Gardens designed in the mid C19 by William Broderick Thomas and altered at the beginning of the C20 by Edward Boardman, set in a late C18/early C19 park.
An estate in Trowse Newton was purchased by the Money family towards the end of the C17. In 1772 it passed into the hands of John Money (later to become General Money), who in 1784 built himself a new house on the site which he called Crown Point, a name he chose following his involvement in the taking of Crown Point in America. He surrounded the new house with a small park, which is depicted on Faden's county map published in 1797, and extended it further to the south and west following the re-routing of the public road in 1806. The General also leased surrounding land from the Dean and Chapter of Norwich which included Trowse Newton Hall to the north of the park and Whitlingham White House to the east. By the time he died in 1817, a map published the same year (NRO) shows that his house was surrounded by a c 75 acre (c 31ha) park, a large lawn to the south, and a new walled kitchen garden linked by woodland walks to the house. Following a dispute, the estate was inherited by his illegitimate son, Colonel Archibald Money who planted Long Wood along the ridge north of Crown Point and extended the park as far as Trowse Newton Hall to the north and Whitlingham White House to the east. Colonel Money died in 1858 and the estate passed to a second illegitimate son, the Rev Frederick Money who in 1861 put it up for sale. It was purchased by Sir Robert Harvey who commissioned the architect H E Coe, a pupil of Sir George Gilbert Scott, to build a large Elizabethan-style mansion with an ornamental conservatory on a new site. At the same time he employed the garden designer William Broderick Thomas to furnish it with a suitable formal garden (Nierop-Reading nd). The building work was supervised by the local firm Edward Boardman and Son. Sir Robert extended the park by the closure of a public road to the south of the new house, using the road to create a new drive, while to the north he reduced Trowse Newton Hall to a picturesque ruin and planted a double lime avenue up to it. The expense of this work proved too great for Sir Robert who, following a run on his bank, committed suicide in 1870, before his new house and conservatory were complete. In 1872 the estate was purchased by a successful local businessman J J Colman. It passed to Russell James Colman in 1901 who re-employed Boardman and Son to enlarge the house and bring the gardens up to date. The estate stayed within the Colman family although in 1955 they sold the house and its grounds which became the Whitlingham Hospital. During the 1980s the Norwich southern bypass was built, cutting off a section of park, the walled garden, south drive and lodge from the main body of the park. In the 1990s the hospital was closed and in 1999 was purchased by property developers. It is currently (2000) undergoing conversion into private apartments. The site remains in divided ownership.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Crown Point lies on the south-east edge of the city of Norwich, to the east of the village of Trowse Newton. The site here registered covers an area of c 174ha, bounded to the south-west by Kirby Road, to the north-east and north by Whitlingham Lane, and to the east by farmland. The A47 southern bypass runs south of the mansion, isolating the southern corner of the park. Crown Point sits on high ground, the generally level park falling away to the north and north-east towards the valley of the River Yare (outside the registered boundary).
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
The main entrance to the site is via Kirby Road, along a late C20 track which crosses the A47, runs through an area of woodland known as The Dell and then swings north and east to arrive at the entrance court on the north front through red-brick gate piers surmounted by stone ball finials. The original C19 main entrance stands c 100m further to the east along Kirby Road. North Lodge stands beside red-brick gate piers, flanked by knapped flint and brick walls and hung with ornamental wrought-iron gates, while South Lodge lies a further c 220m to the south. The drive runs north through ornamental woodland and then turns north-west towards the house where it originally arrived at the north front. This drive is no longer in use, having been cut off from the house by the A47 southern bypass. Two minor drives enter the park off Whitlingham Lane, one at the north-east end, leading west up into the park and the other along the trackway between the lime avenue from the ruins of Trowse Newton Hall. Both are now (2000) tracks.
The present Crown Point (listed grade II*) is a large country mansion built of red brick and tile with stone mullioned windows, decorated with stone bands in the Elizabethan style. It was built during the 1860s to replace an earlier Crown Point House, on a different site. The three-storey entrance front to the north has gabled bays and a central porch, while the south, garden front has a complex bay system with a central Tuscan stone porch and balustraded parapet. The house was designed for Sir Robert Harvey by H E Coe and was completed for J J and R J Colman by the local firm Edward Boardman and Son who had supervised Coe's building. At the east end of the garden front is the conservatory (listed grade II*), an elaborate cast-iron and glass construction built to a symmetrical apsidal plan with aisles and decorated with scroll work, friezes, and grilles. It was probably designed by Coe, with iron work by Butterly and Co (Whitlingham Conservatory Repair Fund notes). The stable block lies to the east of the house and is contemporary with it, the service buildings between the two having been added by Boardman and Son at the beginning of the C20. During the late C20 a new single-storey hospital block was added to the north side of the mansion.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
The gardens and pleasure grounds lie predominantly to the south and east of the mansion and are divided into a series of compartments by blocks of planting and yew hedges. Below the west front is a formal lawn, bordered by gravel paths and a balustraded wall with bastions overlooking the west park. Steps from the south front lead down to a gravel path which runs around the perimeter of another balustraded garden area, in the centre of which is a large sunken garden filled with clipped yew topiary and rose beds. Steps on the north and south side of the sunk garden are aligned on the house steps to the north and on an avenue of horse chestnut trees which runs through the wooded pleasure ground beyond the balustrade to the south. At the eastn end of the garden front the conservatory and billiard room look onto a small square lawn, beyond which to the east is a small formal azalea garden. To the south of this compartment is a large concrete-lined ornamental pool with central fountain, built as a reservoir for the fire-fighting system at the beginning of the C20. Surrounding the pool and beyond it to the south lies the heavily wooded, ornamental but overgrown (2000) pleasure ground in which William Broderick Thomas is thought to have constructed a rock garden, part of which survives (B Nierop-Reading pers comm, 2000). Between the pool compartment and the azalea garden a gravel path known as the Cherry Walk continues the line of the house terrace to the east and terminates in a further small garden compartment, known as the Racquet Court Garden but currently (2000) laid to grass, on the south side of the racquet court. A pebble-dash pergola planted with wisteria runs along the west side of the racquet court, overlooking steps which lead down into the azalea garden, the paths of which emerge back on the lawn beside the conservatory and billiard room.
The layout of the structure of these gardens dates from 1868 when William Broderick Thomas, who was working at Sandringham (qv) at about the same time, produced plans for Sir Robert Harvey. He laid out the main balustraded garden terrace, the sunken garden, and the Cherry Walk and developed much of the wooded pleasure ground. His designs were brought up to date in 1902 by Edward Boardman and Son who replaced the carpet bedding in the sunk garden with yew topiary, planted a thorn walk beside it and completed the enclosure of this area by adding a further balustraded wall on the east side. The pool was built in Thomas' croquet lawn compartment, and the formal parterre below the stable block was replaced by the azalea garden.
The park at Crown Point surrounds the mansion on all sides, although the bulk of it lies to the north. A ridge, planted with trees in the early C19, runs north-east/south-west across the park c 500m to the north of the house, beyond which the land falls away to the north towards the valley of the River Yare. The western section of this land beyond the ridge remains under pasture and is scattered with mature park trees while the eastern section has been excavated for gravel extraction behind a large earth bund erected to screen the workings. These two areas are divided by a lime avenue planted in the mid C19 to form a walk running north-north-west from the ridge to the ruins of Trowse Newton Hall on the northern boundary. The area between the ridge and the mansion, and that to the west have been returned to arable production and a dry ski slope has been erected in the western corner of the park. Although this has led to the removal of individual park trees, perimeter plantations and blocks of woodland survive. The park at Crown Point existed by the end of the C18 when Henry Money built his new mansion and was enlarged twice during the C19 to reach its full extent by the 1880s, by which time it surrounded the new Crown Point house built by Sir Robert Harvey. The boundary of this late C19 park is still (2000) evident.
The walled kitchen garden and gardeners' cottages lie c 200m to the south-east of the mansion, separated from it by the late C20 A47 southern bypass. The cottages are now (2000) private dwellings and the walled kitchen garden used as their private gardens. None of the ranges by William Goldring survive. The cottages and the kitchen garden were built during the first years of the C20, presumably by E T Boardman as part of the updating of the grounds for R J Colman.
A Taigel, Report on history of Crown Point Estate, Norwich, (report for Norfolk Gardens Trust, nd)
Report on proposed re-routing of Whitlingham Lane, (Historic Gardens Consultancy 1991)
Historic appraisal of the grounds of Whitlingham Hospital (Historic Gardens Consultancy 1993)
Historical notes on the conservatory, (Whitlingham Conservatory Repair Fund, nd)
B Nierop-Reading, A guide to the plants and the history of the gardens of Crown Point (leaflet, nd) [copy on EH file]
W Faden, A new topographical map of the county of Norfolk, 1797 (Norfolk Record Office)
Survey of Trowse Newton, 1813(17 (Norfolk Record Office)
A Bryant, Map of the county of Norfolk, 1826 (Norfolk Record Office)
OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1882
OS 25" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1982
2nd edition published 1914
3rd edition published 1924
There are several plans of Crown Point in Norfolk Record Office, including William Broderick Thomas' Plan of the grounds of Crown Point, 1869; and an unattributed plan of the gardens, orchard, and pleasure ground, 1900.
Description written: August 2000
Amended: December 2000
Register Inspector: EMP
Edited: February 2001