Mid C18 pleasure grounds forming the setting of a country house.
In 1437 the estate passed from the Colvilles, in whose hands it had been since the C14, by marriage to the Mauleverers, in whose ownership it remained until sold in 1902 to Sir Lowthian Bell. William Mauleverer (d 1618) built a new house and laid out a garden; James, his son, died in the Debtor's Prison, York, in 1651. The family regained wealth through the marriage of Thomas to the heiress Miss Wilberfosse, enabling the rebuilding of the house in the 1750s, employing the York architect John Carr (1723-1807). By the 1770s (Mowbray, 1776) the gardens and pleasure grounds had been laid out with a forecourt to the north-east of the house, formal garden compartments to the north-west bounded by the churchyard, and a compartment to the south-west which was largely bounded on three sides by two L-shaped canals which enclosed the west and south corners of the compartment. The structure of the garden remained broadly similar in the C19, except that by the mid C19 the north-east arm of the south canal had been filled in and trees planted on the area, and the main approach was via the south-east front (OS 1857). Further minor alterations were made to the landscape during the late C19 or early C20, possibly following purchase by Sir Lowthian Bell, since when the site has remained (1999) in private ownership.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Arncliffe Hall stands sheltering beneath the steep escarpment of the North York Moors, south-west of Swainby. The c 3ha site is bounded largely by agricultural land, the north-east boundary being formed partly by the churchyard of All Saints' church, and partly by the lane which leads around the east boundary of the site, connecting Ingleby Arncliffe with Hall Barn to the south. The setting is rural, with views west overlooking the Vale of Mowbray to the Richmond hills, and to the north and north-west over the Vale of Cleveland. The site is overlooked by Arncliffe Wood set on the escarpment above to the east.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
A lane leads south-east off the A172 from Ingleby Cross to the Hall, a short drive off this connecting with the pair of low rusticated piers which provide the entrance to the part-walled forecourt (listed grade II*). The drive encloses a small oval grass panel leading to a broad flight of steps up to the main door on the north-east front, which overlooks the churchyard to the north. The forecourt is overlooked by the church tower.
East of the Hall and forecourt lies an area of shrub planting, partly bounded by the lane to the north-east and within this partly enclosed by mature yews. The ground rises to a line of further yews at the east end, screening the area from stable and farm buildings beyond, giving the area the form of an amphitheatre.
Arncliffe Hall (listed grade I) stands close to the north-east boundary of the site and was built c 1750-4 by John Carr of York for Thomas Mauleverer. The four-storey stone house, rectangular in plan form, stands close to, but a little to the east of, the site of the earlier house which it replaced. An east wing was added to the Hall in 1841 by William Mauleverer; this was demolished in the early to mid C20 (CL 1920).
To the south-east of the Hall, cut into the western slope of the hillside are the stables and farmery, also designed by Carr. The yard below the south-east front of the Hall is screened from the gardens by a wall (listed grade I with the Hall) which runs south-east from the corner of the Hall. Seen from the lawn, this wall with its gateway greatly extends the length of the south front.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
The gardens lie to the north-west, south-west, and south of the Hall. Below the north-west front are two rectangular walled enclosures. The first, enclosed by stone walls (mid C18, listed grade II*), is contemporary with the Hall and is split into two levels by a grass terrace. It is entered via three gateways. The first of these, a round-arched gateway, gives access from the forecourt to the east corner of the enclosure. In the early C20 this enclosure was planted with a symmetrical arrangement of beds set in a formal lawn (ibid).
The second gateway, set into the far wall to the north-west, connects with the second, larger brick-walled garden beyond, which would seem to pre-date the stone-walled enclosure and has been used as a kitchen garden. In the early C20 each of the four corners of this further compartment was filled by a triangular brick summerhouse, only two of which survive (ibid). The north-east wall of the two gardens divides them from All Saints' church and churchyard, which lies between them and the lane. The south-west wall of the brick-walled garden compartment curves down to form a low parapet to allow of sunlight and views over the lawn and canals beyond.
The third gateway, set into the south-west wall of the stone-walled enclosure, giving access to the south garden, is round-arched with a pediment.
A flight of balustraded stone steps leads down from the garden door at the centre of the south, garden front of the Hall to the rectangular lawn which stretches south from it to a broad canal. The water is not visible from the base of the Hall, only from the upper landing of the perron. The outlet in the north-west end of the canal connects to a second, L-shaped canal, raised above the level of the surrounding farmland; around it is a broad grassed walk. The area between the water and the walled gardens is lightly wooded.
To the south of the canal is a stone retaining wall, beyond which is a levelled area of lawn which leads to an overgrown (1999) beech hedge. At the northern and southern ends of the wall are two sunken features, the northern one being overlooked by a stone bastion set at the end of the wall, enclosing a stone seat.
A licence to impark was granted to Sir Robert Colville in 1317, and the lines of major ditches which enclosed his deer park (outside the area here registered) can still be traced to the south-east and south of the site.
The south-east side of the south lawn is marked by a raised terraced walk planted with a yew hedge. This divides the garden from the west-facing slope of the kitchen garden area, which is bounded to the north by the stables and farmery, and to the east by the lane leading to Hall Barn.
Country Life, 48 (25 December 1920), pp 846-53
Samuel Buck¿s Yorkshire Sketchbook (Wakefield Historical Publications 1979)
H Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840 (3rd edn 1995), p 221
I Hall, Arncliffe Hall, composition and massing, (typescript note nd) [copy on EH file]
I Mowbray, A plan of Thomas Maulevener Esq Estate at Ingleby Arncliffe in the Northriding, 1776 (North Yorkshire Record Office)
OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1857
The Mauleverer papers are held at the North Yorkshire Record Office, Northallerton.
Description written: November 1999
Register Inspector: SR
Edited: October 2004