Side and King's Garden at Godolphin House
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1021422
Date first listed: 23-Mar-2009
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
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
The gravel path surfaces, seating, fencing, modern plant supports and
flagstone surfaces are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath
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
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing