Heritage Category: Park and Garden
List Entry Number: 1001381
Date first listed: 27-Feb-1998
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Bracknell Forest (Unitary Authority)
District: Surrey Heath (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SU 90520 64068
Mid Victorian gardens and pleasure grounds belonging to the Duke of Connaught, set in parkland reimparked in the late C17, and incorporating pleasure grounds of the early C19 laid out for the Duchess of Gloucester.
While there has been a house in Bagshot Park since the C17, the present house was built between 1875 and 1879, on instructions from Queen Victoria, as a home for her third son, HRH Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught on his marriage to Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia. The architect was Benjamin Ferrey (d 1880), the style, brick and stone Tudor. The north wing was added by 1887. The house remained the residence of the Duke until his death in 1942, at the age of ninety-one. From 1947 until 1996 it was leased by the Crown to the Ministry of Defence for use by the Royal Army Chaplains Department. In 1997 it returned to private ownership.
The first known reference to a royal park at Bagshot dates from 1486 when the office of the keeper of the Park of Bagshot was granted. John Norden's map of 1607 shows a house, Bagshot Park Lodge, standing close to the site of the current farm buildings and set within an enclosed park which measured 415 acres (168ha). The Lodge was frequently used by the Stuart kings, James I and Charles I, as a base for hunting expeditions. The land was disparked by Parliament during the Commonwealth but in 1682, Col James Graham, Privy Purse to the King, was by Royal Warrant made Ranger and Keeper and authorised to spend £1200 on repairing the house and reimpaling the park.
Throughout the C18, the office of Ranger and Keeper was granted by successive sovereigns to members of the nobility: the Earl of Arran from 1706, the Earl of Albemarle from 1766, his brother the Admiral Augustus Keppel from 1772. In 1798, William Frederick, later (1805) Duke of Gloucester (d 1834), was made Ranger. In 1816 he married his cousin Mary, fourth daughter of George III, and during their occupancy the house was enlarged following a plan by John Nash (1752-1835). The Duchess, who shared her mother the Queen's interest in botany and garden-making (the Queen had laid out the gardens of Frogmore (qv), in Windsor Great Park (qv)), was responsible for the creation of an 8 acre (c 3ha) flower garden in the park to the north of the house. In this she was assisted by her Scottish head gardener, Andrew Toward (b 1796) who, following the Duchess' move to White Lodge, Richmond Park (qv) in 1844, took up an appointment as Agent and Farm Bailiff to Queen Victoria at Osborne House (qv) on the Isle of Wight. At a House of Commons Railway inquiry in 1837, William Sawrey Gilpin (1762-1843), present as a witness, cited the late Duke of Gloucester, Bagshot, as a former employer; further details as to what Gilpin's involvement in the Bagshot Park landscape might have been are not known.
After the departure of the Duchess the house was occupied by a succession of short-term tenants, and when the Duke of Connaught arrived in 1879 the grounds were in a neglected state. Bagshot Park Lodge was demolished in 1878.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING Bagshot Park lies 1km to the north of the town of Bagshot which it adjoins to the south, on the west side of the A30, London Road, which forms the eastern boundary of the site, separating it off from the northern part of Bagshot. To the west the boundary lies within an area of woodland, Queen's Wood, which continues westwards to Vicarage Lane, beyond which lies Bagshot Heath. To the north is the A322, on the far, northern side of which is Dukeshill Allotment and Surrey Hill.
The house occupies an elevated position in the 175ha site, the ground falling away to the south to the Windle Brook over which there are extensive views out to the south.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES The main entrance lies off London Road, 550m south-east of the house. Here stands a lodge, Sunningdale Lodge, and accompanying gates, its architecture reflecting that of the main house. A drive from this point leads through plantings of mature trees and rhododendrons, then more open lawns, westwards for 300m before dividing. The southern branch provides access to the home farm, the northern fork swinging northwards, uphill, through steep shrub-planted banks, to arrive at the gravelled turning area, focused on a terracotta well-head, below the north front of the house. A side branch just before the drive's arrival at Bagshot Park house leads south to the office wing which lies to the west of the main block. The drive to the farm survives from the pre-Victorian layout, having formed the northern part of the main approach to the house known as Bagshot Park Lodge, from the early C17 (Norden, 1607) or before.
A second gateway and lodge, known as Station Lodge and also in the architecture of the main house, stands 500m further to the south on London Road, opposite the junction with Bridge and Station Roads. From here a drive leads north-westwards to the home farm, continuing north to join the main approach. It is planted with alternate pink and white horse chestnuts put in by the Duke of Connaught in the early 1880s, but the line pre-dates his ownership having formed the southern part of the main approach to Bagshot Park Lodge. South again by 300m, on London Road, a track leads west for 100m to a third lodge. From here a drive, also associated first with the Lodge rather than the Victorian house, leads north, crossing Stone Bridge at the eastern end of one of the pools in the park, to home farm. Some 200m south again is a further lodge which marked the end of a drive which branched off the southern drive just to the south of the bridge and led to St Anne's church; the route is no longer extant.
An entrance leads in from the A322 to the north, cutting through the pinetum to arrive at the north front. Ascot Lodge, which formerly stood at its head, has been demolished. From the east a pre-Victorian entrance came in off Bracknell Road to the north of the local cricket ground, the drive leading to the track along the east side of the pleasure grounds. This has been closed as a result of C20 road improvements.
Formerly there was also an approach from the west which entered at the north end of Vicarage Lane, running east to cross the dam at the south end of Rapley Lake (outside the area here registered). Again, this pre-dates the Victorian house and provided a main approach across the park to Bagshot Park Lodge.
PRINCIPAL BUILDING Bagshot Park house (listed grade II) stands towards the north of its park, surrounded by pleasure grounds which lie in an arc from north-west through north to south-east, and with the main area of formal gardens to the south. The house was built in 1877 by Benjamin Ferrey for the Duke of Connaught. It is in Tudor Gothic style, built of bright red brick with stone dressings and a slate roof, on an irregular plan with a central tower. Its site is 350m to the north of the earlier house, Bagshot Park Lodge, the house standing on what was formerly the boundary between the park and pleasure grounds at the north-west corner of the Duchess of Gloucester's gardens.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS Along the south front is a walk beyond which are two terraces, built projecting out into the earlier parkland in the 1870s to accompany the new house. A pair of steps, the western flight extending the axis of the walk across the west front, lead down a grass bank to the second level which is laid out as a semicircular parterre, planted in box with a central circular pool. The terrace is defined by a stone balustrade set at intervals with urns for planting. The wisterias which clothe the red-brick retaining wall of the terraces are presumably those brought back from Japan by the Duke and Duchess and planted here in 1888. A double flight of steps leads down through the balustraded brick retaining wall of the lower terrace to the sloping lawns below. A tennis lawn enclosed by yew hedging lies on an axis with the terracing, laid out in 1909 by their Royal Highnesses the Crown Prince and Princess of Sweden.
The top walk along the south front continues, down a short flight of steps, eastwards to terminate in a formal flower garden. Known as the Diamond Garden, this is aligned with the walk, with a seat set in a yew bower at each of the three other corners. The garden was one of the additions made by the Duke of Connaught, as were the two sunken gardens near the house and the Blue Garden, 200m south-east of the house, of which the surrounding clipped yew hedge only survives. The Duke also laid out a Spiral Garden to the south of the tennis lawn, the site of which can be identified from the earthwork traces in the present lawns.
Below the west front of the house lies a crazy-paved terrace set with flower beds and a sundial, beyond which, separated by a low brick wall, is the Italian Garden, an addition of 1912. The central feature here is a long rectangular lily pond with paved walk surround, a seat set within a brick pergola closing its far, western end.
The formal gardens round the house are set within lawns, divided on the south side from the park by a ha-ha. To the north-west of the house and Italian Garden the ground rises, a gravelled path leading along the shoulder of the sloping grassed bank set with specimen trees. Above lies the pinetum, the path continuing round the western perimeter of this collection to reach the orangery which forms its focal point. The pinetum, with its fine set of mature conifers, was created by the Duke of Connaught, but the orangery dates from the C18 (Rocque, 1768). The latter stands at the apex of a patte d'oie, this also being an C18 arrangement. The westernmost ride of the goose-foot leads through plantings of azaleas to the north front of the house 250m to the south. The central avenue, aligned with the south front of the orangery, extends 150m through rhododendrons to join with the less formal walk which leads from an entrance on the A322 public road to Bracknell, round the east side of the pinetum area and so back to the north front of the house. The most northerly vista of the patte d'oie, lined by yews, also meets this walk, but continues beyond it to connect with the path along the northern edge of the east side of the pleasure grounds which, too, connects with the north front.
To the east of the main drive as it passes through the pleasure grounds, is an area known as the arboretum, within which stands a number of fine specimen trees. The gravelled area at the top of the sloping lawn is the site of the Japanese House presented to the Duke of Connaught by the Government of Japan in recognition of his work with the Anglo-Japanese Exhibition. By 1949 it had fallen into poor condition and was demolished.
South-east of the house are beds within the lawn, planted predominantly with azaleas, rhododendrons, kalmias, and magnolias. South-east of this area is a substantial rock garden, currently (1997) rather overgrown with mature trees and understorey planting. Through it lead winding walks among steep banks of rockwork and at its southern end is a rock-built, now partly ruinous, grotto. Adjacent and to the west of the rock garden, and connected to it by a path through raised rockwork, is a circular garden enclosed by densely planted banks. This, the Dutch Garden, is laid out within a perimeter path, with lawns quartered by brick-laid paths, a pond in each quarter, and a central oval pool set round with rose-clad trellis work. Between the grotto and Dutch Garden is a C20 tennis court constructed on the site of a former conservatory.
The above-mentioned features south-east of the house survive from the Duchess of Gloucester's garden which she created between 1816 and 1827. J C Loudon wrote a detailed description of the garden in his Gardener's Magazine in 1828, including with this a plan drawn by Andrew Toward, long-standing head gardener to the Duchess. The gardens, then a short walk from the house, Bagshot Park Lodge, consisted of a series of interconnecting elements including, amongst other features, a rosery, an area of herbaceous plants, the arboretum of rare trees and shrubs, the rock garden, the range of greenhouses for exotics, the Dutch Garden, and the American Garden. The latter was of particular note containing, it was said, a complete collection of American shrubs then available; many are still (1997) in good health. Loudon referred to the garden again in 1834, observing that Toward had improved it further by replanting beds to contain just 'one natural order or tribe' instead of a miscellaneous assortment. In The Villa Gardener (1850), Loudon provided a long and detailed account of the moss house which Toward had designed for the Duchess (now gone).
At the back, north, of the area of the Duchess of Gloucester's gardens is a nursery area, used as such since her time, with accompanying brick hut and sheds. Beyond this, at the northern end of an open area towards the northern site boundary, stands the late C19 laundry, close to which is an icehouse. Further to the south-east is a cricket pitch (outside the area here registered) which, judging by the name of the nearby public house marked on it, was in existence at the date of the OS 1st edition map in 1871.
PARK The park lies to the south of the house between the formal gardens and Queen's Wood. It is now (1998) primarily in agricultural use.
Some 700m to the south of Bagshot Park house is a pool formed from the damming of Windle Brook which runs from north-west to south-east through the eastern edge of Queen's Wood. Stone Bridge, which crosses the dam on the east side of the pool, is shown on the Tithe map of 1841 and presumably relates to the earlier house. A wooded area lying c 500m to the west of the main residence and pleasure grounds and north of the park, contains two ponds fed by a second brook which flows south through the ponds to join up with the Windle.
Also within the park, 400m south of the house, lies the home farm complex which, although a working farm, is an integral part of the park landscape. The farmhouse was built in 1895 and the associated buildings are also of late C19 date. The stables and coach house which stand to the north were completed in 1887. They are located on or near the site of the earlier Bagshot Park Lodge and its associated stable block.
KITCHEN GARDEN The brick-walled kitchen garden lies just off London Road, 500m to the south-east of the mansion and 150m east of the home farm. It is probably of C18 origin, but the walls have been much repaired since this date. To the north of the walled enclosure stands the gardeners' bothy and east of this the head gardener's house, both buildings being of the late C19.
Gardener's Magazine IV, (1828), pp 433?7; X, (1834), p 333 J C Loudon, The Villa Gardener (2nd edn 1850), pp 390-4 Illustrated London News, 15 March 1879 Gardeners' Chronicle, (6 Sept 1902), pp 169-71 C Ward, Royal Gardens (1912) Lieut Col Crew, Bagshot Park, a short guide (1969) M Eedle, A History of Bagshot and Windlesham (1977) Garden History 22, no 2 (1994), pp 175-96
Maps John Norden, Map of Bagshot Park, 1607 J Rocque, Map of Surrey, surveyed c 1762, published 1768 A plan of the parish of Windlesham ... As divided and Inclosed by Act of Parliament, 1813 [copy on EH file] C and J Greenwood, Map of Surrey, 1823 Tithe map for Windlesham parish, 1841 (Surrey History Centre)
OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1869, published 1871 2nd edition published 1896
Description written: July 1998 Register Inspector: HJ Edited: April 2003
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 4039
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