Walled Kitchen Garden, Youngsbury


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Youngsbury, Wadesmill, Ware, Hertfordshire, SG12 0TZ


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Statutory Address:
Youngsbury, Wadesmill, Ware, Hertfordshire, SG12 0TZ

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

East Hertfordshire (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


Walled kitchen garden dating to the mid-C18, possibly by Capability Brown.

Reasons for Designation

The walled kitchen garden dating to the mid-C18, possibly by Capability Brown, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* it is a well-preserved and important element in the C18 landscape garden, pre-dating the proliferation of walled gardens built on many estates in the early Victorian period; * its chamfered corner design is a fairly unusual adaptation of the typical rectangular or square plan which was the most common during this period and throughout the C19.

Historic interest:

* whilst the possible attribution to Brown is significant, it is clearly a notable structure within the landscape park whether or not it was designed by him.

Group value:

* together with the Grade II* registered park and the numerous listed buildings on the estate - particularly the garden wall with its attached cottage and glasshouse - the walled garden forms an ensemble of historical significance that aptly demonstrates the aesthetic quality associated with the Georgian period.


The walled kitchen garden was built at Youngsbury around the mid-C18. The manor had been acquired by David Poole who built a new mansion in 1745 at some distance north of the old house which was demolished. In 1769 the manor was sold by Poole's widow to David Barclay who improved and enlarged the house. During the 1760s, or possibly earlier, Lancelot Brown (1716-1783) produced an undated design for the park, inscribed ‘Plan proposed by Lancelot Brown for the Improvement of Youngsbury’. The scheme was largely carried out, although whether the works were supervised by Brown using one of his foremen, or executed by the estate, is not known. By 1793, when the estate was sold to William Shaw, the park had been completed. Only four years later, Shaw sold the estate to Daniel Giles, Governor of the Bank of England, in whose family it remained during the C19. After changing hands a number of times since, the estate remains (2019) in private ownership.

It is not known exactly when the walled kitchen garden was constructed. It is almost certain that the newly built mansion of 1745 would have had a kitchen garden to grow produce for the family and servants but the chamfered corner plan is more typical of the 1750s or 1760s. It is first depicted on the undated Brown plan (produced during the 1760s) but like many of his plans, it is hard to tell how much is an existing survey and how much proposed. A plan drawn up in 1768 for Mrs James Poole shows the garden with the same distinctive chamfered plan, so it had evidently been built by this date. Another estate plan from 1793 shows the kitchen garden divided into eight equal parts. The remnants of these divisions are evident on the first edition Ordnance Survey (OS) map of 1879 which also shows numerous trees and a path around the outer edge of the garden, probably allowing access to trained fruit on at least the south-east and south-west facing walls. A small glasshouse is located in the chamfered north corner, and an aviary on the outside of the south-west wall. By the second edition OS map of 1898 the paths and trees are no longer shown; and by the third edition of 1923 the buildings have also gone. In the 1946 sales catalogue the kitchen garden is described as being in ‘a high state of cultivation’ containing ‘a fine quantity of choice wall and other fruit trees’. The garden is no longer in production.


Walled kitchen garden first shown on a map in 1768.

MATERIALS: handmade red brick with occasional burnt bricks laid in Flemish bond.

PLAN: the walled garden stands to the north-east of the house and has a rectangular plan with chamfered corners.

EXTERIOR: the walled garden has brick coping and shallow brick pilasters at each corner. Some of the brick courses along the top show signs of historic repair. There are entrances with segmental brick arches on the north-west and south-west sides. The former has a delicate iron gate with an upper section of arrowhead verticals and four scrolls forming a central concave diamond, and a lower section of closely spaced slender arrowhead verticals. The south-west gate has a decorative scrolled central section with arrowhead verticals on each side, and the date ‘1899’ at the upper end. There are two former entrances on the south and west corners which have been bricked up. Built against the west corner is a rustic seat which has a decorative wooden back panel, sheltered by a fishscale tile roof with an underside covered in closely packed fir cones, supported by wooden posts. Against the northern corner is a pile of bricks and heating pipes (covered by overgrowth during the site visit in September 2019) which are the remains of heating equipment that was used in the former glasshouse.

The kitchen garden is now (2019) laid to lawn and is planted with a few orchard trees. In one quarter a small knot garden was created in the 2010s.


Youngsbury, Hertfordshire: An Appraisal of the Historic Designed Landscape, Dr Kate Felus, July 2018 revised December 2018


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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