Heritage Category:
Park and Garden
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Greater London Authority
Richmond upon Thames (London Borough)
Non Civil Parish
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
TQ 18063 73945, TQ 18144 74108


Terrace Gardens and Buccleuch Gardens (collectively known as Terrace and Buccleuch Gardens) is a public park and made up of the grounds of three C18 and C19 estates. The grounds of Buccleuch House and Landsdowne House were initially consolidated by the Duke of Buccleuch in the 1860s and became a public park in 1887. The grounds of neighbouring Cardigan House were added in the 1920s. None of these houses is still standing but the C19 layout of their gardens is still very much in evidence.


During the medieval period the area of what is now the Terrace and Buccleuch Gardens was common land within the Royal manor. It was defined by what was later known as Upper Road (now Richmond Hill) and Lower Road (now Petersham Road). This part of Richmond Hill, which was known as Hill Common, has commanding views over the Thames and as early as the mid C17, a seat was placed on the Richmond Terrace Walk to enjoy the view. The scene is illustrated by both Tillemans and Knyff in the early C18, and the view from the Terrace overlooking the curve of the Thames was also depicted by Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) and JMW Turner (1775-1851).

From the early C17, brickworks, known as the Tile Kilns, and a wharf, together with workers' houses, occupied parts of the riverside, and clay digging occurred along the lower slopes of Richmond Hill. During the period 1765-1771 parcels of land in this area were acquired for George Brudenell, the Earl of Cardigan and Duke of Montagu. The land purchased consisted of a parcel on the riverside west of the Lower Road (now Buccleuch Gardens) and included the Tile Kilns and the wharf, as well as adjacent plots to the east of Lower Road.

An existing house on the slope of the hill was converted into a summerhouse (since the late C19 the site of the tea house). A new summerhouse, probably on the same site, was designed by the Adam brothers, incorporating antique capitals.

In the mid C18, Montagu House, later known as Buccleuch House, was built on Lower Road and in 1769 the Duke of Montagu was granted ground by the Vestry of Richmond. The area was useless as common pasture because the steep gradient made it too dangerous for grazing cattle. This part of Richmond Hill had by then been seriously undermined by clay extraction and continual landslips were endangering the Upper Road (Richmond Hill) and the adjacent buildings. Little is recorded of the Duke's activities in laying out the gardens, but in 1769, Lady Mary Coke mentioned after a visit, that 'the garden they are making upon the Hill will be very pretty but is extremely expensive, as all the grounds is supported by timber, and two different sorts of soil are brought to lay over the natural one which is clay' (Blest Retreats).

Horace Walpole said of a visit in 1790 that '[the garden] is perfectly screened from human eyes, tho' in the bosom of so populous a village: and you climb til at last, treading the houses under feet, you recover the Thames and all the world at a little distance. I am amazed that it is not more talked of'. In 1796 the house and gardens were described by Daniel Lysons: 'At the foot of the hill the Duke of Buccleuch has a villa ... It is situated on the banks of the Thames. From the lawn there is a subterraneous communication with the gardens and shrubberies on the opposite site of the road, which extends almost to the summit of the hill. They are laid out with taste and have local advantages to most places of the kind in the kingdom'.

Walter Francis Scott (1806-84), the fifth Duke of Buccleuch and seventh Duke of Queensbury, took over Buccleuch House in 1827. He moved the former alehouse of the brick workers, the Three Pigeons Inn, to its current location on the riverside at 87 Petersham Road and undertook some alterations to the office buildings on the east side of Lower Road. Illustrations of 1822 and 1844 show the riverside part of the estate with grass and trees and a more densely wooded area behind. Newspaper articles in 1887 describe the garden to the east of Lower Road as 'magnificently wooded' and 'charming in its leafy retirement' which suggests that the screened character of the estate, first described by Horace Walpole, had survived.

Landsdowne House, set on the slope of Richmond Hill above Buccleuch House, had been owned since the 1770 by Charles William Molyneux, Duke of Molyneux and Earl of Sefton, who was succeeded by George Townshend, Earl of Leicester and second Marquis of Townshend in the 1790s. After Townshend's death in 1811 Lansdowne House was occupied by the Marquis of Wellesley, and in 1830 by Henry Petty, Earl of Lansdowne. In 1863, the fifth Duke of Buccleuch acquired Lansdowne House and estate, which sat to the east of his existing grounds, eventually demolishing the house and incorporating the gardens into his own. The Duke was noted for his lavish fêtes, and entertained many eminent guests including William IV and Queen Adelaide in 1833, Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, King Leopold of Belgium, the Duke of Wellington and Lord Melbourne in 1842 and even the Sultan of Turkey in 1867. When he died in 1884 he was by far the wealthiest man in England. He was succeeded by his eldest son William, who sold the Richmond estate for £30,000 in 1886.

The Vestry of Richmond, concerned that the Buccleuch estate might be developed with housing, which would destroy the view from Terrace Walk (which was subsequently and unusually protected by an Act of Parliament in 1902), bought the properties and immediately sold the buildings, namely the Three Pigeons Inn, Buccleuch House, and the stables. In May 1887, following some repair work, the remaining gardens were opened to the public as the Terrace Gardens. The Duke of Buccleuch had been President of the Royal Horticultural Society from 1861 to 1872 and Richmond Vestry, noting that '[the gardens] had been laid out not many years ago by the Duke of Buccleuch', decided 'to keep the gardens practically as they were - there was no need to gild the lily'.

Following landslides after heavy rains in the 1920s and 1930s, the drainage system on the Hill was modernised and the damaged paths and steps were repaired. In 1937 Richmond Borough Council (the successors to the Vestry) bought back Buccleuch House; this was later demolished and the riverside garden and promenade were opened to the public.

To the north of Terrace Gardens lay the site of the Richmond Wells, a place of entertainment from 1690 to 1750. In 1755, the buildings were demolished and replaced by Cardigan House as a residence for the sixth Earl of Cardigan. When the eighth Earl of Cardigan died in 1837 the estate was sold. Richmond Council purchased the estate in 1926 and extended Terrace Gardens to the north by cutting a doorway through the old boundary wall of the Cardigan House estate. A 'Woodland Garden' was laid out and in the 1960s further ornamental trees and rhododendrons were planted from famous collections at Exbury (qv) and Ascott, Bucks (qv). Cardigan house continued to belong to the British Legion Poppy Factory Ltd, and was used as the Legion's clubhouse until 1970 when the building was demolished and the remaining estate developed as apartments. Outside the Registered area, Bromwich Drive follows the route of the original drive to Cardigan House, now the site of the C20 Bromwich House residential block.

Terrace and Buccleuch Gardens remains (2010) a public open space managed by the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames, in conjunction with Richmond Terrace Walk (qv), including Terrace Field.



Terrace and Buccleuch Gardens are situated on the east bank of the River Thames, c 700m upstream from Richmond Bridge. The c 5ha site is divided by Petersham Road into two parts: Buccleuch Gardens, the triangular riverside plain west of the public road; and the hillside east of it, known as the Terrace Gardens, which occupy an irregular, elongated site running approximately north-south, rising steeply from the river.

Buccleuch Gardens is bounded to the north by the former Three Pigeons Inn, (87 Petersham Road) to the west by the banks of the River Thames, to the south by an iron fence on a bank dividing the land from Petersham Meadow, and to the east by a brick wall alongside Petersham Road.

Terrace Gardens are bounded to the west by a wall surmounted by railings alongside Petersham Road and by Langham Lodge (144-146 Petersham Road), and to the south and east by Terrace Field. The northern boundary is composed of plain spiked C20 iron railings backed up by shrubs. To the east, the boundary of the Gardens is defined by the brick retaining wall which separates the Gardens from the pavement on Richmond Hill. The wall between Cardigan Gate and Friars Stile Gate is C20; the stretch to the south of this to the boundary with Terrace Walk (qv) is comprised of C18 and C19 walls which formed part of the boundaries of Landsdowne House and its estate.

The tree-lined Richmond Terrace Walk (qv), which lies outside this registered landscape, runs from the south-east corner of this site, extending south-east along the ridge of Richmond Hill. The Terrace Walk, although laid out in the C17, did not form part of the design of the estate gardens which comprise Terrace and Buccleuch Gardens and is managed as a separate entity by Richmond Borough Council.

Some sections of the C19 brick walls which divided the former private estates remain: one on the east part of the boundary with Terrace Field, a second on the former boundary of Lansdowne House with Cardigan House.

The setting to the north, west, and east is composed of suburban areas of Richmond and Twickenham, and in particular, distinguished C18 and early C19 houses overlooking Richmond Hill and approaching Richmond Park (Grade I). Terrace Gardens lie alongside, and frame the view from Richmond Hill, designated as Richmond Terrace Walk, (Grade II*) which is, significantly, protected by Act of Parliament (1902), which was an important landmark in the history of the conservation of landscapes and of the amenity movement. To the south the open spaces of Terrace Field, Petersham Meadows and Ham Common lead to Ham House (qv); to the south-west, across the River Thames lie Marble Hill (qv), Orleans House gardens, and York House (qv), and to the south-east, beyond Petersham Common, lies Richmond Park (qv). The history and context of Terrace and Buccleugh Gardens add to its group value as one of the interlocking landscapes flanking the River Thames between Kew and Hampton Court.


Terrace Gardens is approached from the east off Richmond Hill through four gates through the boundary wall leading into the terrace at the summit of the gardens. From north to south, these have been named by Richmond Borough Council as follows: Cardigan Gate - the C20 entrance at the north-east corner of the park on Richmond Hill; Friars Stile Gate; Landsdowne Gate - a flight of steps opposite the end of Friars Stile Road in the position of the historic entrance to Landsdowne House; Terrace Gate - a flight of steps adjacent to the Park Keeper's Hut (qv) leading up to Richmond Terrace Walk (qv).

Continuing clockwise around the perimeter of the Gardens, three further gates lead on to Terrace Field at the south, one in the centre of the south-east boundary (late C19 iron gate within an arch in the brick wall), called Field Gate. Grove Gate, a new gate (2009) through fencing which cuts through the former grounds of Buccleuch House along the top of a steep east-west scarp in the grounds. This gate and fence do not define the boundaries of the registered landscape, which includes the former wilderness garden to the south. The south-west corner of Terrace Gardens (where the wilderness garden is located) is reached from the entrance onto Terrace Field (qv) from Petersham Road. At the north-west corner of the gardens is a late C18 or early C19 pair of brick gate piers with ball finials, called Three Pigeons Gate, which leads onto Petersham Road opposite the former Three Pigeons Inn.

Buccleuch Gardens and Terrace Gardens are connected by a flint-lined, barrel-vaulted tunnel under Petersham Road (qv) (probably C18, remodelled C19, listed Grade II), now known as Grotto Gate. Approaching from the Terrace side, there are two symmetrical, semi-circular flights of steps leading down to the mouth of the tunnel. These are framed by C20 steel or wrought iron gates and fencing. On the Buccleuch Gardens side, the tunnel opens out to three bays with rusticated arches, which are lined with coloured stones (flint and slag). Set into the back wall of the two external arches are two pieces of antiquarian sculpture. The keystones in the arches appear to be reused gargoyles (scuppers), perhaps reused from earlier structures on the site.

A private, gated tunnel under the Petersham Road connects Langham Lodge to Buccleuch Gardens remains from when Langham Lodge and Buccleuch House were one property, separated by the road.

Buccleuch Gardens are approached from the north and south by the Thames Path. Access from Petersham Road has been opened up at the north-east corner of the Gardens, next to the former Three Pigeons Inn, on the site of a former slipway to the Thames. There are two further entrances onto Petersham Road at the south-east corner of the Gardens.


The C19 path system in Terrace Gardens still reflects the historic garden layout and the boundaries of the three estates which make up the site. The slopes of Terrace Gardens are provided with a network of sinuous paths that run approximately parallel to the contours of the hillside, connected by stairways. According to historic maps, the layout of the paths is largely unchanged since at least the early C19, parts of Buccleuch House estate may be earlier. Low brick retaining walls (late C19 to early C20) line the uphill sides of the paths. The paths themselves, which have been refurbished, 2009-10, are covered with asphalt, gravel or concrete with some crazy-paving. Mature trees survive across the park, while specimen trees were also planted during the later C19 and C20. The steep slopes and the perimeter of Terrace Gardens are densely planted with trees and shrubs, lending the gardens a secluded character, and the lawns are planted with scattered mature trees and beds.

Cardigan House Grounds: In the former grounds of Cardigan House, now the northernmost part of Terrace Gardens, stands a C19 brick-built icehouse, cut into the hillside and redesigned in the later C19 as an ornamental garden feature, decorated with seashells and what appears to be slag. This structure may predate Cardigan House and date from the period of Richmond Wells (1696-1763), but it is not possible to say with certainty as it has been so altered.

A rebuilt C21 wooden shelter with a wood-tiled roof is situated to the west of the eastern perimeter path on the former boundary between Cardigan House and Lansdowne House. Located on the site of previous rustic, thatched garden shelters, it looks out over internal vistas of the park, looking south. A rock garden laid out in 1928 surrounds the shelter. It overlooks a small rosary, set on gently falling ground. At the upper end of the rosary stands a much-restored sundial, a remnant of the old Buccleuch estate garden ornaments. In the centre of the rosary stands a stone well-head found in the grounds, now used as a planter.

A few metres to the south of the icehouse is a carved Fishmarker Stone set on a stone plinth. Moved here from its original location on the river, this stone was historically used as a fare stage for navigators on the Thames informing them of the distance to Westminster Bridge from Richmond (14¾ miles).

Landsdowne House Grounds: A late C19 terrace, reworked in the early to mid-C20 and recently restored, and laid out on the site of the former Lansdowne House, overlooks the gardens at the head of the site. On the upper platform of this terrace is a round pond with a Portland stone statue of Aphrodite (also known locally as 'Bulbous Betty'). This statue, carved and presented to Richmond Council by A Howes in 1952, replaced a late C19 cast-iron fountain. To the east, this upper terrace is bounded by an early C19 brick wall with a five-bay arcade. A drinking fountain of 1887 is set into the middle bay. The terrace and walk above it are enclosed by brick balustrades with reconstituted stone rails. On either side of this terrace are sloping paths leading up to the upper walkway, which is backed by a brick retaining wall of C18 and C19 date. This in turn leads to the northern end of Terrace Walk, reached by stone steps, adjacent to which is a small green-painted kiosk known as the Park Keeper's Hut (c 1900, listed Grade II). A disused two-storey brick toilet block (c 1930) is situated at the south-east corner of Terrace Gardens.

Buccleuch House Grounds: Historically, the grounds of Buccleuch house gardens extended on both sides of Petersham Road.

On the eastern side of Petersham Road, behind Langham Lodge and the former stables and service yard to Buccleuch House, is 'the wilderness' garden - a series of sinuous paths and steps, lined in brick and stone, some possible fabricated stone, and running through a densely shrubbed and wooded area down the slope from the southernmost end of the Terrace Gardens. The plan of these paths, which survives today, can be clearly seen on maps of the Buccleuch estate from at least 1868 and may predate this, and relate to Montagu House.

A thatched tea house is situated in the centre of Terrace Gardens on the site of the Duke of Montagu's summerhouse. The existing building which dates to the late C19, gives onto a terrace protected by an early-C20 wooden roof. The terrace provides views over the Thames and from here a lawn sweeps down the slope to Grotto Gate and the perimeter path of the gardens. Set on the slope to the west of the tea house and surrounded by a protective hedge stands a Coade stone figure of Father Thames (John Bacon 1775, listed Grade II), facing the lawn below. The statue is thought to be a survivor from the statuary of the Montagu pleasure grounds and was moved here from its former location some metres to the south-east after major restoration works in the 1990s.

At the north-west corner of this part of the gardens, not far from Three Pigeons Gate, is a conservatory with a small service yard behind. The present conservatory replaces a series of C19 and C20 conservatories on the same site and marked on historic maps. In the back wall of the conservatory sits a carved stone relief of Adam and Eve at the Apple tree with the snake. This is said to be a remnant from the Landsdowne estate.

Buccleuch Gardens Grounds: Buccleuch Gardens, on the western side of Petersham Road on the banks of the Thames, consist of a lawn which is bordered to the east by a single path which forms part of the Thames Path. The sudden change of slope running north-south along the riverbank in the Gardens marks the flood line of the Thames. The Gardens feature a number of mature plane trees and are screened from Petersham Road by shrubberies alongside the dividing brick wall. On that boundary, opposite Langham Lodge, is a brick shelter (c 1930s) built on the site of Buccleuch House, which was demolished in the 1930s. To the south, surviving arcades from the house are used for storage and a private tunnel leads under the road to Langham Lodge. At the entrance stands a late C20 drinking fountain. A fenced-off area on the southern boundary divides the Gardens from Petersham Meadow.

The public highway, Petersham Road, is excluded from the registered park and garden.

Views: The views within the Terrace Gardens are many and varied, and several are remarkably similar to those described in 1887. They are predominantly internal views, with the panoramic vistas over the Thames being reserved only for the uppermost parts of the gardens. From the uppermost terrace along the top of Richmond Hill, above the former site of Landsdowne House, there are panoramic views downhill across the curve of the Thames to Marble Hill and Twickenham and Surrey in the distance. Further north along this terrace, near Friar's Stile Gate, there is a view of the River Thames, framed by mature trees. The river can be glimpsed through trees from the terrace above the rock garden, but historically this view was an internal vista, framed by mature vegetation. Further vistas within the grounds can be found from the steps to Grotto Gate looking up through the gardens towards the top of Richmond Hill, from across the lawn looking north towards the Conservatory and from the lawn north of the tea house looking up towards the wooden shelter. In Buccleuch Gardens, there are good vistas both up and down river, framed by specimen trees.


Daniel Lysons, Environs of London,1796 Thames Valley Times, Terrace Gardens Number, Part 2, 1 June 1887 Richmond and Twickenham Times, 28 March 1959; 12 May 1962 Blest Retreats, A history of private gardens in Richmond upon Thames, Richmond upon Thames Library and Information Services,1984 Terrace Gardens Centenary, Souvenir Brochure,1987 London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Terrace Gardens and Buccleuch Gardens Management Plan, 2009-2014 Thames Landscape Strategy www.thames-landscape-strategy.org.uk (accessed 5 Nov 2010)

McEwen, R, Princes, Prime Ministers and Pre-Raphaelites, Terrace Gardens and the Duke of Buccleuch (2010)

Maps: John Roque, Map of Twenty Miles Around London, surveyed 1741-5, published 1746

OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1863-6, published 1869 2nd edition published 1897 1933 edition

Illustrations: L Knyff, A View from Richmond Terrace, c1720 Peter Tillemans, View from Richmond House, c1730 (private collection) Richmond, From the Duchess of Buccleuch's Garden, Rodwell & Martin, 1822 The Duke of Buccleuch's Villa, Richmond, (Engraving for Brayley's History of Surrey 1844)

Archival items: Minutes of Council meeting, 12 March 1926, Richmond upon Thames Library and Information Services

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION Terrace and Buccleuch Gardens are designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Historic plan: the late C18 and early C19 design and plan of the gardens, both in separate and then joint ownership is still clearly visible in the layout of the grounds - in particular the path system and location of borders and mature trees. * Planting: the gardens were purposely designed to be secluded and enclosed, a historic characteristic which dates from the C18 and indicated by surviving specimen trees and shrubs; * Historic interest: association with significant historical and political figures of C18 and C19, notably the Duke of Buccleuch; acquisition by Richmond Vestry and context of the Act of Parliament (1902), an important landmark in the history of the conservation of landscapes and of the amenity movement. * Setting: the gardens frame the important historic view from Richmond Hill (Richmond Terrace Walk, registered Grade II*) which was protected by Act of Parliament (1902); views within the gardens and across the grounds, with outward views to the River Thames and Surrey from the top of the Gardens; group value as one of the interlocking landscapes along the River Thames between Kew and Hampton Court.

Description written: March 2000; amended August 2001, SR; Amended Nov 2010, PT Register Inspector: CV Amended: November 2010


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

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