The walled garden at Charlton Park (incl walls, potting sheds, former bothy, the Garden Cottage, the Garden Flat and glasshouses)


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Charlton Park, Charlton, Malmesbury, SN16 9DG


Ordnance survey map of The walled garden at Charlton Park (incl walls, potting sheds, former bothy, the Garden Cottage, the Garden Flat and glasshouses)
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Statutory Address:
Charlton Park, Charlton, Malmesbury, SN16 9DG

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

Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:


A walled kitchen garden dating from the early 1770s attributed to Lancelot 'Capability' Brown and built for the Earl of Suffolk and Berkshire at Charlton Park, altered in the early-C20 by Lady Suffolk to become the principal flower garden, with its former conservatory or orangery converted into a matching pair of gardener's cottages.

Reasons for Designation

The walled garden at Charlton Park, Wiltshire (comprising walls, potting sheds, the garden cottage, the garden flat and glasshouses) is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: an early and representative example of a Georgian walled garden attributed to Lancelot 'Capability' Brown built shortly after his visit to Charlton Park in 1768;

* Historic interest: as a good example of a walled garden illustrating the development of horticulture at a large country estate since the late C18;

* Degree of survival: as a mostly intact example of a Georgian walled garden with later alterations forming a legitimate phase of its development;

* Group value: it has strong group value with Charlton Park House (listed Grade I), and other listed garden/estate buildings and structures, including the late-C18 Charlton Park itself.


The walled kitchen garden at Charlton Park dates from the early 1770s and is believed to have been designed by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown. Brown visited Charlton Park in 1768 on the invitation of the Earl of Suffolk and Berkshire (d.1779), and subsequently proposed the removal of the formal gardens, drew sketches for a lake near the house, and for a new walled garden and offices.

Charlton Park is shown on Andrews and Dury’s map of Wiltshire of 1773, with the new walled garden situated in the west part of the park. Brown also proposed changes to the house but these were not carried out; the architect Matthew Brettingham was commissioned instead.

The walled garden is shown on the first edition OS map published in 1886. It is oriented on a north-south axis and has an irregular hexagonal plan with a large conservatory (or orangery) at its north end. The garden is quartered into four sections by footpaths, with an internal wall running on the east-west axis, creating two enclosures, each with a central circular pond. Immediately to its west, abutting Charlton Park Farm to its west (now Charlton Park Business Park) is an enclosed area with a number of glasshouses.

In the early C20, as indicated on the OS map published in 1921, and as described and featured in an article in Country Life in 1933, the walled garden was altered to become the principal ornamental flower garden at Charlton Park, created by the then Lady Suffolk. The large conservatory at its north end was converted into a matching pair of gardener's cottages, and was given a semi-circular colonnade facing the garden, replacing its earlier glazed front. Large openings were created in the garden walls which were given curved ramps ('swan necks') in order to create a long vista on the north-south axis, terminating at its north end by the colonnade, and at its south end, outside the walled garden, by a new garden with a central sundial and a small orchard. The internal layout of the walled garden was retained but planted with herbaceous borders on the long axis, punctuated by the circular ponds and statuary, and backed by tall yew hedges. A recessed arbour was created along the wall on the east-west axis. The walks were paved with irregular cut stone slabs, but turfed along the long borders. The earlier glasshouses in the adjacent enclosure to its west were replaced with three large glasshouses by Foster & Pearson Ltd, of Beeston, Nottingham, a leading manufacturer of horticultural buildings, first established in 1841.

In the 1980s the gardener's cottages (then named the Garden Cottage and the Garden Flat) were each given their own garden, enclosed by a hedge. The walled garden is now (2016) used for growing Christmas trees, and the glasshouses are no longer in use.


A walled kitchen garden dating from the early 1770s attributed to Lancelot 'Capability' Brown and built for the Earl of Suffolk and Berkshire at Charlton Park, altered in the early-C20 by Lady Suffolk to become the principal flower garden, with its former conservatory or orangery converted into a matching pair of gardener's cottages.

MATERIALS: constructed in stone rubble and Flemish bond brick work with stone ashlar dressings. The cottages are built in stone rubble at the north front and brick to the rear with brick to the rear with stone ashlar dressings, pitched slate covered roofs with stone stacks.

PLAN: the walled garden is situated in the western part of Charlton Park, with Charlton House situated c 950m to its east. Oriented north-south, its walls enclose an irregular hexagonal area of c1.8 ha, divided in half by an internal wall running east-west. At its north end is the pair of gardener's cottages linked by a semi-circular colonnade facing the garden.

EXTERIOR: the garden walls are c3m in height, with the sections to the north built in stone rubble and lined in brick to the inside with flat stone copings, and with the remaining sections, including the inner wall, built in brick with flat stone copings. The garden can be entered via a number of entrances from all sides, with both round and segmental arches. Some have wrought iron gates (later replacements), but many retaining their original pintles. The central wall that divides the garden in half, and the end south wall, have large central openings with curved ramps, inserted in the early C20 to create a central vista as part of the flower garden created by Lady Suffolk at that time. At the north end of the garden this vista is terminated by the central colonnade linking the pair of matching two storey cottages set into the north garden wall with curved.

The two-storey north front of the cottages, built in stone rubble, project forward from the garden wall. It is six bays wide: two projecting outer bays with four bays to the centre. It has four-pane timber casement windows (some later replacements) set in segmental arched openings and entrances (with later replacement doors) to bay number two and five. The outer bays to the south front, facing the garden, have a canted bay at ground floor level with a Diocletion window set above the string course. Above is a tall moulded parapet with three ball finials behind. The adjoining bays to the centre have 12-pane sashes and are set behind a tall convex exedra built in brick with four free-standing stone columns to each side and coupled columns to the centre, all with Ionic style capitals. INTERIOR: the interior of the cottages, refurbished in the 1980s, and now known as Garden Flat and Garden Cottage, could not be inspected.


Attached to the outside of the west and north-west garden wall are two rows of brick lean-to potting sheds built in brick, with later repairs. Circa 15m north of the walled garden, opposite the cottages, stands a small outbuilding, possibly a former garden bothy. It is built in stone rubble, similar to that of the garden wall, and has pitched roofs.

Inside the walled garden sections of stone paved paths survive, including two circular ponds with stone surrounds (now disused).


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Crowley, DA (editor), A History of the County of Wiltshire, Vol 14, Malmesbury Hundred, (1991), 36-50
Shields, Steffie, Moving Heaven and Earth, Capability Brown's Gift of Landscape, (2016), 207-212
Stroud, D, Capability Brown, (1975)
Hussey, C, 'Charlton Park - I Wiltshire' in Country Life, , Vol. 74, (14 October 1933), 388-394
Phibbs, J, 'A List of Landscapes that have been attributed to Lancelot 'Capability' Brown' in Garden History, , Vol. 41, (Winter 2013), 251
Website of Foster & Pearson, manufacturer of glasshouses since 1841, accessed 5 July 2016 from


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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