Heritage Category: Park and Garden
List Entry Number: 1001273
Date first listed: 11-Aug-1993
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Derbyshire Dales (District Authority)
Parish: Darley Dale
National Grid Reference: SK 29582 63923
The grounds of a country house laid out in the mid C19, with gardens, park and woodland.
Sydnope Hall stands on the site of a late Tudor farmhouse but its present character, together with the surrounding landscape, date from the mid C19. Sir Francis Scheverell Darwin, MD, second son of Dr Erasmus Darwin, purchased Sydnope in the early 1820s from the Dakeyne family of Holt House. At the beginning of the 1850s, Darwin commissioned the architect J Barron Wright to greatly extend and alter the Hall, in the Tudor style. At the same time he instigated the laying out of the grounds which by 1874 were 'full of natural beauties and attractions' (J Horticulture and Cottage Gardener). Darwin was also responsible for the building of the folly known as Sydnope Stand. On his death in 1858, the estate was purchased by R B Barrow who made further alterations to the house and converted the folly to a gothic eyecatcher. He was succeeded in 1876 by his son, B L Barrow, who lived at Sydnope until his death in 1922. Following a period of neglect, the estate was acquired in 1939 by Charles Boot of Thornbridge Hall (qv) who carried out restoration works before passing it over to the City of Sheffield as an old people's home. In the 1980s the house was converted into private apartments and the site remains (2000) in divided private ownership.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING Sydnope Hall lies c 5km to the north of Matlock, c 1km beyond the north-east edge of the village of Two Dales. The north-west boundary is formed by Sydnope Hill, the B5057 road which runs out of Two Dales towards Walton and Chesterfield. The east boundary is defined by Farley Lane, while to the north-east and south-west the park boundary adjoins farmland. The Hall stands in the centre of its c 80ha park, towards the top of the south-facing slope of a north-east to south-west running valley. It enjoys extensive views south-west over Darley Dale, and south-east to The Warren and to Sydnope Stand on the skyline of the wooded far side of the valley.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES Both drives to the Hall lead east off Sydnope Hill, one passing the lodge which stands just south of Sydnope Hall Farm and the other from the bend in the road to the north. They cross the park to arrive at the court on the north front.
PRINCIPAL BUILDING Sydnope Hall (listed grade II) is a two-storey country house, built of ashlar under an old stone tile roof, in the Tudor style. It has a long embattled range with a projecting embattled and buttressed porch, together with a three-storey tower on the west end. Erected in 1852 by J Barron Wright for Sir Francis Scheverell Darwin, the Hall stands on the site of a late Tudor farmhouse which occupied the same position. In the late C20 an extension was added to the west end.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS Below the south front of the Hall is a series of grass terraces. A path, originally dressed with Derbyshire spar, leads round the southern edge of the terrace to the rest of the gardens which lie at an angle to the north-east of the Hall. The path comes first upon an area of rockwork through which it winds, climbing by means of sets of stone steps until it opens out at a point onto the south-west end of the main walk. A steep grass bank divides the terrace walk from the flower garden below, the central focus of which is a circular pool and fountain. Several of the tiers of the fountain (illustrated in J Horticulture and Cottage Gardener 1874) are now (2000) missing and the beds have been grassed over.
To the north of the walk, a retaining wall finished by a stone balustrade supports the rose garden above, access to which is up a steep flight of stone steps at the northern end of the walk. The garden is laid out with gravel paths between stone-edged beds set in a geometrical pattern. It is now (2000) in separate ownership being part of the converted and extended orangery which stands to the north of it.
At the northern end of the main walk the path provides access to an extensive area of rockwork through which runs a stream, widened into a series of pools. The path then links back westwards, along the lower, southern edge of the gardens where a yew hedge divides the bottom lawn from the park.
PARK The gardens are surrounded by a small area of open parkland, the majority of the park to the east of the Hall being covered by a dense area of woodland known as The Warren. Originally deciduous in character, The Warren was clear felled during the Second World War and replanted with conifers (owner of Sydnope Stand pers comm, 2000). From the northern end of the gardens, a walk leads through plantings of shrubs, mainly rhododendrons, to The Warren. The path crosses the Sydnope Brook at a waterfall, then leads south to Sydnope Stand, a building erected by Sir Francis Scheverell Darwin at the southern tip of the park, c 800m south-east of the Hall from where it acts as an eyecatcher. The Brook is dammed to form a series of pools running north-east to south-west along the bottom of the valley, c 300m south-east of the Hall. The pools continue south-west (outside the area here registered) until they reach the mill at Two Dales.
KITCHEN GARDEN A long, narrow walled garden lies c 150m to the north-east of the Hall.
J Horticulture and Cottage Gardener, 51 (12 March 1874), pp 222-4; (19 March 1874), p 239 M Craven and M Stanley, The Derbyshire Country House II, (1984), p 70
Maps OS 6" to 1 mile: 3rd edition surveyed 1919, published 1923 1938 edition
Description written: July 2000 Register Inspector: EMP Edited: September 2000
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 2293
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