Heritage Category: Park and Garden
List Entry Number: 1001312
Date first listed: 29-Dec-1994
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
County: North Yorkshire
District: Craven (District Authority)
Parish: Martons Both
National Grid Reference: SD 88739 51204
A country house and formal gardens designed by Edwin Lutyens in the 1920s, with a planting scheme supplied by Gertrude Jekyll.
Gledstone Hall was designed by Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944) for Amos Nelson, a Lancashire mill owner. Nelson had recently (1923) acquired Gledstone House and the accompanying c 2300ha estate, and was intending to make improvements to the C18 mansion by John Carr of York (1723-1807). Following his meeting with Lutyens, he decided instead to rebuild, work starting in 1925 and the old house being demolished in 1928.
A new site was chosen for the house, outside and to the east of the former park, the location offering a level approach from the north, shelter from a wooded knoll, Cranoe Wood, to the east, and views south over gently sloping ground.
The Hall is now (1999) in multiple occupation.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING Gledstone Hall stands 1km north-west of the village of West Marton, west of Skipton. The c 12ha site is bounded to the west and south by Gledstone Road, leading from West Marton, and to the east and north by agricultural land. The ground around the Hall falls gently to the south, having been levelled and terraced to support the gardens, and rises to the east. The setting is rural.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES Access is via a short drive off Gledstone Road which leads east via a gateway on the public road 30m west of the Hall. The drive enters between a pair of urn-topped piers, leading into the west side of the forecourt (Lutyens 1920s, listed grade II* with the Hall) on the north side of the Hall. Balancing piers lead off the east side of the forecourt, and two detached pavilions (Lutyens 1920s, listed grade II* with the Hall) stand at the north-west and north-east corners of the forecourt. These are joined by an ironwork screen with central wrought-iron carriage gates with an ornamental overthrow carrying the Nelson arms, the work of W Hoggart, a local blacksmith. The gates are flanked by large urn-topped piers, the screen forming the north side of the walled forecourt. Within the court is a turning circle enclosing a panel of lawn, in front of the columned portico, the detached pavilions framing the view to the north.
In the original designs, it was intended that the main approach would be off the West Marton to Gargrave road, further to the north, but as with the full scheme for the gardens, this drive was never completed. The proposed drive would have arrived on the axis of the north front, passing between the two detached pavilions on the north side of the forecourt.
Some 250m south of the Hall, on the south side of the bend in the public road, stands the two-storey stone South Lodge (listed grade II, outside the area here registered), designed by Lutyens in 1923. From here a drive leads west across parkland (also outside the area here registered), the park lying entirely on the west side of the public road. The drive gives access to the stable block (c 1770, now converted to an estate office and house, listed grade II*) and the site of the former Gledstone House.
PRINCIPAL BUILDING Gledstone Hall (Lutyens 1920s, listed grade II*), standing close to the west boundary of the site, is built of the local sandstone in a severely Classical style. Of two storeys, it has an unusually tall and prominent roof. The north front overlooks the forecourt and contains the main entrance, the south front being the garden front.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS The garden occupies the falling ground to the south of the Hall, the site being levelled to give a horizontal platform by way of retaining walls (listed grade II* including terraces, retaining walls, pergolas, and steps) at its southern end and, to a lesser extent, along its western edge. A planting scheme was supplied by Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932) who, having never seen the site, worked entirely by correspondence.
From the south door a view extends along the central canal, which forms the centrepiece of the design, out to parkland, woods, and rolling moors beyond. The vista is now (late C20) blocked by a row of conifers on the southern boundary.
Immediately below the door is an area of decorative paving, to either side of which stand wisteria-covered loggias paved with slate tiles arranged on edge in patterns. Set back to either side of the central block of the Hall are pavilions. In front of these are formal parterres, originally planted with roses.
A paved terrace walk runs across the south front, from the entrance gateway to the gardens off the west drive, east to a flight of steps leading up to the site of a seat. From the south door, a broad flight of stone steps descends south to a platform on which stands a sundial (dated 1748, listed grade II), overlooking the canal below to the south. From the platform, flanking flights of stone steps descend to the sunk garden, laid out with the canal on the axis of the south front. The canal is fed at the northern end by a fountain mask set in an alcove; at the southern end is a circular lily pool. To either side of the water, set between high retaining walls, are grass plats. Narrow beds edged with paving run along the foot of the walls, with larger beds at the water¿s edge.
The retaining walls support two raised walks, flanking and parallel with the canal. Broad paved paths lead south from the wings of the Hall, between grass verges backed by borders, to pergolas edging the southern boundary of the garden. From the pergolas, steps adorned with stone urns lead down to either side of the lily pool and south end of the sunk garden. Below the pergolas, to the south, is a retaining wall and substantial drop to the natural ground level.
To the south of the east pavilion of the Hall, and connected by a path to the eastern raised walk, is a yew-hedged garden enclosure. East of this is a former tennis court, beyond which the ground rises to Cranoe Wood, the wooded hillside which shelters the site from the east. At the south end of the garden enclosure, through an arbour, is a straight path down the hillside to the southern end of the site, which leads to the walled kitchen garden.
PARK The pre-existing parkland of Gledstone House, which lies on the west side of Gledstone Road, was not a significant factor in Lutyens' design of the new property; it is not included within the area here registered.
KITCHEN GARDEN The walled kitchen garden lies south-east of the Hall at the south end of the formal gardens. The garden predates Lutyens' scheme, having been part of the estate of the former Gledstone House.
T D Whitaker, History and Antiquities of the Deanery of Craven (1878), p 94 Country Life, 77 (13 April 1935), pp 374-9; (20 April 1935), pp 400-05; 170 (31 December 1981), pp 2292-4 Garden History 8, no 3 (1980), pp 40-3, 45, 48 J Brown, Gardens of a Golden Afternoon (1982), pp 138-9 M and R Tooley, Gardens of Gertrude Jekyll in Northern England (1982), pp 20-7, 55
Maps OS 6" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1909
Archival items Copies of Jekyll's planting plans (folder 195) are held on microfilm at the National Monuments Record (originals held at Reef Point, USA).
Description written: December 1994 Amended (SR): December 1999 Edited: October 2004
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 2377
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