Bradgate: house, chapel, garden and watermill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008831

Date first listed: 26-Jun-1924

Date of most recent amendment: 15-Aug-1994


Ordnance survey map of Bradgate: house, chapel, garden and watermill
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Leicestershire

District: Charnwood (District Authority)

Parish: Newtown Linford

National Grid Reference: SK 53462 10193


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

During the medieval period, and on into the post medieval period, a class of high status residences of domestic rather than military character was developed by the uppermost levels of society. These residences were constructed of a variety of building materials, although standing remains are usually of brick and stone. They provided high quality accommodation for the leaders of society and their retinues and thus usually contained a number of standard components: at least one hall, a chapel or chapels, kitchens, private apartments and lodgings ranges. Frequently, service complexes are found in association, containing buildings such as bakehouses, brewhouses, farms and stables. The earthwork remains of formal gardens are often also a feature of these sites.

The scale (often attested in documentary sources), as well as the architectural and decorative pretensions of these residential complexes, usually distinguish them from the dwellings of the members of lower orders of society.

The house standing within Bradgate Park is, together with Kirby Muxloe Castle, one of the earliest brick built buildings in Leicestershire and is an early example of a country house built without defences. The house survives well and, together with a formal garden and watermill site, is an important medieval complex demonstrating the wealth of the very highest level of late medieval society. It was the birth place of Lady Jane Grey, who became Queen of England, and was also visited by William III a century later.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument is situated within the former medieval deer park, now a country park, of Bradgate, north west of Leicester. It includes the ruins of a late 15th century mansion with formal garden earthworks and a watermill site and leat to the east.

The mansion was begun by Thomas Grey, the first Marquess of Dorset, in about 1490 and completed by the second Marquess in the early 16th century. There were considerable 17th century additions. Lady Jane Grey, who was to become Queen of England, was born here in 1537. The house withstood attack during the Civil War, when the Greys were a noted Parliamentarian family, but was not badly damaged. There was a fire in 1694, but only the north west tower was affected and in 1696 William III visited the house. The house was abandoned in 1719 on the death of the first Earl of Stamford but stood complete until about 1740.

The house which, together with Kirby Muxloe Castle, is one of the earliest brick buildings in the county, is a Listed Building Grade II*. It was built on a grand scale, the overall plan of the house and courtyard measuring 85m x 75m. The layout is `U' shaped in plan, with a main block on the northern side containing the Great Hall, parlour etc. and wings projecting southwards from each end to enclose an irregular courtyard. The east wing contained private apartments and the chapel, the latter being the only surviving roofed building; it contains a monument to Henry Grey and his wife dated 1614. The west wing contained services including a kitchen and bakery of which the large fireplace and ovens can be seen. The west wing retains three towers; the two standing at the angles are polygonal and the intermediate one rectangular in plan. A corresponding polygonal tower stands at the south eastern corner of the east wing. North of the main block is a large, approximately square courtyard originally enclosed by buildings and walls.

To the east of the buildings is a formal garden known as the tilt yard which is a Listed Building Grade II and included in the scheduling. The area comprises a sunken area about 2m deep with brick revetted walls. The rectangular garden area measures 90m x 75m and is divided into four parts by walkways. On the north eastern and eastern sides of the formal garden is a leat, now dry, running south to the site of a former watermill situated on the south eastern corner of the site. The mill building was still standing in the mid-19th century and survives today as a below ground feature. The leat ran from a fishpond situated to the north, which is much altered from its original profile and is thus not included in the scheduling. On the south side of the site is a substantial garden wall which is a Listed Building Grade II*, all of which is included in the scheduling. The wall, which is built of red brick, probably dates from the early 16th century.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 17105

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Liddle, P, A Guide to 20 Archaeological Sites, (1983), 34-5
Pevsner, N, Williamson, E, The Buildings of England: Leicestershire and Rutland, (1984), 108-9

End of official listing