Walled gardens laid out around Barlborough Hall probably in the C16, a C16 garden pavilion and parkland with C16 origins.
The estate was owned by the Rodes family who acquired it in the late C16 when Francis Rodes, a prominent lawyer whose patron was the Earl of Shrewsbury, purchased the land. The estate remained in the family until 1938 when it was sold. Subsequent sales have split the site into several different private ownerships (1998).
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Barlborough Hall lies immediately north of the village of Barlborough with the M1 motorway running along the west side of the park in an area which is otherwise rural and agricultural. The c 125ha site is on high land which rises gently to the south. The west side is bounded by Ward Lane and the M1 motorway, and the east by the road between Barlborough and Nitticarhill. Remaining boundaries are formed by fencing separating the site from agricultural land.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
The main entrance, where there is a C19 lodge, is on the north end of Park Street in Barlborough from which an avenue of limes runs northwards to the Hall. The avenue is shown on the 1839 Tithe map. An entrance from Rotherham Road on the north side of the site leads south and joins with Ward Lane west of the Hall. This route, shown on the 1875 OS map, replaced a drive shown on the 1839 map which curved to the south-east and approached the Hall as an avenue planted with platoons, aligned for part of the route with the north front of the Hall. Remains of this avenue survive in fields north of the Hall. The north-east side of the site is entered from Nitticarhill Lane, immediately north of Butcherlawn Pond, and a track with the remains of an avenue shown on the 1875 OS map leads west to join with Ward Lane north-west of the Hall. This drive is shown taking a slightly different route on the 1839 Tithe map.
Barlborough Hall (listed grade I) was built 1583-4 for Francis Rodes. There is no documentary evidence of the authorship of the design but it is widely accepted that it is the work of Robert Smythson who designed the Earl of Shrewsbury's house at Worksop. The Shrewsbury arms are displayed on the south side of the Hall, between Rodes' coat of arms and those of the Queen. The Hall is of a striking design with polygonal bays which rise above the roof line as turrets. Panoramic views can be obtained from the roof which is flat with a parapet. Major alterations were made in 1825 and more followed after 1938, when the Hall was sold for use as a school. Partial restoration of the rooftop lantern was completed in 1998 and the Hall remains in use as a school (1998).
Some 40m south-west of the Hall and attached to it by a low corridor range there is a range of ancillary buildings of various dates around a double courtyard. The buildings range in date from the C16 to the late C20 and include a stable block (listed grade II). The buildings have been converted to accommodation of various types (1998).
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
The Hall is surrounded by walled enclosures. On the south side of the building there is a range of three enclosures. Aligned with the south front of the Hall a grassed garden bounded by low stone walls has a central path leading to a staircase which ascends to the first floor of the Hall. The garden is planted with clipped yews. The north-east side of the garden has a full-height wall of worn stone with a doorway with a Tudor arch and a hoodmould giving access to the east side of the Hall. The south-east enclosure has a north wall of brick, railings on the east side and low stone walls on the other sides. The garden has quartering paths between mature shrubs. On the west side of the central south garden a low wall has a central opening with steps leading down into an enclosure formed by the east side of the stable block and a C19 extension attached to the west side of the Hall. The remains of a conduit house which was probably rebuilt in the mid C19 stand in the centre of the lawn. The 1839 map shows the central and south-west enclosure, but that to the east is shown as a smaller square enclosure. The south side of the Hall is shown on a painting of c 1583 (reproduced in Baxter and Assocs 1992) and this suggests that there may have been a courtyard fronted by a range of buildings on this side; alternatively the view may have been distorted so that buildings on the site of the stables could be included in the picture.
On the east side of the Hall a walled enclosure has stone gate piers with ball finials and gates (listed grade II), probably of early C19 date, aligned with the entrance. The archway entrance from the southern garden leads to a paved terrace which is matched by another paved terrace on the north side of the central porch. A blocked archway in the north wall corresponds with that in the south wall. The enclosure is shown on the 1839 map and the walls were probably largely rebuilt when the porch was built in 1825, or possibly at a later date.
On the north side of the Hall there are playing fields which have brick walls with stone piers forming the east and west sides of an enclosure shown on both the 1839 Tithe map and 1923 OS map when the north side was closed by a wall. Parchmarks on the line of this wall can be seen on mid to late C20 aerial photographs (EH file) which also show faint outlines of two further enclosures to the north which seem to correspond with gardens shown an estate map of 1723. Two drawings of 1780 by S H Grimm (Baxter and Assocs 1992) show the north side of the Hall. One shows a fountain aligned with the centre of the north elevation and formal beds planted with shrubs, while the other shows the Hall within parkland with a wall with a central entrance with gate piers surmounted by ball finials on the north side of the northern garden enclosure. A gateway with stone gate piers surmounted by ball finials lies at the south-west corner of the enclosure. This is not shown on a drawing of 1776 (ibid); the piers however are similar to a set shown on the west side of the Hall in the same drawing and may have been brought from elsewhere, perhaps from the demolished north wall. West of the enclosure there are C20 tennis courts sheltered by low banks to the west.
On the west side of the Hall a brick-walled enclosure has an entrance in the west wall with a set of stone gate piers flanking gates with a wrought-iron overthrow (all probably C18, listed grade II). The walls step down on each side of the gate piers and the arrangement is much as shown on the 1776 drawing. A stone slab with a partially legible inscription is set into the south-west wall.
With the exception of the stub of wall with a C17 archway between the south and east garden enclosures and the enclosure and gateway on the west side of the Hall, it appears that the garden walls were altered and rebuilt during the C19, though they seem (with the exception of the south-east enclosure) to be on the lines shown on the 1839 map.
Immediately south of the southern gardens there is a path and a ha-ha. The path runs west to an enclosure immediately south of the stable yard called the Gazebo Garden or the Pool Garden. The east side has a low wall and hedge and a tall red-brick wall flanked by a grassed terrace forms the north side. The remains of a rockery lie at the west end of the terrace. A glasshouse is shown against the centre of the wall on the 1875 and 1923 OS maps. The west side of the garden is walled in irregular rubble. In the centre of the garden there is a rectangular pond aligned north-west/south-east which is one of a chain of ponds running across the park shown on the 1839 map. South of the pond there is a grassed bank and south of this a patch of woodland with ornamental planting. The 1839 map shows the garden as a sub-rectangular enclosure covering a smaller area which extended for a short distance south of the pond. It had been extended to its present size by 1875, when the OS map shows the woodland to the south of the pond with walks leading through it.
In the north-west corner of the garden the north wall turns to run northwards for a short distance and in the space between this and the west wall there is a gabled garden pavilion (listed grade II*) dated 1582 or 1587. It has a central projecting semicircular bay with an entrance on the ground floor and a blocked mullioned and transomed window on the first floor. It can be entered at first-floor level from the stable yard where there is an arched entrance leading into a chamber with a large, elaborate, C16 chimneypiece against the north wall. A probate inventory of 1639 (ibid) has an entry which refers to the 'Chamber and Parlor neare the ponds' which may be a reference to this building.
South Park, to the south and south-east of the Hall, consists largely of pasture with scattered trees. A belt of planting shelters the south boundary, and Longrybank Wood the north-east side of the park, as shown on the 1839 map. Butcherlawn Pond, an irregular stretch of water in the north-east corner of the park, is also shown on the map. A chain of ponds shown on the 1839 map survives in part, with an irregularly shaped stretch of water c 300m south of the Hall, the pond within the garden, and Dogkennel Pond immediately north-west of the garden. A pond between that south-east of the Hall and the one within the garden is shown in 1839 but it does not appear on the 1875 OS map. These may have originated as fishponds, and the probate inventory of 1639 mentions 'fishinge netts' in the Great Hall of the house. An additional pond west of Dogkennel Pond was formed in the late C20. Woodland to the south of Dogkennel Pond is called Icehouse Plantation.
Parkland to the west and north of the Hall is largely under arable cultivation. A patch of woodland called Garden Plantation shelters the north-east side of the kitchen garden. The park extended westwards until it was truncated by the M1 motorway in the mid C20, and the C19 OS maps show park and woodland extending 200-300m west of the present line.
A map showing a proposed drain of c 1590 shows a pale and annotations mention East Park and Long (?) [illegible] Park which suggests that Francis Rodes created a park at the time that the Hall was built.
Some 300m north-east of the Hall there is a rectangular brick-walled garden with a range of ancillary buildings and sheds built along the outer face of the north wall and a cottage, altered in the late C20, at the north-west corner. The walls are in ruinous condition and that to the east has largely disappeared (1998). The garden is not shown on the 1839 map but it appears on the 1875 OS which shows it with quartering paths.