THE ROYAL ESTATE, WINDSOR: ROYAL LODGE
- Heritage Category:
- Park and Garden
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Windsor and Maidenhead (Unitary Authority)
- Old Windsor
- National Grid Reference:
A country house set within the Great Park, which was rebuilt in the 1930s around the remaining room of George IV's 1815-30 cottage orné. The Lodge is surrounded by woodland and lawns, with a woodland garden laid out in the 1930s with assistance from Sir Eric Savill and Russell Page, and a formal terrace by Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe, also of the 1930s.
NOTE This site is part of the Royal Estate, Windsor, together with the following six related park or garden areas which are given separate entries within the Register: within Berkshire, Windsor Great Park (within which lies Royal Lodge), Frogmore Gardens, Windsor Castle and Home Park, Cumberland Lodge; within Surrey, The Savill Garden and Valley Gardens, Virginia Water.
A house has stood on or close to the site of Royal Lodge since at the least the 1660s (Roberts 1997, 311), it being known as the Garden House during the early C18 (probably being the residence of the gardener at nearby Cumberland Lodge), when it was surrounded by a kitchen garden (Wise, 1712). By the mid C18 (Vardy, 1750) the house had become the Dairy, within an enclosure surrounded by orchard compartments and a Carpenter's Yard, and by the later C18 had grown into a fairly substantial house, becoming the Deputy Ranger's House by c 1770. In 1813 the Prince Regent, during improvement work to Cumberland Lodge, his proposed private residence, commissioned John Nash to produce plans to turn the `Cottage' into a temporary residence. The `Cottage' was gradually enlarged in rustic and Picturesque style as a cottage orné, becoming known as Royal Lodge in the mid 1820s, by which time it had become George IV's private retreat. John Nash and W T Aiton (Director of the Royal Gardens) probably designed the garden features.
Following George IV's death in 1830, William IV pulled down much of the structure, and the building was largely used as a grace and favour residence during the remainder of the C19. By 1833 the Duke of Wellington found that `The Plantations have been destroyed; and that beautiful Pleasure ground no longer exists.¿ (Roberts 1997, 329). The Royal Chapel was rebuilt in the grounds in 1865. In 1932 the Duke and Duchess of York (from 1936 George VI and Queen Elizabeth) and their family took up residence, making additions to the building. The gardens were cleared and replanted, with advice from amongst others Sir Eric Savill and Russell Page, and in 1936 the landscape designer Geoffrey Jellicoe advised on the garden, particularly the areas immediately west and south of the house. The enclosed area around Royal Lodge has grown and diminished according to the importance of the occupant of the house. It is currently (1999) at its fullest extent.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING Royal Lodge lies towards the centre of Windsor Great Park, c 5km south of Windsor Castle. The c 40ha landscape surrounding the Lodge is enclosed by the Great Park, and bounded to the south-east by the estate road connecting Sandpit Gate on the western boundary of the Great Park with Bishop¿s Gate on the eastern boundary. The Lodge and its grounds lie on fairly level ground which falls away at the north-west boundary. The setting is rural, with Cumberland Lodge 600m to the south and its associated parkland beyond this, the mid C18 Virginia Water lake 3km to the south, and the C20 Savill Garden to the south-east. Views extend north and north-west from the north-west side of the site across the Great Park, particularly to Snow Hill on which stands the equestrian statue of George III at the southern end of the Long Walk.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES The main entrance to the estate approaches via the drive from the Great Park's Bishop's Gate, arriving 300m west of this at the Main Gate Lodges (Raymond Erith 1940s/50s, remodelled Sydney Tatchell) flanking the entrance to the Royal Lodge estate. From here the drive extends west through open woodland to Chapel Lodge, a small C19 lodge, continuing south-west past the Royal Chapel (S S Teulon 1865, listed grade II), crossing informal lawns to arrive at the east front of the Lodge.
PRINCIPAL BUILDING Royal Lodge (Sir Jeffry Wyatville 1820s, 1930s, listed grade II) lies towards the west end of its estate. The building incorporates Wyatville's grand gothick dining room and the Tent Room built for George IV, all that remains from the picturesque cottage orné which was George IV's private retreat during the 1810s and 1820s, and was largely pulled down by William IV in the early 1830s. To this was added in the early 1930s further accommodation to allow residence by the Duke of York (from 1936 George VI) and his family. Parts of George IV's building were reused by William IV for Adelaide Cottage, the cottage orné at the southern end of the Northern Slopes in the Home Park (qv).
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS The Lodge is largely enclosed by woodland, some remaining from the C18 and early C19, and is divided into two sections: that to the east of the Lodge consists largely of open woodland and informal lawns; to the west and south-west of the Lodge lies the garden, surrounded by further woodland.
Wyatville¿s dining room, now a drawing room, overlooks the paved west terrace, designed by Geoffrey Jellicoe in the mid 1930s, linked via a flight of spiral steps at the north end of the terrace to an informal lawn sloping down to the woodland garden beyond to the west. Within the woodland garden mature C18 and C19 oaks form a canopy for a diverse collection of ericaceous plants including rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias. Two main parallel grass walks cut through the woodland, with informal paths dividing it up into smaller sections.
Jellicoe¿s terrace continues along the south front, overlooking a sunken garden enclosed by beech hedges and laid mainly to rose beds and herbaceous planting. Y Bwthyn Bach (The Little House) stands further south of the Lodge, a small replica of a thatched Welsh cottage, given to Princess Elizabeth (later Elizabeth II) to mark her sixth birthday (1932). In front of it lies a miniature formal garden, largely laid to lawn panels separated by stone paths set in cruciform pattern, and encircling a central circular lawn panel, with box-hedged flower borders around the perimeter.
In 1951 a Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal-winning azalea and rhododendron garden designed by Sir Eric Savill and T H Findlay was re-created in the woodland close to the Lodge, together with a camellia garden planted with many specimens from Caerhays Castle, Cornwall (qv).
It is likely that John Nash and W T Aiton (Director of the Royal Gardens) designed the features of the Regency garden c 1815-20, `intended to disguise the scale of the `Cottage (which was merely 170 feet long) and to create an impression of a cottage garden' (Roberts 1997, 324). The garden was laid out informally, surrounded by woodland crossed by drives and paths (Smith, c 1830), enclosed by a fence, with, in the 1820s, an outer fence reaching almost to Bishop's Gate.
In 1828 the Gardener's Magazine reported `The building may be said to stand in an open forest glade, which has been polished by art, and ornamented with numerous masses, patches, groups of exotics, and scattered roses, and flowering plants. The living rooms have ... an extensive veranda ..., and ... a large conservatory ... Two covered ways of trelliswork and ivy, favourable to privacy and seclusion, lead from the extremities of the cottage. The flowers on the lawn are distributed in masses, in the manner of Dropmore [qv], but, ... with less taste and judgement'. While the detail of this early C19 garden was lost in the later C19, the wooded character remains.
Gardener's Magazine 4, (1828), pp 177-8 N Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Berkshire (1966), pp 296-7 G Plumptre, Royal Gardens (1981), pp 51-67 R Strong, Royal Gardens (1992), pp 141-4 D Lambert and T Longstaffe-Gowan, Report on Windsor Home and Great Parks (1996) J Roberts, Royal Landscape, The Gardens and Parks of Windsor (1997), pp 311-31
Maps J Norden, A description of the honour of Windesor, 1607 (British Library and Royal Collection) H Wise, A Sketch plan of part of Windsor Great Park, c 1712 (Royal Collection) A Plan of the Gardens in Great Windsor Park belonging to HRH the Duke of Cumberland, 1747 (British Library) J Vardy, Plan of Windsor Great Park, 1750 (Public Record Office) J Rocque, Map of Berkshire, 1761 W Faden, Plan of Windsor Great Park, 1789-91 (Public Record Office) OS surveyor's drawing of Windsor and the Great Park, 1811 (British Library) W J Smith, Plan of Windsor Great Park, c 1830 (Royal Collection)
OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1881 OS 25" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1912
Description written: May 1999 Amended: September 1999 Register Inspector: SR Edited: April 2000
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- 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