Side and King's Garden at Godolphin House


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021422

Date first listed: 23-Mar-2009


Ordnance survey map of Side and King's Garden at Godolphin House
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This copy shows the entry on 14-Dec-2018 at 19:52:42.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Breage

National Grid Reference: SW 60081 31824, SW 60175 31760


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

Reasons for Designation

Post-medieval formal gardens are garden arrangements dating between the early 16th and mid-18th centuries, their most characteristic feature being a core of geometric layout, typically located and orientated in relation to the major residences of which they formed the settings. Garden designs of this period are numerous and varied, although most contain a number of recognisable components. For the 16th and 17th centuries, the most common features are flat-topped banks or terraces (actually raised walkways), waterways, closely set ponds and multi-walled enclosures. Late 17th and 18th century gardens often reflect the development of these ideas and contain multiple terraces and extensive water features, as well as rigidly geometrical arrangements of embankments. Other features fashionable across the period include: earthen mounds (or mounts) used as vantage points to view the house and gardens, or as the sites of ornate structures; `moats' surrounding areas of planting; walled closes of stone or brick (sometimes serving as the forecourt of the main house); and garden buildings such as banqueting houses and pavilions. Planted areas were commonly arranged in geometric beds, or parterres, in patterns which incorporated hedges, paths and sometimes ponds, fountains and statuary. By contrast, other areas were sometimes set aside as romantic wildernesses. Formal gardens were created throughout the period by the royal court, the aristocracy and county gentry, as a routine accompaniment of the country seats of the landed elite. Formal gardens of all sizes were once therefore commonplace, and their numbers may have comfortably exceeded 2000. The radical redesign of many gardens to match later fashions has dramatically reduced this total, and little more than 250 examples are currently known in England. Although one of many post-medieval monument types, formal gardens have a particular importance reflecting the social expectations and aspirations of the period. They represent a significant and illuminating aspect of the architectural and artistic tastes of the time, and illustrate the skills which developed to realise the ambitions of their owners. Surviving evidence may take many forms, including standing structures, earthworks and buried remains; the latter may include details of the planting patterns, and even environmental material from which to identify the species employed. Examples of formal gardens will normally be considered to be of national importance, where the principal features remain visible, or where significant buried remains survive; of these, parts of whole garden no longer in use will be considered for scheduling.

The late Elizabethan/Jacobean side garden is an astonishingly ambitious and coherent scheme for this period, and a rare example nationally. Alterations, both later in the C17, and since, have been fairly minimal and archaeological recording has indicated that much of the design and layout of the garden survives. The King's Garden is also an extremely well-preserved example of an early C16 garden, albeit on a much smaller scale. Together these gardens provide valuable evidence of garden design and planting schemes that were popular at the time and an indication of the social status of the Godolphin family.


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


The monument, which falls into two areas, includes separate formal gardens associated with the Grade I Listed Godolphin House. The larger garden lies south east of the house and is known as the Side Garden, whilst the smaller King's Garden is situated to the west. The scheduled area sits within the much larger registered area of the Grade II* Park and Garden of Special Historic Interest at Godolphin. The registered garden itself lies within the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape, a World Heritage Site. The late C15 or early C16 Side Garden comprises nine roughly square compartments separated by cross-walks and arranged in a three by three pattern, bounded by rubble-faced walks to the north, east and south. Archaeological evidence indicates that the three western compartments which remain gardened appear to survive from the layout of the early C14 precinct associated with the house. The six eastern compartments are now divided from the present garden by a mid C19 rubble stone wall but the late C15 and C16 layout survives as banks and archaeological features in this area, now known as the Garden Paddock. Elsewhere, the surviving gardens retain elements of the late C15 and C16 layout including the perimeter walks around the north western compartment. A 1786 estate plan shows the garden compartments with simple rectilinear subdivisions which may have replaced an earlier, more complex scheme of geometric beds, while a small garden building in the north east compartment shown in 1786 and 1876 has not survived. The south west compartment is partly raised behind a rubble stone retaining wall and contains a rectangular pond or tank. This pool was truncated by the construction of a further rectangular pond, probably in the late C17. Both ponds are now dry. The terrace overlooks a recessed lawn which occupies the remainder of the south west compartment. Originally enclosed by a wall to the north, the function of this narrow enclosure is unclear, but it acted as the climax to the western cross-walk within the Side Garden. The partly rubble-faced raised walks north, east and south of the Side Garden stand up to 2.2m above the present ground level and are up to 2.7m high. Steps adjacent to an axially placed gateway in the east wall ascended to the walks. The King's Garden (whose walls are Listed Grade II) is an enclosed privy garden at the south west corner of the west wing of the house and is named for its proximity to the state apartment. Created after the relocation of the principal approach to the north in the early C16, the King's Garden now comprises a small cobbled yard adjacent to, and level with, a door at the southern end of the east wall, with a higher gravel perimeter walk approached by steps to the north and south west, and a lawn divided by a central north to south box-edged path. The north garden wall was adapted c.1600 to form the south wall of the stable. The eastern third was rebuilt in the late C19 and is devoid of features. The rest pre-dates the stable block and contains four bee boles, one of which has been restored. The central lawn appears to have been infilled and raised, probably c.1800 when the enclosure was used as a kitchen garden with a gateway formed in the south wall, connecting it to the farmyard. The gravel path surfaces, seating, fencing, modern plant supports and flagstone surfaces are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

Legacy System number: 36051

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Herring, P, Godolphin, Breage - An Archaeological and Historical Survey, (1998), 216-217
Herring, P, Godolphin, Breage - An Archaeological and Historical Survey, (1998), 204-216

End of official listing