Heritage Category: Park and Garden
List Entry Number: 1001235
Date first listed: 01-Sep-1987
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: SU 12669 36422
Early C20 formal garden laid out by Harold Ainsworth Peto, including a Japanese garden, surrounding a C17 house restored and enlarged in the late C19/early C20.
Heale House stands on the site of a C16 manor house, which was replaced by a new house built between 1660 and 1690 for Robert Hyde. This late C17 house forms the south wing of the present house. In the late C18, William Bowles added a north wing, probably destroyed by fire in 1835 (VCH 1962), and improved the grounds. Until 1894 Heale House was occupied by a series of owners and tenants. In that year Sir Edmund Giles Loder sold the property to Louis Greville who restored and enlarged it between 1898 and 1910, with advice from the architect Detmar Blow (1867-1939). From 1906 to 1911, Greville created, with the assistance of Harold Ainsworth Peto, a series of formal gardens, and a Japanese garden influenced by Greville's experience when he was working at the British Embassy in Tokyo at the end of the C19.
From 1941 Heale House was used as a convalescent home by Salisbury Infirmary, and in 1952 it became a private nursing home. In 1959 Heale House was sold to a relative of Louis Greville, and the gardens were restored. Heale House remains (2002) in private ownership.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING Heale House is situated in a rural area, north-east of the village of Middle Woodford, on the road between Amesbury and Salisbury. The site lies in a loop of the River Avon and is surrounded to north, south, and east by a subsidiary channel which is part of a water irrigation system laid out by Dutch engineers in the late C17. These drains remain (2002) in use (guidebook). To the north-west, the site of c 11ha is bounded by the road between Amesbury and Salisbury, and to its south-west by a thin belt of trees with farmland beyond. To the south and east of the site, on the far side of the River Avon (outside the area here registered), lies a series of ancient water meadows.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES Heale House is approached from the road between Amesbury and Salisbury, to the west of the site. Here, an C18 wrought-iron gate hung between square limestone gate piers (listed grade II) gives access to a drive lined with horse chestnuts, planted in the mid to late C20. The drive runs eastwards for c 290m and then curves in a south-easterly direction for c 200m. The drive divides c 90m west-north-west of the House, the eastern arm leading to an C18 gate and gate piers (listed grade II) which gives access to a drive leading to the north front of the House. The other arm continues further westwards to a car park and plant centre situated c 150m south-west of the House.
PRINCIPAL BUILDING Heale House (listed grade I) stands in the east part of the site, c 8m from the river channel which runs to its east. Built of Flemish bond brickwork with stone dressings on flint chequer-work sills, the House has both lead and tiled roofs. It is of two storeys, plus cellar and attic. The C17 south end was extended after 1894 to provide a new west front of nine bays, and a drawing room to the east. The south front has a central bay with a pediment set forward. Most of the facades were reworked by Detmar Blow in the late C19 and early C20.
Some 50m south-west of the House stand the C18 stables (listed grade II) which have late C19 and early C20 alterations. The single-storey buildings, constructed of brick and flint with tiled roofs, line the east side of a square paved courtyard. From the south-east corner of the stables a 3.5m high cob wall with a central gate extends into the garden.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS The gardens lie immediately to the south and west of the House and stables. They comprise of a series of compartments: to the west of the House lies the formal garden with the Top Terrace, to the south lies the Croquet Lawn with the River Walk and Long Border, to the south-west lies the Sundial Garden, with beyond it the Tunnel Garden with the Japanese Garden to its south.
Immediately west of the House is a rectangular terrace paved with York stone. To the north and south of this are two identical rectangular ponds with stone edges. The ponds did not form part of Peto's early C20 proposals for this part of the garden, but were introduced by Louis Greville shortly afterwards. Along its west end the terrace is lined by a planted border and an early C20 stone balustrade (listed grade II). Central steps from the terrace lead westwards through a gap in the balustrade to a broad central walk, situated on a higher level and also paved in York stone. On either side of the central walk lies a rectangular lawn, screened to the north by a belt of evergreens and to the south by clipped box and privet. On each lawn is a rectangular group of mop-head acacias (late C20), replacing laburnums that formerly stood here. The central walk leads to the Top Terrace, raised and paved in York stone, with curved stone benches (early C20, listed grade II) at its north and south ends. The Top Terrace is screened to its west by a topiary yew hedge with a central gate which leads to the entrance drive that runs along it.
Immediately south of the House lies the Croquet Lawn, edged with lavender. To the south-east side of the House is another terrace paved with York stone with a variety of plants introduced into the paving crevices in the late C20. At the east end of this terrace, steps lead down to the River Walk, which runs along the west bank of the river channel. The c 150m long River Walk is laid to lawn and is separated from the water below it by a stone balustrade (listed grade II). Halfway along its length, steps lead down to a decorative landing stage called the Boat Terrace (listed grade II). At the south end of the River Walk stands a mature, clipped Buxus 'House'. At this point the Walk continues along the south side of the Croquet Lawn, flanked to its north by the Musk Rose Border, and to its south by the Long Border, containing shrubs, herbaceous plants, and clipped box balls. Immediately south of the Long Border, on a slightly lower level, lies a rectangular lawn. It is accessed by two small flights of steps at either end of the Long Border. To the west this lawn is screened by the cob wall that extends from the stables. This wall has a central gate that leads into the Sundial Garden, situated immediately south of the stables, which is laid to lawn and has a border planted along the south side of the stables. On the lawn stands a c 100-year-old mulberry tree.
To the south of the Sundial Garden lies the Japanese Garden, created along the River Avon and its carrier streams. Here, a red lacquered wooden bridge, called the Nikko Bridge (listed grade II), crosses one of the water channels. The bridge is a miniature copy of the Nikko Bridge situated in Japan. The bridge leads to a meadow south of the channel, in which stands a Venetian well-head. Some 4m further down the river, to the south-west of the Nikko Bridge, stands a Japanese tea house (listed grade II). The wooden tea house, with a thatched roof, is flanked to the north by two mature magnolia trees. It stands over a small brick-lined channel which forms part of the late C17 water-meadow irrigation system. The Japanese Garden is planted with water-loving plants, mainly introduced in the late C20. In the garden stands a large granite temple lantern and two smaller snow lanterns (all listed grade II). The Japanese Garden was first laid out in the early C20. The bridge, tea house, and the temple lanterns were all brought over by Greville from Japan in the late C19. He also brought over four Japanese garden experts who built the tea house, and the garden was laid out to a garden design plan imported by Greville from Japan (CL 1915). During and after the Second World War the garden fell into neglect; its layout has since been simplified and the garden has been replanted.
North of the Japanese Garden lies the Tunnel Garden, which is a raised rectangular garden enclosed to the north, east, and west by a late C19 cob wall (OS 1887) set on flint footings, with pantiled copings (listed grade II). A central gate in the west wall gives access to the garden. On the south side the garden is lined along its full length with a wooden pergola introduced in the late C20, and planted with laburnum, wisteria, roses, sweet peas, and clematis. Below the pergola is the Yellow Border, with halfway along its length a small flight of steps that lead onto the lawn to the south of the garden and to the Wild Flower Area to the west. The Tunnel Garden is divided into four quarters by a grass and paved walk with, in the centre, a square stone pond surrounded by eight mature round box bushes. The walks are covered by espalier apple and pear tunnels planted in 1965. The pond and box bushes were introduced in the early C20 as part of Peto's design for this garden, which was for an ornamental rose garden. The garden is now (2002) planted with both ornamental plants and fruit and vegetables. During the late C19 the Tunnel Garden was used as a kitchen garden (OS 1887).
PARK The small park of c 8ha dates from the late C18 and covers the west and north-west part of the site, to either side of the entrance drive. To the north and south-west it is bounded by a thin belt of trees. The park, currently (2002) grazed by sheep, is planted with a variety of mature single trees, including chestnuts, and small clumps of mature trees.
KITCHEN GARDEN The early C20 walled kitchen garden of c 0.25ha is situated in the far south-west corner of the site, c 200m from the House. Its walls are built of brick and flint and it is now (2002) used for growing vegetables and plants for the ornamental gardens and the plant centre, which lie immediately to its west.
Country Life, 37 (27 February 1915), pp 272-7; 174 (29 November 1984), pp 1682-6 G Jekyll, Garden Ornament (1918), p 141 Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire VI, (1962), pp 223-5 B Cherry and N Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Wiltshire (2nd edn 1975), p 595 J Sales, West Country Gardens (1980), pp 210-13 D Ottewill, The Edwardian Garden (1989), pp 56, 118, 152-3 Heale House Garden, guidebook, (late 1990s)
Maps OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1887 2nd edition published 1900
Archival items Aerial photographs, 9 January 2000 (NMR 18646/35; 18659/13; 18666/07), (NMR, Swindon)
Description written: July 2002 Amended: August 2002 Edited: November 2004 FDM
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 2243
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