THE ROYAL ESTATE, WINDSOR: CUMBERLAND LODGE
Heritage Category: Park and Garden
List Entry Number: 1001436
Date first listed: 30-Sep-1987
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Windsor and Maidenhead (Unitary Authority)
Parish: Old Windsor
District: Runnymede (District Authority)
Parish: Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference: SU9597071070
A country house, the largest house within Windsor Great Park, surrounded by the remains of gardens and associated parkland laid out mainly in the C18.
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 Cumberland Lodge lies), Frogmore Gardens, Windsor Castle and Home Park, Royal Lodge; within Surrey, The Savill Garden and Valley Gardens, Virginia Water.
During the Commonwealth (1649-53) Crown land within Windsor Great Park was sold to private individuals, one of whom, Col James Byfield, constructed a house at the centre of the park (known until the late C18 as the Great Lodge and from then as Cumberland Lodge) which became the official residence of the Ranger of the Great Park, following the Restoration (1660) when the land reverted to the Crown. At this time the house was flanked by two ornamental circular enclosures, with further enclosures lying close by, containing gardens and orchards or plantations (A Review of the Great Park, 1662, in Roberts 1997, 253), approached via a double avenue from Bishop's Gate to the north-east. New avenues were introduced in the 1690s, and it seems likely that terraces and parterres seen on early C18 plans (eg Henry Wise's A Sketch plan of part of Windsor Great Park, c 1712) were laid out at this time by Hans Willem Bentinck, first Earl of Portland who occupied the house from 1697 to 1702 (Roberts 1997, 334).
At the death of William III in 1702, Queen Anne granted the Rangership to the Duchess of Marlborough, who remained joint Ranger of the Great Park from 1702 to 1744, and enhanced and extended the gardens around her official residence, the Great Lodge. The Great Lodge and its surrounds were further embellished under the Rangership of William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland from 1746 until his death in 1765. At this time the Great Lodge became the principal residence within the Great Park. The Rangership and Lodge passed to George III's brother Henry Frederick, Duke of Cumberland until his death in 1790. Following Duke Henry¿s death, the Rangership was effectively assumed by the King, George III, who put in hand various alterations by James Wyatt. After the establishment of the Regency in 1811 the Prince Regent intended to use (the renamed) Cumberland Lodge as his Windsor home. In the event he preferred the smaller adjacent residence later called Royal Lodge (qv), but was occasionally resident at Cumberland Lodge during building works at Royal Lodge. Cumberland Lodge was then brought within the large new enclosure around the Royal Lodge and used for guests and entertaining. In the later C19 and early C20 the Lodge housed senior members of the Royal Household. Following a major fire in 1869 the Lodge was remodelled and became the home of Queen Victoria¿s daughter Princess Helena, wife of Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein and Ranger of the Great Park from 1869. After the Second World War the Lodge became a conference centre, in which use it remains. The site remains (1999) in the ownership of the Crown, and is managed by the Crown Estate.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING Cumberland Lodge lies towards the centre of Windsor Great Park, c 6km south of Windsor Castle. The c 120ha landscape surrounding the Lodge is enclosed by the Great Park, and bounded to the north by the road connecting Sandpit Gate on the west boundary of the Great Park to Bishop's Gate on the east boundary. The Lodge lies at the edge of a plateau, with the associated undulating ground falling gently away to the south-west. The setting is largely rural, within the ancient precincts of the Great Park, close to the Royal Lodge to the north, with the mid C18 Virginia Water lake (qv) to the south and the C20 Savill Garden (qv) to the south-east. Views extend south-west from the house across the rolling parkland, uninterrupted by C20 structures.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES Cumberland Lodge is approached from the north-east via the Bishop's Gate entrance lying on the eastern boundary of the Great Park, 1.2km north-east of the Lodge. The main drive runs south-west along the south side of the Royal Lodge enclosure, turning south close to the King George VI Coronation Grove, before turning west 350m east of the Lodge, from where it is flanked by a lime avenue, approaching obliquely the main, north-east front of the house. The drive arrives at a gravel forecourt flanked by lawns, overlooked by a large porch standing on the north-east front.
The lime avenue extends east, giving access to Cow Pond lying 600m east of the Lodge. This c 1.5ha rectangular formal canal has a curved north end and is set within evergreen shrubs and woodland, enclosed by a perimeter path. It is believed to have been formalised in the early C18, at the same time as the avenue linking it with the Lodge was laid out. At this time the Pond had a more elaborately shaped north end and lay in a clearing within a formal woodland compartment (Wise, c 1712, in Roberts 1997, 374).
During the C18 (Vardy, 1750) the house was approached from the north-east by a straight, double avenue aligned on Bishop's Gate, the course of which remained evident until at the least the early C19 (Smith, c 1830), by which time it had been superseded by the present route. In the early to mid C18 (Wise, c 1712; Vardy, 1750) the avenue arrived at a screen allowing access to a forecourt laid largely to lawn bisected by the drive running up to the main door. The forecourt was flanked by two almost circular features, that to the south-east giving access to the gardens, whilst in that to the north an open lawn was partially enclosed by a double row of trees from which a double avenue extended north-west, aligned on the north-west front of the house.
PRINCIPAL BUILDING Cumberland Lodge (mid C17, remodelled early C19, remodelled again by A Salvin 1870s, listed grade II) stands at the north-west end of its associated grounds. The three-storey, brick-built house is entered from the east front, the garden being approached from the crenellated and turreted, Gothick-style, west front. On this front a central flight of stone steps leads down from a large garden door set into the main, central tower. Adjacent to the north-west stands a two-storey, brick-built house (early C18, listed grade II). Further to the north-west stands the stable yard (C18, restored early C19, listed grade II; now converted to domestic and conference use), with two single-storey, brick, former stable buildings facing each other across the stable yard.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS The informal gardens, laid largely to lawn, lie to the west and south-west of the house. The lawn extends from the west, garden front to a fence dividing it from the parkland beyond, and south into a wooded area planted with mature evergreen shrubs including rhododendron and laurel. The Wilderness woodland lies south of the garden, separated from it by a field. The woodland is bisected by a curving path running southwards, and contains many mature limes and two small ponds lying adjacent to each other towards the centre of the area. Views extend west from the western boundary of the woodland over the associated parkland and Meadow Pond towards the distant Great Park.
In the early C18 (Wise, c 1712, in Roberts 1997, 334) the garden around the Lodge was laid out in formal, rectangular, terraced compartments. These extended from the south-west front, aligned on an avenue extending south-west into the Great Park. The design was probably laid out by Hans Willem Bentinck, first Earl of Portland who occupied the house as Ranger 1697-1702. A formal, circular, partly wooded enclosure (of C17 origin; Review of Windsor Great Park, 1662, in Roberts 1997, 253) lay adjacent to the south front, a ride through the trees aligned on an avenue extending south-east into the Great Park. In the mid C18 the circular wooded feature on the south front remained, with its associated avenue, although the rectangular compartments on the west front had disappeared. These were replaced by a large, informal lawn which extended c 300m south-west from the Lodge, overlooking Great Meadow Pond. The lawn was bounded on the south side by the Wilderness, which at that time was laid out as an ornamental woodland divided into compartments by straight rides containing serpentine paths connecting small clearings. Two small, rectangular ponds lay adjacent to each other towards the east boundary of the Wilderness.
PARK The associated parkland lies largely to the south and west of Cumberland Lodge, bounded to the east by woodland leading up to the plateau of Smith's Lawn, to the west by Duke's Lane and to the south by the lane leading east from Norfolk Farm. The principal feature is the approximately square Great Meadow Pond (c 1747-50; known until the mid 1750s as the Great Lake), the focus of the surrounding parkland in the Duke of Cumberland's estate, and his first major project within the Great Park. The c 12ha Pond, visible from the Lodge, lies on lower ground c 500m to the south-west. The parkland is now (1999) subsumed within the arable land, clumps and copses of Norfolk Farm, laid out over much of the Cumberland Lodge parkland in the 1790s by George III's agricultural adviser Nathaniel Kent. Temple Hill lies adjacent to the south boundary of Great Meadow Pond, and is now within arable land, the summit of this small artificial knoll having formerly held a circular Doric temple by Henry Flitcroft (1748; Roberts 1997, 356), now (1999) without visible trace. Other ornamental structures around the Pond, now gone, included a classical boathouse and a wooden, Chinese-style bridge, both designed by Flitcroft (c 1748). The pond-head and dam form the southern boundary of the Pond, with a small cascade leading south into Mill Covert, a low-lying wooded area with a series of linear ponds culminating in the largest, Mill Pond. These water features lead south into Johnson's Pond, forming part of the feeder supply for Virginia Water (qv) to the south. Great Meadow Pond declined in importance as an ornamental feature during the 1750s as Virginia Water developed, and the ornamental character of park and Pond was eroded when the area became part of Norfolk Farm.
KITCHEN GARDEN The c 4ha, L-shaped kitchen garden lies to the west of the stable yard, partially enclosed by a brick wall. It remains partly in cultivation as a nursery in the western portion, the remaining area to the east being planted with conifers, and the south arm being disused. A lean-to glasshouse, the Vinery, stands at the west end supported by a brick wall.
By the mid C18 (Vardy, 1750) the kitchen garden had been laid out covering much the same area as now (1999), with a free-standing central wall running south-west to north-east along the spine of the area, at the centre of which stood the extensive Vinery (Henry Flitcroft c 1748, now gone), the structure of which was replaced to the west by the present Vinery in the C19 or C20. Three ponds (now gone) descended the hillside north-west from the boundary closest to the Lodge. The kitchen garden later supplied produce for George IV's lavish entertaining at the nearby Royal Lodge (c 1815-30), but its role in supplying the Royal Household with produce was superseded in the 1840s following the construction of the Royal Gardens at Frogmore (qv).
N Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Berkshire (1966), p 297 H Hudson, Cumberland Lodge (1989) 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)
Maps J Norden, A description of the honour of Windesor, 1607 (British Library and Royal Collection) Review of Windsor Great Park, 1662 (Royal Collection) H Wise, A Sketch plan of part of Windsor Great Park, c 1712 (Royal Collection) `M H¿, 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: 4191
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