland in this area was surrounded by a belt of trees, with two oval clumps of trees in the centre.
The rectangular kitchen garden lies to the east of the stable block and is bounded to the north by a brick wall, with halfway along a lean-to greenhouse, as shown on the OS map surveyed 1885. To the south and west the garden is bounded by clipped yew hedges, each with an entrance. The kitchen garden has recently (1999) been planted as an arboretum. To the east is a late C20 tennis court with an alcove and seat in the wall, and storage sheds beyond.
The brick-walled kitchen garden attached to the Old Manor dates from the early C19 and was partly reinstated in 1998.
Country Life, 109 (29 June 1951), pp 2040-4
Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire X, (1975), pp 63-5
B Cherry and N Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Wiltshire (2nd edn 1975), pp 173-5
Tithe map for the parish of Chirton and the chapelry of Conock, 1844 (Wiltshire and Swindon Record Office)
OS 6" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1929
OS 25" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1885, published 1887
2nd edition revised 1899, published 1900
Richard Ingleman's proposals for Conock Manor (including a ground plan, working drawings and an elevation of the principal front), 1817 (451/74), (Wiltshire and Swindon Record Office)
Description written: November 1999
Amended: December 1999
Register Inspector: FDM
Edited: December 2004