Designed landscape park, kitchen garden and pleasure grounds of Glemham House laid out between 1814 and 1829 by owner Samuel Kilderbee.
Reasons for Designation
The park and garden of Glemham House in Great Glemham, Suffolk, originally designed for the Kilderbee family and largely completed by 1829, is registered at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* as an example of the naturalistic English landscape tradition, featuring man-made water features, parkland and tree plantations;
* for its Reptonian pleasure grounds and Regency shrubberies, which are characteristic features of early C19 garden design;
* for its exploitation of the existing topography, placing the house at a vantage point over the parkland below.
* as a single phase Regency landscape that has undergone little alteration since it was substantially complete in 1829.
* for the clear group value gained from the relationship between the buildings and landscape, especially the Grade II* listed house which stands at the heart of the design, and the Grade II listed lodge, gateway piers, timberyard and dovecote.
Glemham Park has its origins in a larger estate which was owned by the Butley Priory in the medieval period and ultimately passed to the Edgar family in 1545-6. There may have been several earlier houses on the site but a substantial house in the style of the late C16 or early C17 existed in 1733 when it belonged to Daniel Wayth, merchant of ‘Glemham Magna’. The ownership passed to Samuel Kilderbee senior in 1787. The location of the mansion house at that time is unclear but the former stables and a dovecot of C18 date survive to the south west of the present house which might indicate a possible location.
Samuel Kilderbee junior demolished the old house and constructed the present Glemham House and its park from 1814 to approximately 1823. The property was sold in 1829 to the Moseley family who owned it until 1871 during which time they added more land to the estate beyond the park. From this date it was briefly owned by the Duke of Hamilton but following his death in 1895 is was let to a certain Misses Meinertzhagen. The estate was finally sold to the Gathorne-Hardy family (the 3rd Earl of Cranbrook) in 1913. During the Second World War the house was initially occupied by children evacuated from London then by the Army. The Gathorne-Hardy’s returned to the house after the war and the house remains in private ownership.
There is little evidence for the park before the early C19 landscape was laid out, although road alterations were approved in 1796 which allowed for the creation of New Road, a straight, formal road which forms the southern boundary of the park and may have been Samuel Kilderbee senior’s first step towards creating a new park. Documents accompanying the 1829 sale show a landscape design implemented across the main western park and the smaller eastern area (Mill Park). The boundary planting belts enclosing both parts, two clumps of trees to south west and one to the east of the house (the latter containing an ice house), the drive to the house, the lodge, lake with overflow channels to both north and south sides and the straightened, canalised stream were all in place and essentially as found today. A boat house also stood on the lake. By 1839 another clump had been added to the north of the walled garden and the open parkland in Mill Park was in arable use. Between then and the 1871 sale a gap had been formed in the north east corner of the main park, presumably to allow access to farmland which had been added to the estate. Following the 1912 sale Lord Cranbrook undertook extensive works in the park, managing trees and repairing the lake, which was described as ‘not holding water’, a problem already reported on in the 1839 Tithe Award. In the C20 the most significant changes in the park include, from 1912, infilling the open ground in Mill Park with successive woodland plantations and removing Sovereign Grove, part of the boundary planting in the northern part of the main park.
There is no evidence of earlier pleasure gardens at Glemham House, although the 1733 illustration of the old house suggests enclosed geometric garden courts in front of it. The layout of pleasure grounds wrapping around the walled garden from south to north-east with a pond in the north-west corner and separate area to the south-west depicted in 1829 still survives but has seen some change, particularly in the extension of tree planting and a private burial ground in the park to the west and the addition of a small area of arboretum to its south in the C20.
In 1829 the southern part of the pleasure grounds featured an open area with planting against the garden wall. By 1885 the latter had been removed to create a larger open space. There was also planting against the west wall of the house which was a secondary entrance to the stable yard until a rear wing was added to the house shortly after 1913. The area between it and the pleasure grounds was developed as a rose garden with some fruit trees towards the garden wall where a lean-to glasshouse stood. At this time the south terrace was created with flower beds and a lawn tennis court.
The walled garden was in place by 1829 with crossing paths and a central basin and two glasshouses at the northern end with lean-to buildings behind them. This layout has remained largely unchanged although by 1839 a third building is depicted on maps at the south west side which may have been the peach house described in 1871. At this time the lean-to buildings behind the north glasshouses were described as a tool house, seed room and apple room. By 1885 a third glasshouse is depicted on maps at the northern end of the garden. In 1905 an inventory included a vinery, conservatory and peach house, described again as a vinery, peach house and carnation house in 1912. In the 1871 sale details the walled garden was said to contain both standard trees and wall-grown fruit and may have included flower beds. Following the 1912 sale, the glasshouses were all repaired and herbaceous borders were also established in the walled garden and the pleasure grounds (possibly near the rose garden to the west of the house on part of the south terrace). The south-western glasshouse was removed in 1932 and the later one at the north end replaced in the late C20. During the Second World War the grounds around the house were neglected and the rose garden laid to lawn afterwards, but the walled garden remained in production.
LOCATION, SETTING, LANDFORM, BOUNDARIES AND AREA: Glemham Park is approximately 67 hectares and stands immediately adjacent to the village of Great Glemham, 6 km south east of Framlingham, Suffolk. The park is set in farmland comprised mainly of arable fields with some small areas of woodland. The village of Great Glemham is at the western end of the park. The park is mainly situated on land gently falling towards the south where a valley contains a stream which is a tributary of the River Alde. The stream joins the Alde at the eastern end of the park where the low-lying land of the Alde valley forms the park’s eastern extent. The northernmost part of the park is on more level ground above the valley.
The southern boundary of the larger, western part of the park (approximately 46 hectares in extent) is a narrow tree belt behind a brick boundary wall. The wall continues along the southern end of the western boundary with some views into the park from Great Glemham village. The northern part of this western boundary is formed by a belt of trees which returns eastward to form part of the northern boundary of the park. The central part of the northern boundary of the west park is marked by a hedgerow before a further belt of trees encloses it along the eastern aide. Mill Park (the eastern part of the park and approximately 21 hectares in extent) is separated by The Grove, a narrow lane with the western park’s boundary wall on one side and trees on the other. The eastern park has belts of trees around its north, east and southern sides.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES: Glemham Park is entered from The Grove through low brick gate piers with wrought iron railings and cage-work piers. The gates themselves have been removed. The entrance track passes beside a two-storey gault brick lodge, with a slate roof and flint facing on the road frontage and a polygonal single storey element facing the park entrance. A curving drive of approximately 0.4 km leads to Glemham House, initially through the western park’s boundary tree belt then across the open park with a clump of trees to its north and flanked by occasional mature parkland trees. This arrives at the entrance to the stable yard beside the mansion house and curves around in front of the house before looping back around to the south and re-joining the drive.
A secondary entrance to the western park through the boundary wall in Great Glemham village only serves The Timberyard, the former stables to the old Glemham House, now a private dwelling. At the corner of New Road and Chapel Lane in Great Glemham a single pedestrian door is set in the park boundary wall. The eastern park is accessed via field gates on the eastern side of the Grove.
PRINCIPAL BUILDING: Glemham House (listed at Grade II*) was constructed from 1814 for Dr Samuel Kilderbee. The architect was Thomas Hopper. It is of two storeys in grey brick with a moulded cornice under shallow slate roof with a flat-roofed porch on the symmetrical 5-bay eastern entrance front. The central window above has a moulded architrave. The garden (south) front is a symmetrical seven-window range with a central tripartite doorway with pilasters, entablature and glazed doors. The western elevation is of five bays with central tripartite windows and one window lowered to allow garden access. A lower, eight-window service wing projects to the north of the eastern side behind which is a later rear wing of the house which faces the eastern lawn and was originally a billiard room built in 1913. The stable yard walls continue northwards from these ranges. The northern side of the stable yard consists of a two-storey building which also forms one side of the walled garden.
The house’s relationship with the landscape is essentially as originally designed with views from the south front over the lake, from the west towards the pleasure grounds and from the east across the park and drive to the house. The eastward view originally took in the eastern park but trees along The Grove and in the centre of the east park have removed this effect.
PLEASURE GROUNDS: to the south of Glemham House overlooking the lake is a lawn and terrace, originally an area of formal planting and tennis court which is now all lawn. To the west and north-west of the mansion house is an area of pleasure grounds and shrubberies which formed part of the original, early C19, landscape and which have been developed since. This principally consists of two areas: an area of mature trees and understorey shrubbery planting wrapping around the walled garden from south to north east and former quarry pits developed as wilderness gardens at the southern end. These were originally distinct areas with a small band of parkland between them but have grown together as tree planting has been extended westwards into the park.
The present southern edge of the pleasure grounds, overlooking the lake is marked by a line of late-C19 estate fencing adapted with the addition of finely set metal bars to deter rabbits from entering the pleasure grounds from the wider park. This appears to have continued northwards along the edge of the former quarry pits, but most has been removed. This line reflects an extension of the pleasure grounds at that time and features a range of trees including a clump of mature pine trees with the open aspect of a small arboretum. Amongst the trees is a damaged aircraft propeller blade, erected as a memorial to a crash during the Second World War.
North of this is the original pleasure ground. The precise original extent of this is not clear as there is no evidence of a bank and ditch or fence. However, there is a distinctly different character with a mixture of deciduous trees including oak, chestnut and holme oak with undergrowth of honey locust and evergreens including holly, laurel, yew and box hedges which appear to follow the line of a path which formerly ran along the southern edge of the pleasure grounds. An area beside the south garden wall was formerly open but has regrown since the removal of a lean-to glass house in the C20.
At the eastern edge, opposite the mansion house and now over-shadowed by trees is a stone sundial, the gnomon of which is formed from a piece of cusped stone tracery. Running northwards approximately parallel with the walled garden is a bank and ditch which formerly marked the boundary between pleasure grounds and the park. The bank is marked by substantial mature trees, to the west of which is more recent planting combined with parkland trees in an area extended into the park. Some estate fencing remains at the edge of this extension. Beyond this is a small private family memorial garden surrounded by yew hedges and containing a fragment of possibly medieval masonry carved with figures flanked by ribs.
At the northern end of the pleasure ground the boundary bank and ditch turns westwards to a large boundary oak at the edge of the pleasure grounds before returning east to enclose a rectangular ornamental pond. The western and northern sides of the ditch also feature the remains of park fencing with a similar rabbit-proofing detail as seen at the southern end of the pleasure grounds. The bank around the pond is significantly higher than elsewhere (presumably made up of spoil excavated from the pond) and appears to have been planted with box for ornamental effect and, perhaps, the privacy of bathers, shaded by yew and beech trees. At the south-east corner of the pond is an outlet to supply the basin in the walled garden. At its eastern end the surrounding planting was originally thinned to allow views eastwards across the park to the boundary belt The Nuts. An increase in the depth of planting along the northern edge of the walled garden has partly blocked this view.
The pleasure gardens continue around the northern and eastern sides of the walled garden with the boundary bank and ditch still present on the northern side. The planting here is more in the nature of a tree screen without the complex understorey planting seen in the western side.
At the southern end of the pleasure grounds a line of former sand quarrying pits run downhill towards the stream. These appear to have been excavated into the hill side with a track connecting them before the gardens were laid out in the early C19 and then developed as a form of wilderness garden. A large pit is situated at the top of the slope and a sunken path leads downhill on the eastern side of the sequence of pits. The sunken path is flanked by yew trees and overgrown box hedging and more are planted on the edges of the pits shaded by beech trees, creating an enclosed feeling with views into the park restricted and a series of glimpses into the pits provided. This creates a distinctive character quite unlike the rest of the pleasure grounds. The path leads to a small bridge across the stream opposite which are the dove cot and former stables. From here access to the village could originally be had via the gateway beyond the stables or to the pedestrian gate in the park boundary wall on a route to the parish church.
OTHER BUILDINGS AND STRUCTURES: in the south-west corner of the main park is the former stable block to the previous Glemham House (listed at Grade II). A red brick building of two storeys with a pantiled roof, it dates from the C18 which was converted to cottages in the early C19 (when the new stables were built). A stable yard wall encloses the building on its north side. Just to the north-east of this is a dovecot (listed at Grade II) of similar date. Octagonal in form it is also of red brick with a tiled roof with a small timber turret and ball finial.
THE PARK: the park is divided in two by the lane The Grove. The main western park is larger and more complex and can be divided into a number of areas. The western area is bounded by Garden Belt, a plantation of mixed deciduous planting. Between it and the pleasure grounds some land is in arable use but there is also some pasture with mature parkland oak trees.
Part of the northern part of the west park is also in arable use including the site of Sovereign Grove which originally enclosed the north-west corner, but mature parkland trees survive in the area closer to the walled garden which remains as pasture including a clump of trees added before 1839. Haw Wood encloses the north east corner. This mixed deciduous planting has a modest bank and ditch to the park with a hawthorn hedge on the bank, but a short distance into the wood is a far more substantial wood bank, suggesting a woodland boundary which predates the early C19 park. To the south of Haw Wood the park boundary continues as the plantation The Nuts which also features a bank and ditch to the park and another substantial earth work in the belt which appears to be part of a roadway from White House farm (to the east, beyond the park). This may have continued westward into the park.
The eastern part of the west park is enclosed by Backhousepond Covert and features several large parkland trees including a clump of trees featured on the earliest plan of the park, but there is no evidence of the ice house or a gasometer which was erected in the later C19.
The southern part of the west park is enclosed along its southern boundary by New Road Covert, a belt of trees. At the western end are the former stables and dovecot and at the east the lake. A number of mature parkland trees are found in this southern area and part of one of the clumps seen on the 1829 plan. The form of the lake can be clearly discerned although it is very overgrown and only rarely waterfilled. Willow trees have become established on the northern side, changing the form of the lake and further blocking it. At the eastern end of the lake a raised embankment on the southern side has mature trees as a backdrop that appear to be an original feature of the park. The northern by-pass channel from the lake is no longer discernible but the eastern end survives as an earthwork in the mixed woodland between the end of the lake and the park boundary on The Grove. The mature trees here are chiefly beech and oak with overgrown box and holly below, perhaps suggesting there may have been some ornamental planting design, but the area is overgrown with self- seeded trees at the time of inspection (2022).
There are two weirs at the lake’s outlet. A late C19 or early C20 building beside the northern weir may include remains of the original boathouse, although its location is uncertain. The north weir has retaining walls of gault brick supported by C20 gabions, the south has a rendered or concrete floor. Neither has sluice gates. Downstream of the weirs the two channels join and leave the park under The Grove under a small C19 brick bridge.
The eastern park originally consisted of an open area surrounded on three sides by tree belts (Rookyard Belt to the north, The Chestnuts to the south and Ashground Belt to the east), but open to the west so views across the park could be had from the vicinity of the house. The three belts are of mixed, principally deciduous trees and largely intact. The central open area was partly planted with conifers in the early C20 and again replanted with mixed woodland in the later C20. This leaves the southern area open (as pasture) but the infilling plantation, plus tree growth on both sides of The Grove have restricted these views.
WALLED GARDEN: the walled garden stands to the north of Glemham House’s stable yard and was part of the original construction between 1814-1823. It is a nine-sides enclosure, the southernmost side being formed by a building which is part of the stable yard. The red brick walls enclose an area of approximately 0.809 hectares and have shallow four-stage buttresses on the exterior at and between each angle in the walls. Slip gardens were previously cultivated on the east and west sides. That on the west is demarked by clipped box hedges and overgrown. The eastern slip is laid to grass, but the hedge remains as do fruit trees where there is extensive evidence of trees having been trained on wires. A C19 melon pit, without its glazed cover, in a box hedged enclosure stands east of the slip garden at the north-eastern corner of the walled garden.
There are three original entrances: a boarded timber doorway at the south-east corner, adjacent to the stable yard, another in the centre of the north wall and one at the south-west corner. The latter features a late-C20 decorative metal gate. An additional doorway has been created in the north-west corner to provide access from a building on the outside wall which has been converted to a private residence. Internally the garden is divided in four by gravelled paths crossing at the centre where a rendered brick basin with cast iron railings sits. At the northern end of the central path is a stone sundial with copper alloy top. The paths are bordered by box hedges as is the gravel path running around the perimeter of the garden. The perimeter beds are also edged with box hedges. The north-east and west walls have wrought iron brackets from lean-to roofs sheltering plants while the east and west walls have evidence of vine eyes and wire for training plants. The south wall is formed by the back of a low two storey building in the stable yard, also in red brick with a number of casement windows looking into the garden.
Two glasshouses original to the garden flank the northern doorway. The larger western one is of unusual design in the way it follows the direction of the garden walls. It has double sash sliding roof vents set at an angle to accommodate the wall which are operated by counterweights on wires on the back wall. The centre of the glasshouse, where the wall changes direction, has been removed and the eastern end of the western half lost. The glazing bars in this part have also been removed but the west end wall and principal roof timbers are substantially original. The eastern half of the glasshouse is largely intact. The roof is comprised of vertical sliding roof sashes with horizontal ones in the front wall and narrowly spaced glazing bars, some containing original crown glass.
The original glasshouse to the east of the north entrance to the walled garden has seen extensive replacement of fabric, perhaps in the C20. The glazing pattern and roof ventilation are different from the western glasshouse as is the front wall and the roof vents which are operated by rods rather than counterweighted wires. To the east of the two original glasshouses on the north wall a late C20 lean-to aluminium-framed glasshouse stands on the brick plinth of the one built between 1871 and 1885. Another glasshouse on the outside of the south west wall built between 1829 and 1865 was entirely removed in 1932 but evidence of the lower wall and roof line can be seen on the wall while inside the garden are the remains of the heating boiler house.
On the wall behind the northern glasshouses is a succession of low, brick, slate-roofed lean-to buildings constructed as part of the initial development. The gardeners’ bothy at the western end has been converted to a residence with an extension erected in 2009. Next to this is an apple store with louvred vents on the windows and wooden racking inside, followed by a tool shed next to the garden entrance. East of the entrance is a former mushroom house with shutters on the windows followed by the former boiler house with large pipe work, but boiler and flue removed, and a bothy at the eastern end.