An early C20 country house surrounded by formal and informal gardens laid out initially from 1907, with major additions c 1922 to designs by Gertrude Jekyll working with the architect C Clare Nauheim, and further work in the late 1920s to designs by Percy Cane.
In 1906 Robert E A Murray, a descendant of the Duke of Atholl, employed the architect J D Coleridge to build him a house in a woodland clearing on a plateau above the village of Hascombe. In 1910 Murray died, and subsequently G E B Kennedy bought the house. By 1912 (OS) the house remained largely surrounded by woodland, into which had been set to the north the kitchen garden, with, to the north-east, an orchard. By 1916 (OS) a further clearing had been formed to the south of the house, from which a long vista extended south into the woodland. A field to the east had been planted up as parkland, with scattered clumps of trees and singles. Kennedy died in 1921, and the property was bought by Sir John Jarvis, Bart, who employed Gertrude Jekyll in 1922 to extend the garden (Plans, NMR), working with the architect C Clare Nauheim. In 1928-9 Sir John employed Percy Cane to extend the garden further, and some of Miss Jekyll's features appear to have been overlain by Cane's work. Cane produced a plan (nd, private collection) of c 1928, from which the names of the garden compartments have been taken and used in this description.
Sir John died in 1951. The property was subsequently sold but has since remained in private ownership.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Hascombe Court lies 500m west of the village of Hascombe, 5km south of Godalming. The c 11ha site is bounded to the west by a lane giving access directly from Godalming to the north, to the south by Mare Lane and beyond this Foxbury Copse wood, to the north by woodland including Heads Copse, and to the east by agricultural land leading down to the village. The site occupies a plateau which falls away sharply to the east and south. The setting is rural, with panoramic views over the surrounding undulating countryside and the village.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
The main approach enters 75m north-west of the house, off the lane to the west, giving access from Godalming to the north. A pair of stone gate piers supporting wooden gates flanks the main entrance. From here the gravel drive extends east between panels of lawn planted with an avenue of semi-mature Wellingtonias, bounded to the north by the kitchen garden. Some 50m north of the Court the drive turns south, arriving at the gravelled forecourt on the north front of the house. The entrance to the forecourt, standing at the centre of the north side, is marked by two stone piers in similar style to those at the main entrance, flanked by low stone walls with tile copings. The forecourt leads south to the central front door, set back between the west and east wings of the Court.
A further approach enters off the west lane 30m south of the main entrance. A wooden gate opens onto a service drive, which curves east to the garage standing 20m west of the Court and beyond this to a service court and entrance on the west front. The south side of the service court is laid to lawn and divided from the west terrace in the garden beyond by a stone wall. A spur from the service drive extends east to enter the west side of the forecourt.
Hascombe Court (J D Coleridge 1906-7, listed grade II) stands towards the centre of the site, overlooking its surrounding gardens. Of two storeys, it is built in H-shape, in Vernacular Revival style, partly of local Bargate stone with brick dressings and partly of brick with some half-timbering. The Court enjoys views east over Hascombe village and Cricket's Hill beyond, and south towards The Hurtwood, a wooded hillside. The main garden fronts face south and east. The south-east corner of the Court is occupied by a loggia, enclosed by a balcony above, with arched openings overlooking the gardens to the south and east.
The garage block, including the former chauffeur's flat (the whole early C20, probably J D Coleridge, listed grade II), stands 20m west of the Court. Built in Vernacular Revival style, it forms the west boundary of the service court.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
The garden can be divided into two halves: the formal features which occupy the plateau on which the Court stands, flanking a central 325m long, north to south axis which runs through the centre of the Court; and the informal features which occupy the slope down to the east and south-east.
The garden is entered from the south front of the Court via two opposing garden doors which flank the central bay of the house, set back between the west and east wings. The doors lead out onto the stone-flagged south terrace, which extends along the south front, beyond which lies the South Lawn. From the south end of the Lawn a narrower lawn, the Colour Borders Lawn, continues south, flanked by flowering shrubs set in woodland. Two converging lines of stone flags extend south through the Colour Borders Lawn, marking the edges of the former colour borders which were laid out by Miss Jekyll c 1922 and turfed in the late C20. The south end of the Colour Borders Lawn is bounded by a low stone retaining wall flanking a short, circular flight of stone steps which lead down to a stone and grass terrace, bounded to the south by a further stone retaining wall. Formerly this was the site of the circular Sunken Garden designed by Miss Jekyll and C Clare Nauheim in 1922, and probably removed as part of Percy Cane's work of the late 1920s (Jekyll plans; Cane plan, c 1928). Long views extend south from the house along the lawns to a valley backed by The Hurtwood woodland on the far hillside. At the south-west corner of the South Lawn, here bounded to the west by a clipped hedge, stands a curved, brick tennis pavilion (c 1928, listed grade II) with a wooden-pillared open front, facing north-east. The pavilion overlooks the site of a former grass tennis court (Cane plan, c 1928), now (2000) laid to lawn. From the south-west corner of the Court the south terrace broadens out westwards into the west terrace, which is bounded to the north by a stone wall separating it from the service court beyond. A stone pergola with wooden cross beams (Jekyll and Nauheim 1922) runs along the west and north sides of the west terrace.
The loggia at the south-east corner of the Court gives access from the interior of the house to the gardens via the east terrace, onto which it opens. The east terrace (J D Coleridge c 1906?7, listed grade II) extends north along the east front of the Court and the east side of the forecourt. It is bounded to the east by borders enclosed by low box hedges, and overlooks below to the east the Formal Garden, Lavender Border, and Rock Garden. At its north end the east terrace leads down a short flight of steps into the Sunken Garden, at the centre of which lies a cruciform, stone-edged lily pool set into stone paving. The Sunken Garden is enclosed by clipped yew hedges, from which the central pool and paving are separated by borders. A gateway, set in the north-east corner, leads east out to an informal lawn and a hard tennis court to the north. The tennis court is enclosed by clipped hedges, and is overlooked from the south-east corner by a circular, brick and timber tennis pavilion (1928-9, listed grade II) with a conical tiled roof, set in a stone terrace, standing 60m north-east of the Court. Access to the interior of the pavilion is via a sliding door on the west side, with an adjacent window that overlooks the tennis court to the north-west. To the east of the Sunken Garden and south of the hard tennis court lies a hedged enclosure with an informal swimming pool set in lawns (late C20).
A further gateway lies at the centre of the west side of the Sunken Garden, aligned with the main entrance and drive, and gives access to the lawns in which the drive is set. Some 50m north of the Court, north of the point where the main drive turns south, the Long Walk begins, aligned on the centre of the north front of the Court. From here the Long Walk extends north for 140m, and is laid to lawn flanked by a double herbaceous border, this in turn flanked to the east by a clipped yew hedge and to the west by the stone wall of the kitchen garden. The Walk is terminated at the north end by a rectangular brick and timber garden house (1920s, listed grade II) with a tiled roof. The garden house is open on all but the north side and stands on a stone terrace. The Rose Garden lies adjacent to the east side of the Long Walk, 175m north of the Court, entered through a gateway in the yew hedge. The semicircular Garden is laid out with a semicircular pattern of beds divided by gravel paths, and is enclosed by a further clipped yew hedge with an alcove at the east side in which stands a wooden seat. Beyond the hedge, the Rose Garden is surrounded by mature trees including Atlantic blue cedars and Japanese maples.
From the north end of the Long Walk an informal lawn extends east and south-east, flanked by mature flowering trees and shrubs. Long views extend north from occasional gaps in the trees on the north boundary. This lawn terminates 250m north-east of the Court, at a grass terrace, Hascombe View, which extends from north to south at the edge of a sharp drop down the hillside. At the north end of the View stands a small timber barn (?C19). The View is flanked to west and east by low stone terrace walls, and terminated at the south end by a rondpoint. From the rondpoint a grass terrace, Brenda's Walk, curves south-west, back towards the east front of the Court. Brenda's Walk is cut into the hillside, which drops steeply southwards to the park and wood beyond, and is flanked by flowering trees and shrubs. To the north of Brenda's Walk lies the Wild Garden, an informal area planted with mature trees and shrubs set in lawn. The west end of this area, bounded by the Long Walk and the hard tennis court, is overlooked by a two-storey timber gazebo (1928?9, listed grade II), standing c 75m north-east of the Court. The lower storey is open, with a central staircase leading to the enclosed upper storey. From here long views extend east beyond the Wild Garden over Hascombe.
At the west end of Brenda's Walk steps lead up to the Formal Garden (1920s, listed grade II with the East Terrace), a broad stone terrace bounded to the east by a stone balustrade lying parallel to and below the east terrace and overlooked by the east front of the Court. Here borders flank stone paving which is inlaid with ornamental patterns of brickwork. The Formal Garden is terminated at the north end by a semicircular alcove backed by a clipped yew hedge with a semicircular brick and stone seat. From here the level of the Garden drops in shallow terraces via several flights of steps to the south end which is terminated by a further semicircular feature in similar style. The centre of the west side of the Formal Garden is ornamented by a circular pool with a semicircular arch above it inset into the terrace wall, flanked by stone seats and blind arcading. From the centre of the east side a flight of stone steps leads down through the balustrade from the Formal Garden to a further stone terrace, the Lavender Walk, giving access to the Rock Garden below.
Informal paths lead east down the hillside through the Rock Garden, which is laid out with a series of large boulders between which run informal paths. It is planted with several mature Japanese maples and other herbaceous and shrubby material, and leads down to a series of pools which terminate c 40m east of the Court. The Rock Garden is bounded to the east by a long timber summerhouse (early C20, listed grade II), standing c 50m east of the Court, open to the west so that it overlooks the pools on that side. A bog garden (overgrown) extends south from the lowest level of the Rock Garden.
South-east of the Court, the east-facing slope is occupied by an informal woodland garden lying to the east of the Colour Borders Lawn and south of the rock and bog gardens. This area is laid out in a series of descending sections divided up by grass paths, some of which are flanked by planting bays cut into the surrounding shrubs. An Azalea Walk runs almost parallel to, and below to the south of, the Colour Borders Lawn and South Lawn. This terminates at the south end with a specimen oak set in a circular lawn, from which the Bamboo Walk descends the hillside to the south-east. The Bamboo Walk, flanked by tall bamboos creating a tunnel effect, and formerly paved with stone steps (removed 1999), leads into the heart of the woodland garden. This area is planted with many mature trees and contains a large collection of hybrid and species rhododendrons and azaleas.
Gertrude Jekyll's work of 1922 appears largely to have taken the form of planting plans based around the 325m long, central axis extending from north to south through the centre of the Court. The two main elements of Jekyll's axial design comprised the long, double herbaceous border which runs north from the drive alongside the east wall of the kitchen garden, and the further double border, the Colour Borders, backed by flanking shrub borders, which formerly extended south from the South Lawn on the south front of the Court. The southern borders tapered gently towards each other and were terminated by a circular lily pool within a sunken garden (now gone), overlooking the fields and woodland to the south. On this project Miss Jekyll worked with the architect C Clare Nauheim who designed structural features including the L-shaped pergola standing to the west of the Court, the circular sunken garden, and the series of terraces extending down the hillside to the east of the Court.
In 1928 Sir John Jarvis employed Percy Cane to embellish Jekyll and Nauheim's scheme. Cane created further features and amended the earlier schemes. A plan by Cane (c 1928, private collection) shows his proposals for the garden, much as it remains now (2000).
The small park lies to the east of the garden, and is largely laid to pasture. It is edged to the west and north by the woodland garden and Brenda's Walk respectively, to the south by Mare Lane and Foxbury Copse, and to the east by agricultural land. By 1916 (OS) it had been laid out with scattered single trees and clumps.
The rectangular kitchen garden (J D Coleridge 1906-7, listed grade II) lies 50m north of the Court and is largely laid to lawn. It is bounded to the north by service buildings and on the other sides by stone walls. A central gateway in the south wall, flanked by stone piers and iron gates, gives access from the main drive to the south. At the centre of the east wall an elaborate stone gateway, with a brick and stone arch above and supporting iron gates, gives access from the north front of the Court via the Long Walk. Along the inner west side of the north wall stands a lean-to glasshouse (early C20, listed grade II with the kitchen garden walls), with to the east a late C20 stable block, the two ranges flanking a doorway giving access to the north. This doorway gives onto a further rectangular open area adjacent to the north, containing a further glasshouse (standing on the site of an early C20 glasshouse, OS 1920) and an orchard. Mature trees shelter the garden to the west.
Garden Design, 3 (1930), pp 103-13
Country Life, 33 (5 April 1913), pp 10-12; 92 (18 September 1942), pp 554-7; 101 (11 April 1947), pp 664-5
P Coats, Great Gardens of Britain (1967), pp 246-51
N Pevsner et al, The Buildings of England: Surrey (1971), p 304
R Webber, Percy Cane: Garden Designer (1975), pp 72-5
R Bisgrove, The Gardens of Gertrude Jekyll (1992), pp 89-90
P Cane, Hascombe Court, Godalming, nd (c 1928) (private collection)
OS 6" to 1 mile: 3rd edition published 1920
OS 25" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1897
3rd edition published 1912
3rd edition revised 1916
Copies of Jekyll's planting plans (File 27, Folder 170) are held on microfilm at the National Monuments Record (originals held at Reef Point, USA)
Sale particulars, 1921 (SP 7/6), (Surrey Local History Centre)
Description written: September 2000
Register Inspector: SR
Edited: April 2003