Gardens and a landscape park created as the setting for a new country house, laid out in the mid C19 and incorporating earlier work.
The Brodsworth Hall estate was bought by Peter Thellusson (1735-97), a wealthy city banker, shortly before his death. Following a long legal battle over Thelluson's will, it was eventually inherited in 1859 by his grandson, Charles Sabine Thelluson (1822-85), who demolished the Georgian house which stood near to the church and, in 1861, began work on a new house on a new site. The designs for the house were supplied by an Italian architect, Chevalier Casentini, the work being executed by the architect Philip Wilkinson. The mansion, along with the new gardens which accompanied it, was completed by 1870. Having passed to various members of the family, the Hall and its gardens were donated to English Heritage by Mrs Williams in March 1990 and the site remains (2000) in their care.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Brodsworth Hall lies c 8km north-west of Doncaster, bounding the south side of the village of Brodsworth. The 102ha site is bounded to the north partly by the B6422 which leads west into a village lane, to the east by the lane connecting Brodsworth and Hickleton, and on the other sides by agricultural land. Formerly (OS 1931) the south-west boundary was formed by the large Brodsworth Wood, the vestigial remains of which now form a belt around the west and part of the south boundary. The setting is largely rural, with the A1 Doncaster bypass running north to south 700m east of the east boundary.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
The main approach to the Hall enters at a gateway (early C19, listed grade II) off the public road on the eastern boundary of the site, 700m east of the Hall. The drive enters between a pair of stone gate piers supporting iron gates, these piers being flanked by a further pair of piers supporting side gates, leading to stone wing walls sweeping out to terminate at matching end piers. From here the east drive curves west across the park, through a second stone gateway (late C18 and later, listed grade II) with stone piers and an iron gate standing 160m east-north-east of the Hall, which leads into the pleasure grounds and to the turning circle below the east front. A porte-cochère encloses the main entrance on the east front.
A service drive links the Hall with the home farm and the mid C18 stable block (listed grade II) standing 150m away on lower ground to the north-west.
Brodsworth Hall (Chevalier Casentini 1861-3, listed grade I) stands towards the north-west corner of the site, a position offering views over the parkland to the south and east. The two-storey stone Hall, built in Italianate style, comprises a rectangular block with the long garden front and central garden door to the south, and a service wing attached to the north.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
Brodsworth Hall is surrounded by a ring of gardens and pleasure grounds which is divided from the park to the south and east by estate fencing. Three sets of marble steps, accompanied by pairs of urns (listed grade II), lead down from the terrace beneath the south front to the south lawn. The steps, like the marble greyhounds (listed grade II with the steps) which flank them, were sent by Casentini from Italy in 1866. A fourth set of steps links the terrace below the west front and the croquet lawn. Beyond this west lawn lies a formal flower garden, the focus of which is a tall, three-tiered fountain above an octagonal pool (listed grade II) aligned on the axis of the west front. To either side are monkey-puzzle trees around which are set four urns (listed grade II) and a scheme of elaborately shaped rose beds cut into the turf.
Between the formal garden and the western boundary of the site lies The Grove, a quarry converted into an extensive rock garden overhung with mature beech and yew trees and laid out with paths, steps, and bridges. At the southern end, standing on a mound, is a summerhouse in the style of a Doric temple (listed grade II) with a toolshed below. At the northern end is a summerhouse, dating from c 1860, with a Venetian window and a Swiss-style roof. A path leads out from the north end of The Grove south-east, down the rose walk which forms the central feature of a flower garden, through a wooded copse to the west side of the Hall.
Below the south terrace, running west to east alongside the hedge which forms the southern edge of the gardens, is a walk leading west to The Grove and east round a shrubbery, continuing eastwards via the arboretum to the church which stands within the pleasure grounds 150m north-east of the Hall. The shrubbery, planted mainly with evergreens and decorated with statuary (listed grade II), borders a lawn to the east of the Hall and turning circle. Much of the statuary in the gardens seems to have been sent from Italy in the 1860s, and the gardens and pleasure grounds have changed little since first having been laid out in the 1860s.
The park, dotted with a mixture of specimen trees, slopes down from the shrubbery east of the Hall to the shelter belt which runs along the eastern boundary. The central section of the belt is laid out as an avenue. To the south, the park stretches as a flat expanse to a plantation at the south corner of the site known as Pegdale which leads north to Brodsworth Wood and Chicken Farm Plantation, providing shelter along the western boundary.
The brick-walled kitchen garden stands 400m north-east of the Hall, a little to the east of the village of Brodsworth. Situated in the lowest part of the park, it runs parallel to the public road which forms the northern boundary of the site. A track leads from the entrance in the centre of its southern wall, west through a gateway to the Home Farm.
Country Life, 134 (3 October 1963), pp 803-07; (10 October 1963), pp 876-9
M Girouard, The Victorian Country House (1979), pp 236-42
Brodsworth, guidebook, (English Heritage 1995)
OS 6" to 1 mile: 3rd edition published 1931
Description written: November 1991
Amended (SR): February 2000
Edited: October 2004