Park laid out in the 1680s around the now demolished Uffington House with gardens dating to the mid-C19 by Samuel Gray.
Reasons for Designation
Uffington Park, laid out in the 1680s around the now demolished Uffington House with gardens dating to the mid-C19 by Samuel Gray, is registered at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* the formal design qualities of the two principal phases in the late C17 and mid-C19 complement each other and demonstrate the evolution in garden design over three centuries;
* the southern boundary is formed by the clear earthwork remains of the Stamford Canal, which is of considerable historic interest as the second post-Roman canal constructed in the country, retaining possibly the oldest surviving locks in Britain further along its length.
* the mid-C19 gardens in the Italianate style emulated the prevailing taste of the period with the sequence of terracing, steps, balustrading, arches and fountains forming a geometric and architectural composition;
* the pleasure grounds and classical style garden buildings create an ensemble of historical significance that demonstrates the distinctive aesthetic quality that could be achieved in Victorian garden design.
* the form and boundary of the late-C17 park is well-preserved, along with its straight lime avenue and sunken bowling green, both fashionable features in the garden design of the time;
* the layout of the mid-C19 gardens, which are given shape and structure by the finely carved stone features in the classical style, remains perfectly legible despite the unfortunate loss of the house.
* it has strong group value with numerous listed ornamental garden features, along with other listed buildings and structures on the estate, including the creamery, icehouse, lodges, coach house and the exquisite Grade II*-listed gates of around 1700.
The Uffington estate was purchased in 1673 from George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham by the Hon Charles Bertie, the fifth and youngest son of the second Earl of Lindsey, whose home was at Grimsthorpe. Bertie represented the nearby town of Stamford in Parliament for thirty years and fought in two sea battles against the Dutch. There was already a substantial house on the Uffington estate but Bertie built another house in the classical style, and it was finished in 1688. The interiors were said to be splendid with the staircase and its ceiling painted by Verrio. The park was mainly laid out in this period, and there are contemporary tree roundels (rabbit reservoirs) still in existence. The magnificent Grade II*-listed gate piers of around 1700 may have been designed by John Lumley, if he designed the identical ones at Burley-on-the-Hill in Rutland.
According to an article in Country Life (Dec 31 1904), the house was ‘altered, beautified, adorned, and in part re-edified by [Bertie’s] descendants, additions being made to it, and its terrace and gardens assumed new forms.’ During the time of George Bertie, the 10th Earl of Lindsey (1814-1877), numerous improvements were carried out under the direction of the Reverend Peter Pegus, Bertie’s reputedly unpleasant step-father, and Samuel Gray, architect and landscape gardener of Camden New Town, London. Gray came from a wealthy family of maltsters in Kingston upon Thames. The ‘Accounts for the Improvements of the Residence and grounds about Uffington House’, drawn up by Gray, are dated 28 January 1845. The improvements included the gate lodges, the terrace, the dolphin fountain, a balustrade and a triumphal arch. Gray gave advice about the garden and planting in the park, and he was probably involved in the construction of the boundary wall that enclosed the park in the 1860s, extending from the village to the River Gwash. The great drift of Wellingtonias in the park were planted soon after the species was introduced in England in 1856. The stable and coach house building was influenced by Palladio’s villas, and it accommodated racehorses, carriage horses and coaches.
The park is shown on the first edition map of 1888, bounded by Main Road to the north and east, and the disused Stamford Canal (also known as Welland Navigation) to the south and west. The house and estate buildings are located in the north-eastern area of the park, immediately south of the village of Uffington. The principal designed features are the pleasure grounds and terrace to the south of the house from which extends a long, straight avenue of trees to the west, terminating at the canal. The map shows that the park had a good number of trees, mostly in the eastern part, and an area of woodland called Spring Wood situated to the south-east, possibly planted as a screen to the canal. (the text in red is to be deleted)
The Stamford Canal forming the southern boundary of Uffington Park dates to the C17. The River Welland was navigable to Stamford during the Middle Ages but by the C16 it was seriously impeded by water mills. The consequent effect on commerce prompted the civic authorities to petition their MPs and in 1571 a Canal Act was obtained. Work seems not to have been carried out systematically until 1620 when the Act was confirmed by James I and after decades of further delays, the canal finally seems to have been completed in the 1660s. The canal was over 6.75 miles long, running from just east of the weir at Hudd’s Mill in Stamford to just west of Market Deeping at Tongue Head. There were 12 locks along its length, making it the longest locked canal in the country when it was constructed and only the second post-Roman canal to have been built in Britain. The extension of the Midland Railway to Stamford in 1846 and the arrival of the Great Northern Railway in 1856 effectively finished the canal, which by then was in poor condition. The last barge travelled up to Stamford in April 1863 and in 1865 the canal was auctioned.
In 1904 Uffington House was destroyed by a devastating fire, leaving only the outbuildings, the ballroom and the orangery surviving, the latter an unusual mid-C19 example by Samuel Gray. Country Life reported that ‘the tall yew hedges with statuary standing clear-cut against them, and the venerable trees and beautiful garden effects’ had also survived the fire. Uffington Park was requisitioned by the military during the Second World War and several structures survive from this period. In 1979 planning permission was regrettably granted to demolish the ballroom and orangery, and the stone was used to repair the estate walls. The coach house has since been converted for residential use. The estate was sold in 1993 and the current owners have undertaken extensive works to restore features of the park. The original walks and rides in Spring Wood have been cleared, and the oak avenue leading from the lodge (in the north-east of the park) to the river (in the south-east) has been replanted.
Park laid out in the 1680s around the now demolished Uffington House with gardens dating to the mid-C19 by Samuel Gray.
LOCATION, SETTING, LANDFORM, BOUNDARIES AND AREA
Uffington Park is situated about two miles east of Stamford on a level plateau that slopes very gently south to the River Welland. The park is laid out on the south side of the village of Uffington, bounded on the north and east by Main Road, and on the south and west by the disused Stamford Canal. It covers an area of approximately 230 acres, including Spring Wood which slopes steeply down to the south.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
The park is approached from the east between a pair of Grade II-listed, stone-built gate lodges built around 1840 in the early Georgian style, possibly by Samuel Gray. The drive then heads north-west to the site of the former Uffington House.
Uffington House was built in the classical style in 1688 and stood in the north-east corner of the park. It was destroyed by fire in 1904. The footprint of the house, which measured 110 by 55 ft, is grassed over but is still discernible.
The principal house is now the Grade II-listed converted coach house, designed around 1845 by Samuel Gray, an impressive U-shaped building in the Palladian style. It is situated in the north-east corner of the park.
ORNAMENTAL GROUNDS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
The pleasure grounds are predominantly laid out to the south and west of the site of the house. A terrace runs the length of its south side terminating on the west side in a Grade II-listed ashlar fountain and basin, of around 1845, in the form of a dolphin head above a moulded semi-circular arch. The ramped side walls have flowery scrolls and at the centre is a half-round basin with swept sides. On the east end of the terrace is a Grade II-listed semi-circular headed archway, of the same date, with imposts and a key block set in an ashlar wall with a cornice and flanking pilasters. Steps from the terrace lead down to a broad lawned walk, aligned east-west. On the east side is a Grade II-listed garden feature, of around 1845, in the form of a shaped gable with moulded copings and an oval panel bearing the Bertie Arms surmounted by a coronet in terracotta. It is flanked by side walls with eliptical piers. Attached to this feature a low balustraded ashlar wall creates a border around the east and south sides of the lawn, from which a view over the parkland is gained. Towards the west side of the lawn is a Grade II-listed gate and piers, again dating to around 1845, which provides access from the gardens to the lime avenue extending westwards through the park. The decorative wrought iron gate has twisted bottom verticals, lozenges in the rails, and a central arabesque. To either side are square rusticated piers with fluted faces, moulded bases and cornices, surmounted by terracotta urns. A short way along the avenue is the ruin of a sunken, rubble stone building which may have been a fernery.
Just to the east of the gate an approximately rectangular sunken bowling green is laid out which is shown on the 1887 Ordnance Survey map. This may even have been created in the late C17 when there was a fashion for bowling greens. To the north is a Grade II-listed C17 dwelling called Uffington Manor which has a historic core dating to around 1100 and an adjoining walled garden of red brick. The 1887 map shows it contained several glasshouses but these have since been removed. To the north-east a tall yew hedge avenue terminates in the magnificent Grade II*-listed gates on Main Road. The dark foliage of the yews forms the backdrop to a series of classical sculptures on tall pedestals. The avenue leads southwards to a square lawn with a broken circle of yew hedges and lines of box balls, both planted by the current owners, and specimen cedar trees probably planted in the C19.
To the east of the site of the house, there are several former outbuildings, including a garden house built in 1821 and an impressive U-shaped stable and coach house building (now residential), both listed at Grade II. A red brick building is the former cookhouse used by the army in the Second World War. A circular brick-lined water tank and pump house which pumped water from the well around the estate, shown on the 1887 OS map, is situated to the west of the coach house, along with a Grade II-listed creamery that originated as an C18 icehouse.
The principal feature of the park is the lime avenue, shown on the 1814 Ordnance Surveyor’s drawing, that probably originated in the C17. It extends from the broad walk, terminating at the border of the canal, and leading the eye westwards through the park in the direction of Stamford and its several church steeples on the horizon. It is now a double avenue, the outer line planted with much younger trees. The area of parkland between the avenue and Main Road has been ploughed. A large area of woodland, called Spring Wood, occupies the south-eastern part of the park and contains a late-C18 icehouse and a C17 spring head, both listed at Grade II, along with rides and walks. The rest of the park retains a good number of the mature trees that are depicted on the 1887 map, mostly in the eastern two thirds. A view over the Grade II*-registered Burghley Park is obtained from the south-west edge of the park. The canal that forms the southern border survives as a clear earthwork and towpath, and the canal bed is evolving as a wildlife corridor.
It is believed that the earthworks in the western corner of the park may be the remains of Newstead Priory but no archaeological investigations have been carried out or any information found to shed light on this possibility.
This list entry was subject to a Minor Enhancement on 30 April 2021 to amend description and add a reference to selected sources