Heritage Category:
Park and Garden
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Gisburne Park, Gisburn, Ribble Valley, Lancashire
Statutory Address:


Ordnance survey map of GISBURNE PARK
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Statutory Address:

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

Location Description:
Gisburne Park, Gisburn, Ribble Valley, Lancashire
Ribble Valley (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


An early C18 formal garden and deer park associated with Gisburne Hall, overlain by an C18 landscaped park.

Reasons for Designation

This C18 formal garden and deer park, overlain by a landscaped park is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Historic interest: the integrity of the early C18 formal garden and deer park phase is preserved and is highly visible * Historic interest: despite some loss of character in parts, it is a good example of a mid and later C18 landscaped park in the English natural style, and sufficient of its original landscaping survives to reflect its original design * Design influence: some elements of the landscaping appear to reflect the influence of a proposed early C18 design by Lord Robert Petre on subsequent generations of the Lister family * Group value: it has strong group value with a number of listed buildings including the Grade II* gate lodges and the Grade I Gisburne Hall * Tree nursery: the presence of the 'Great Nursery' on Coppy Hill is a striking and unusual feature


The Lister family acquired the Manor of Guisburne in 1614 but it was not until 1706 when Thomas Lister, MP for Clitheroe, inherited the family estates that the family moved from their seat at Arnoldsbiggin to Lower Hall, Guisburne. From 1726 to 1736, he replaced Lower Hall with a new mansion on a new site overlooking the confluence of the River Ribble with the Stock Beck, and in 1736-7, an adjacent stable block was built. Estate accounts also describe the building of park walls. In 1734, a plan of the estate was produced by Pierre Bourguignon, better known as the eminent engraver Hubert Gravelot whose entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography sets out his national significance. This plan is considered an accurate depiction of the early C18 landscape, which had its origins in the C17. It shows the mansion with its stable block and outbuildings, two large walled gardens to the north and north-west of the buildings, a large lawn immediately south of the house, with a deer park and cultivated fields beyond. Land to the north-west of the mansion on the far side of the Stock Beck is also depicted, in which lay the prominent remains of a Bronze Age bowl barrow. A painting attributed to Arthur Devis executed in 1738 shows the Lister family standing within the deer park with the new mansion and stables in the background.

The following year a plan by Lord Robert Petre (1713-42) depicts a proposed new design for a landscaped park at Gisburne; this includes woodlands and paths north of the house, water features, bridges, serpentine paths, a landscaped island in the River Ribble, terraces, avenues of trees, planting schemes and a formal garden. Petre's entry in the ODNB underlines his national importance as a major early C18 importer and collector of exotic plants. He also designed three garden schemes, that of his own home Thorndon Hall (Registered Grade II), Worksop Manor and this example at Gisburne Hall. It is unclear how much of his proposed design for Gisburne was implemented; a painting by Robert Griffier (c.1688-c.1750), produced after 1735 depicts much of Petre's design but it is thought that this painting is also likely to have been a prediction of the proposed design rather than evidence of its implementation. Overall, it is considered that Petre's planned design was not implemented at Gisburne, but that during the C18 some elements, such as the large walled garden, entry to the estate through a pair of lodges, the planting of a lime avenue and a new drive (the latter three features in different locations to those depicted on the plan) were partially implemented, and the existence of the plan did to a certain extent influence the subsequent development of the landscaped park.

In 1745, Thomas Lister was succeeded by his eldest son, Thomas (1723-61) who also took over his father's role as MP for Clitheroe. During the course of the 1750s, he constructed a number of buildings on the estate including a deer house (later Deer House Farm), a new stable and summerhouse (also known as The Temple). Estate ledgers indicate that in the garden a new pair of gates was purchased along with nets for cherry trees and yearly parcels of fruit trees, seeds, trees and pineapple plants. When Thomas Lister died in 1761 his nine-year-old son, Thomas (1752-1826), later Lord Ribblesdale and MP for Clitheroe, inherited the estate. Improvements at Gisburne Park continued with the construction in 1762 of the Chinese Bridge and Hen House later Keeper's Cottage); in 1771-2 kennels were built to the west of the house and in 1776 the original drive was succeeded by a new drive running through the valley of the Stock Beck, entered through a new entrance flanked by lodges. The walled garden to the west of the hall was also enlarged to the Petre design in the mid-C18. Thomas Lister toured Spain and Portugal in 1784 and was influenced by the practice there of raising trees in nurseries. It is thought that he constructed a tree nursery on Coppy Hill during the 1780s and estate records indicate that a great number of trees were subsequently raised on the estate.

A plan and survey of Gisburne Park In 1812 by Francis White, depicts the development of the landscape since 1734. It shows that the park had been extended south of the mansion, new boundaries erected, an avenue of trees aligned on Pendle Hill had been planted, the walled garden north of the house had been replaced by a much larger walled garden west of the stable which is divided into two with a probable hothouse in each part and the tree nursery labelled 'Great Nursery' on Coppy Hill had been constructed. A map of 1817, possibly by Gisburn resident John Greenwood, depicts a similar landscape to that of 1812, but does not include land beyond Stock Beck, suggesting that this was no longer regarded as part of the park. After Lord Ribblesdale's death in 1826, he was succeeded by his son, Thomas and after his death in 1832, the mansion and park was leased. The lease advert describes the deer park with its wild white cattle and stock of deer, pleasure grounds including flower and kitchen gardens with hot houses and the tenant's responsibility to maintain the game and sporting rights of the estate. The estate remained tenanted throughout most of the C19 and First and Second Ordnance survey editions show little change; new stables were erected but the most significant alteration was the construction in 1892 of the railway line from Gisburn to Hellifield through the southern part of the park. It is said locally that the line was built in a tunnel to reduce the noise and distress from trains to Lord Ribblesdale's horses. In 1895, the then Lord Ribblesdale regained possession of the Gisburne estate, but part was sold on his death in 1927. In 1943, the remaining estate was sold to the Hindley family and in 1995 Gisburne Hall and adjacent land was sold and converted to a private hospital and rehabilitation centre leading to the construction of a new hospital building to the west of the hall. Today (2011) an equestrian centre is run within the park and Deer House Farm and its environs have been developed into Ribblesdale Holiday Park.


LOCATION, SETTING, LANDFORM, BOUNDARIES, AREA Gisburne Hall Park lies immediately north of the village of Gisburn and occupies the angle formed by the confluence of the River Ribble and the Stock Beck. An unnamed tributary of the Stock Beck bisects the park from north to south. The setting is rural and agricultural and the park is a landscape of undulating grassland with several drumlins visible as low rounded hillocks. There are two separate areas of interest: the first and largest c. 68ha in area contains Gisburne Hall Park, bounded on the north by the River Ribble and field boundaries and on the east by the stone wall defining the A682. On the south it is bounded by field boundaries forming the northern extent of Gisburn village and the northern boundary of Mill Lane; the latter also forms the western boundary. The second area of interest is situated on Coppy Hill to the west and comprises the enclosure known as the ‘Great Nursery’ c. 1.3ha in area. ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES The principal entrance is at the south and comprises a pair of C18 gate lodges (listed Grade II*) in Gothick style; the entrance flanked by gate lodges and the line of the drive may have been influenced by the planned design of Lord Robert Petre. Each lodge is flanked by a pair of square piers with crocketed pinnacles, linked to their lodges by iron railings, and iron railings link to a central pair of gate piers housing double iron gates. The drive runs north across the railway tunnel embankment and through the mixed wooded valley of an unnamed water course, and emerges just south-east of the hall to join a west-east route. The earthwork remains of the earlier drive (abandoned in 1778) survive in parkland to the west, as a hollow way partially lined with trees. The west-east approach enters the north-west corner of the park at the former lodge, Mill Bridge Cottage (listed Grade II) and is sunk below the level of the embanked lawn in front of the mansion, before bearing down steep slopes to Poultry House Bridge (listed Grade II) which carries it across the Stock Beck. From here it passes behind Keepers Cottage (listed Grade II) and climbs north-east up the east side of the Stock Beck. It leaves the park through an entrance flanked by square pillars surmounted by pyramidal finials.

PRINCIPAL BUILDING Gisburne Hall (listed Grade I) is L-shaped in plan comprising an original early C18 main front range and a late C19 rear service range. The main range has two storeys and nine bays with the central three bays recessed and the main entrance in the centre bay. At the west is the stable block now linked to the main house by a three bay range. A new block erected as part of the hospital in 1995 stands to the west.

GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS To the north and east of the hall lie the steeply, wooded slopes of the Ribble and Stock Beck valleys. The east side of the latter within Temple Wood contains an old road visible as a double-banked hollow way and older mixed deciduous trees, some showing evidence of coppicing. The summerhouse (listed Grade II) formerly lay north of this but has been dismantled and removed leaving only its building platform in situ. To the north of this, Kirk Mile Wood now contains mostly coniferous trees and pheasant rearing enclosures. Immediately south of the hall there is a large irregular shaped, embanked lawn retaining slight earthwork remains of possible terraces.

PARK To the south and west of the hall lies the landscaped park incorporating the former deer park; the western boundary of the latter survives as an earthwork forming the eastern side of the original drive and the eastern boundary survives as the western side of the former A682, which itself partially remains as a prominent earthwork at the south-east corner of the park, alongside the present A682. This area also contains the rectilinear earthworks of former village closes, one of which is marked by a large veteran oak tree. Areas of denuded medieval ridge and furrow cultivation survive as earthworks within the boundary of the former deer park. Much of the park retains its mid to later C18 character with scattered parkland trees, including sycamore, oak and lime, some roughly lining the route of the original drive, others arranged in smalls groups. An area to the east of the Stock Beck and north of the railway line has lost its parkland character by improvement and the establishment of a large plantation. Running across the extended western part of the park, and through Ribblesdale Holiday Park, there is a lime avenue, double at its northern end (possibly influenced by the proposed design of Lord Robert Petre), and said to be aligned on Pendle Hill. The establishment of a holiday park has eroded the character of the parkland in this area. The south-east corner of the park is bisected by a railway constructed through a tunnel where the entrance drive crosses over it, and the entrance and exit arches (listed Grade II*) are Gothicised with turrets and battlements.

KITCHEN GARDEN A large C18 walled garden to the west of the hall, and extending west as far as the C19 stables, served as part of the formal gardens associated with the house (possibly influenced by the proposed designs of Lord Robert Petre). It is partially enclosed by high stone and red brick walls with limestone slab copings; the garden is divided into several compartments, which contain sheds, and two rendered gardener’s cottages. Much of the interior is used as a car park and large agricultural sheds occupy the western part.

A set of dog kennels (listed Grade II), in the form of a mock castle with two round towers, is situated above the River Ribble to the north-west of the walled garden. Views of these on the approach from the north and particularly from Gisburn Bridge are now obscured by tree growth.

OTHER LAND The Great Nursery on Coppy Hill is roughly rectangular with concave sides and a causeway entrance in the north-east corner. It is formed by a ha-ha comprising a flat-topped bank and a stone-revetted internal ditch. The enclosure contains conifer and deciduous trees. Before recent tree planting, there was a clear view of Coppy Hill from the hall and the Great Nursery may have served as an eye catcher.


Gravelot [formerly Bourguignon], Hubert-François (1699–1773), book illustrator and engraver, accessed from
Petre, Robert James, eighth Baron Petre (1713–1742), accessed from
Fryer et al, Gisburne: Historic Landscape Management Plan, 2010,


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.

End of official listing

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