Garden wall with attached gardener's cottage and glasshouse


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:


Garden wall built in three phases around 1769, around 1840 and the late C19 with an attached gardener’s cottage built around 1769 and extended about1840, and a late C19 glasshouse.

Reasons for Designation

The garden wall with attached cottage and glasshouse, dating from the C18 and C19, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* the wall has survived in very good condition with only minor repairs in the brickwork; * the glasshouse pre-dates the only other listed example of a concrete framed glasshouse and therefore represents an exceptional, rare and early extant example; * the glasshouse survives almost in its original state, with an intact concrete frame and central path, galvanised steel ponds, water pipes, and pulleys to open the upper panes, thus retaining its ventilation, watering and heating systems; * the gardener’s cottage has been altered but the simple plan form and the early C19 enclosed panelled staircase, along with other historic features, conveys an impression of its original architectural character.

Historic interest:

* it illustrates the evolution of a productive kitchen garden and its associated buildings from the third quarter of the C18 until the end of the C19.

Group value:

* together with the Grade II* registered park and the numerous listed buildings on the estate - particularly the C18 walled garden - it forms an ensemble of historical significance that aptly demonstrates the continuing development of an historic estate.


The manor of Youngsbury 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.

The outer kitchen garden was developed to the north of the C18 walled garden by the early 1840s when the route of the old holloway was moved to the north of Home Farm, allowing fields to be taken in and developed as a productive garden. The expansion of the productive area was probably due to practical reasons. Until the 1840s Youngsbury had mainly been the residence of widowers or bachelors whose business interests in London kept them often in the city. After 1840, when it had been inherited by his mother, Christopher Giles-Puller managed the estate and lived there with his large family, and the consequently larger household would have needed increased provisions.

The wall of the outer kitchen garden and its attached structures were built in several phases. The estate plan from 1793 clearly shows the western part of the wall running between the Grade II* listed stable block, built around 1769, and the gardener’s cottage, all of which are built in the same brick. This part of the wall and cottage therefore very likely date from around 1769. The cottage was itself built in two distinct phases. Adjoining the C18 building is an eastern extension which was added when the middle part of the garden wall – from the cottage to the glasshouse – was built sometime before about 1840, as shown by the Tithe map. The cottage was probably re-roofed at this time, as it has the shallow pyramidal form characteristic of this period. The eastern part of the wall from the glasshouse to Home Farm dates to a third phase, probably being constructed around the late C19.

The first edition Ordnance Survey (OS) map of 1879 shows the full length of the wall. The cottage has a long, narrow extension on the north-west corner, against the north side of the wall, and a large glasshouse is depicted in the north corner of the wall with rear sheds/ bothies. On the second edition of 1898 the glasshouse occupies the same position but its footprint is narrower, suggesting that it was rebuilt in the late C19. By the third edition the long extension on the cottage has been truncated, and it has since been removed altogether. On the OS map of 1974 the long range of sheds are shown against the outside of the wall between the glasshouse and Home Farm. In the 1946 sale catalogue the garden is described as being ‘mainly confined to wall and other fruit trees’. The garden is no longer (2019) in production.


Garden wall built in three phases around 1769, around 1840 and the late C19 with an attached gardener’s cottage built around 1769 and extended about1840, and a late C19 glasshouse.


DESCRIPTION: this long, high wall runs from the stable block on the west side in a north-west direction to the attached gardener’s cottage and then to the attached glasshouse from which it extends in a south-east direction to Home Farm. The brickwork indicates that it was built in three distinct phases. The first phase of around 1769 – between the stable block and cottage – is constructed of plum brick laid in Flemish bond with a flat brick coping and shallow buttresses. There is an opening towards the western end, flanked by tall square piers with flat stone capping and a C20 plank and batten gate. To the west of this a historic repair has been carried out in buff brick along the top half of a narrow section.

The second about 1840 phase of the wall is the middle section which runs between the cottage and glasshouse. It is constructed of gault brick laid in Flemish bond with flat brick coping and a series of iron brackets along the top to which frames or nets would have been attached to protect the fruit trees. Approximately half way along is an opening with a flat brick arch of gauged brick and a late C19/ early C20 plank and batten door.

The third late C19 phase runs north-west south-east between the glasshouse and Home Farm. It is constructed of yellow/ gault brick laid in a variation of rat trap bond in which the bricks are laid on edge but in Flemish bond with a cavity in the centre which could be heated. At the west end is a plank and batten door with strap hinges under a concrete lintel.

The long range of red brick sheds adjoining the rear of this part of the wall, which appear between the OS maps of 1923 and 1974, do not have special interest and are not included in the listing. GARDENER’S COTTAGE

PLAN: the cottage is situated mid-way along the east-west section of the wall. The western half dates to around 1769 and the eastern half to around1840.

MATERIALS: the western half is constructed of plum brick and the eastern half of gault brick, both laid in Flemish bond with brick dressings, under a slate-clad roof.

EXTERIOR: the two-storey cottage has a shallow pyramidal roof with exposed rafter feet at the eaves and a central chimney stack with four square clay pots. The east-facing façade is covered in roughcast render, painted white. It has three bays lit on both floors by three-light, wooden casement windows of C20 date. The front door in the central bay, which has flush lower panels and glazed upper panels, is of early C20 date and is sheltered by a gabled porch with a slate-clad roof supported by timber posts. On the right is a single-storey brick lean-to, painted white, added on the north side of the cottage in the first half of the C20, now used as a kitchen. The south elevation is lit on each floor by a three-over-three pane horned sash window under a cambered brick arch with concrete lintels.

Adjoining this to the left is the blind south wall of the western half of the cottage which appears to have originated as an agricultural building of some sort, possibly with domestic accommodation above. The four-bay, west-facing elevation has a row of segmental arched openings, three of which have been bricked up and the remaining one has inserted wooden doors. The first floor has four square openings with cambered brick arches, three of which are also bricked up, leaving one sash window above the door. The west elevation is painted white and has a wide double-leaf door of narrow vertical panels and strap hinges.

INTERIOR: the eastern half of the cottage has two rooms on the ground floor and two above, either side of a straight flight of stairs enclosed by panelling. The two ground-floor fireplaces have been replaced in the C20 but those on the first floor are C19 cast-iron grates, one with a semicircular arch inset, in plain wooden surrounds. Some four-panel doors remain with spring latches which continued in use during the Regency period.

In the western half of the building, the walls are exposed brick and the ceilings have been removed, revealing the roof structure of sawn timbers, dating to the C20.


PLAN: the glasshouse has a rectangular plan and is built against the north chamfered corner of the wall. It faces south-west into the productive area and has sheds/ bothies on the north-east side of the wall.

MATERIALS: glass and concrete.

EXTERIOR: the glasshouse is curvilinear, forming one quarter of a circle, with a frame of curved concrete ribs and concrete guttering resting upon a plinth of gault brick laid in stretcher bond. The overlapping, rectangular glass panes are fixed between the rafters by steel strips which are screwed into the rafters. At each end the concrete door frames have steel panel doors with two upper lights (the glazing is missing). A centrally placed brick chimney stack with a tall red clay pot rises from the wall behind the greenhouse.

In front of the glasshouse are the remains of two long, rectangular protective glazed frames. The upper glazed structure has been removed but the brick plinths survive.

Along the rear is a series of lean-to sheds/ bothies constructed of yellow/ buff brick laid on edge under a roof clad in corrugated iron. The sheds either have plank and batten doors or doors with flush panels, and are lit by windows with wooden frames: some are two-light fixed windows and others have casements.

INTERIOR: the interior is divided into two halves by a concrete frame incorporating a concrete door frame. It has a central concrete path with borders either side, and small square ponds lined with galvanised steel at either end. The glasshouse is ventilated by pulleys opening a series of panes along the top. In the eastern half, rusted water pipes survive which would have heated the glasshouse via the boiler which may well survive but it was not possible to inspect the rear sheds. An opening in the rear wall with a segmental brick arch and panelled door provides access to the sheds. A vine and peach tree still grow in the glasshouse (2019).


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.

The listed building is shown coloured blue on the attached map. Pursuant to s1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) structures attached to or within the curtilage of the listed building but not coloured blue on the map, are not to be treated as part of the listed building for the purposes of the Act. However, any works to these structures which have the potential to affect the character of the listed building as a building of special architectural or historic interest may still require Listed Building Consent (LBC) and this is a matter for the Local Planning Authority (LPA) to determine.

End of official listing

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