Bourne Hill House Gardens


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.

Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SU 14787 30390


An C18 town garden improved by Richard Woods in the early 1770s, laid out on the site of an early C18 formal garden associated with St Edmund's College, first founded in the C13, incorporating the earthwork remains of Salisbury's former city ramparts as a garden feature.

HISTORIC DEVELOPMENT Bourne Hill House in Salisbury was built on the site of the former St Edmund's College, founded in 1269, and its garden incorporates the earthwork remains of part of Salisbury's City Ramparts constructed in 1300-1440 (Scheduled Monument W1736). In 1544, the College, its garden and the adjacent St Edmund's Church (which then formed part of the College), were dissolved and resigned to the Crown, and subsequently, in 1547, they were granted to William St Barbe, a Gentleman of the King's Privy Chamber. The College then went through a series of different owners until 1576 when it was sold separately from St Edmund's Church, to Sir Giles Estcourt, whose family owned the site until 1660.

By 1611 the former College had a formal garden, orchards and two ditches planted with Elms and other trees. In 1660 the former St Edmund's College was bought by Sir Wadham Wyndham. He converted the College for residential use and in 1661 he built a mud wall along the east side of the College gardens, enclosing the remains of the city ramparts. After his death in 1668 he passed his estate to his son Wadham Wyndham.

In the early-C18 the former College, by then known as Wyndham House, was considerably altered and a wall was built to its west separating it from St Edmund's Church (Naish's Map, 1716). A view of 1734 shows Wyndham House with a formal compartmentalised garden with topiary to its east. After Wadham Wyndham II's death in 1736, his son Henry inherited the estate. In 1788 the estate passed to Henry's son, Henry Penruddocke Wyndham, Mayor of Salisbury from 1771, Sheriff from 1772, and City MP from 1796 to 1812. In 1788-1790 he carried out significant changes to Wyndham House to designs by the architect Samuel Pepys Cockerell, and created a park of over 44 acres. For the improvements to the garden Penruddocke Wyndham had commissioned the landscape gardener Richard Woods (1715/16-1793) who prepared a plan in circa 1771/2. Woods was paid for advice by Wyndham in 1778. The proposal as indicated on his detailed plan included the creation of a drawing room with an extra bay window 'to make the garden front', and to remove The Brew House north of the house. The plan shows an almost rectangular shaped garden, with tree belts along its boundary, and with a walled garden north of the house. An oval shaped lawn east of the house is surrounded by four formally planted narrow beds, and a walk. This walk links up with a walk leading northwards around the rampart, which is planted with irregular shaped clumps of trees and has a small summer house or gazebo. Various garden benches are marked, also on the ramparts, which would offer extensive views. Some 'pedestals and figures' are shown which Woods proposed to be removed.

Henry Penruddocke Wyndham died in 1819, leaving his estate to his son Wadham Wyndham III who extended the garden eastwards. After his death in 1843 the estate passed through various family members until 1869, when it reverted to the trustees of the will of Wadham Wyndham III who put the property up for auction. In 1871 the majority of Wyndham Park was sold to Robert Futcher, a local builder, who in the 1870s and 1880s built it over with housing. In 1873, Wyndham House, including the walled kitchen garden, the garden with the earthwork remains of the ramparts, and Green Croft to the south of the site (not included in the area registered here), were purchased by Reverend George Hugh Bourne. The plan accompanying the sales particulars of 1873 indicate that by that time the garden had been slightly extended to the north, east and west. Two years later, in order to save it from residential development, Bourne also acquired the small part of the garden north of the house (currently the site of the C20 swimming pool building). Bourne used Wyndham House as a college until 1885 and added the Victorian style north wing. Subsequently he used it as his own private residence and had introduced some new features in the garden including an aviary.

During the First World War, the college was used for quartering officers. Bourne, well known locally for his charitable nature, opened the garden on 26 July 1919 for a Peace Tea held for the Infant School children of Salisbury. In 1926, a year after Bourne's death, his property was sold to St Edmund's Private Hospital Ltd and subsequently mortgaged to the Salisbury Diocesan Board of Finance. In 1927 the Salisbury Corporation purchased the college and grounds for use as council offices known as Bourne Hill House. In that same year the grounds were opened to the public to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the granting of the first charter to the City. Bourne Hill House has remained in the ownership of the local authority.


LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING The site, covering an area of circa 2.06 ha, is situated in the centre of Salisbury, and is bounded by C18 brick walls (with later repairs), except to its north where it is lined by a C20 park fence. Its landform has dramatic changes in levels determined by the earthwork remains of the City's medieval ramparts (a Scheduled Monument) which are situated within the site. Its setting is characterised to the north by a playing field with further medieval earthwork remains, and a swimming pool building (built in 1976, now closed and vacant). To its west lies St Edmund's Church (listed Grade II*) and churchyard, to its south lies Green Croft, a triangular shaped public green with late C20 playground equipment. Green Croft has at least since the early C18 (see Naish's Map of Salisbury, 1716) and was used by Salisbury cloth-makers to lay out their finished cloths to be stretched and dried. To its east the site is bounded by late C19 terraced housing.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES The main entrance to the site lies along Bourne Hill, via a square shaped forecourt south of the House enclosed by C18 walls (listed Grade II). An C18 classical style arched gateway in its south-west corner (listed Grade II) carries a memorial tablet of 1927 inscribed as follows: 'Within these grounds stood the College of St Edmund 1268-1546. This house was built in the early C18 by the Wyndham family. The house and grounds were purchased by the Corporation of the City of New Sarum in 1927 to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the granting of the 1st charter to the City and are thus preserved for the benefit and use of the Citizens'. The site can also be entered (on foot) further east along Bourne Hill, and via a tarmac drive entering the site from the north, leading along the east side of the House.

PRINCIPAL BUILDING Bourne Hill House (listed Grade II*), is the main focal point for the garden and occupies the south-west corner of the site. The present house, built in red brick on a stone plinth, was built in circa 1670, and was altered in the early C18. Its south front has seven bays and decorative classical style architectural detailing. Its east garden front, altered in 1788 to proposals by Samuel Pepys Cockerell, has two full height canted bays, with windows overlooking the garden, one of which was probably added following Richard Woods proposal as indicated on his plan of circa 1778 (it is not shown on any of Cockerell's plans). This elevation was formerly extended to the north by a late C19 two-storey wing built in red brick, added when the House became a school once again, and recently demolished (2007).

GARDEN AND PLEASURE GROUND The garden is laid out to the east of the House where a large lawn is bounded to the north and south by the earthwork remains of the former city ramparts, with the land to its east gently rising. The lawn stretches out further along the east side of the northern rampart. The top of the rampart offers extensive views back over the house, across the City and the cathedral and over the countryside beyond to the east, and probably contains the site of a former seat and a summer house, as indicated on Woods late C18 plan. In the north slope of the northern rampart are the remains of a former ice house (late C18). A gravelled footpath with large flint edges, originating from the late C18, can be followed for circa 25m leading around the oval lawn. On a higher level, another path, covered in tarmac, leads around the garden closely following the line of its boundary. This path passes a series of features including a sundial (now brought into storage for safety) given to Mr Wadham Wyndham in 1722 by the Earl of Pembroke standing circa 10m east of the House. Formerly the sundial stood in the walled garden to the north of the house, and was placed in its current position in 1926. Also recently brought into storage are two cast iron C19 urns which flanked the canted bays on the east front of the house, introduced in 1927 as a gift from Ushers Breweries to the City of Salisbury. In the far south-east corner of the garden the path leads under a C15 porch or pavilion taken from Salisbury Cathedral and further embellished and re-erected in the garden by Henry Penruddocke Wyndham in 1791. In the north-east corner of the garden the path leads past a stone memorial urn dated 1774 with an inscription commemorating the discovery of Anglo Saxon remains on the site. From here the path turns west and links up with a drive that runs from the northern boundary of the site along the east front of the House and its C19 extension. The planting of the garden is characterised by a belt of trees along its outer boundary, including some mature yews, and a mature Cedar of Lebanon on the lawn immediately east of the house (the latter is shown on a view of 1871).

PARK The park, first laid out in the later C18 to the north and east of the garden, was sold off and built over in the late-C19. The playing field to the north of the site (not included in the Register entry) is the only remaining part.

KITCHEN GARDEN The rectangular walled garden north of the House originates from the early-C18 or possibly earlier. Its circa 2m high walls are built of brick and flint with stone coping and date from the C18 and C19. The western wall contains recesses for bee boles. The southern part of the walled garden is dominated by the late-C19 north-wing of the House and by a (temporary) T-shaped late C20 pre-fabricated office building. The northern part has a central pond (C20) with brick lean-to (potting) sheds along its far north wall. In 1996 this garden was named the Secret Garden, dedicated to those Salisbury District Councillors who died whilst in office. The historic development of the walled garden is well recorded: it is first shown on Naish's map of Salisbury of 1716, and subsequently on Wood's proposal plan of the early 1770s. Detailed plans are also shown on Kingdon and Shearn's surveys of 1854 and on the first edition Ordnance Survey maps of 1881.

REFERENCES F Cowell, 'Richard Woods (1715/16-1793): Surveyor, improver and master of the pleasure garden', PhD thesis UEA, 2005 Salisbury District Council, 'Salisbury Council House Conservation Plan', 2005

MAPS Richard Woods, A Design for the improvements of the Garden of Pen: Wyndham Esqr. Of Salisbury, Wiltshire, c1771/2 John Speed, Plan of Salisbury, c1600 William Naish, Map of Salisbury, 1716 Andrew's and Dury, Map of Wiltshire, 1773 James Easton, Plan of Salisbury, 1820 George Oakley Lucas, Plan of Salisbury, 1833 Kingdon and Shearn, two plans as part of the Salisbury Sewerage surveys, 1854 OS 25" to 1 mile: 1st edn 1881 2nd edn 1901 3rd edn 1925 4th edn 1936

ILLUSTRATIONS View of the south front and enclosed forecourt of St Edmund's College, Salisbury, 1670 View of the south front and enclosed fore court of St Edmund's College, Salisbury, 1690 View of the east front and formal gardens of St Edmund's College, 1734 View of Wyndham House through the porch in the garden, undated View of "The College" Mansion, Salisbury, Sales Particulars 1871

Description written: 2007 Heritage Protection Adviser: FDM


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.

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