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Parks & Gardens

ISBN 1-871344-15-8       Price: UK £6.50     International £7.95

The Historic Parks and Gardens of Leicestershire and RutlandCategory: Leicestershire Local History

Key Subjects:
English History
Medieval Parks
Hunting Parks
Deer Parks
English Countryside

Leonard Cantor & Anthony Squires
The Historic PARKS & GARDENS of Leicestershire & Rutland

Publication date: 1997
Size: 84 pages 210 x 200mm
52 pictures, 25 maps
format: paperback

Leicestershire and Rutland have seen numerous enclosures, landscapings and plantings on a grand scale over the centuries. This book uncovers a wealth of history behind our familiar landscapes. For centuries the park was an essential feature of English country estates, from medieval deer parks to the picturesque landscapes of the 18th century. The authors reconstruct the history of these parks and gardens, which have provided the setting for modest manor houses and grand stately homes since the middle ages.

LOCAL HISTORY MAGAZINE No. 69, 1998, gave the following review:–
“A superbly presented book, beautifully illustrated and an interesting read. Working chronologically the book guides us through the history of parks and gardens from mediaeval times to the present day by interpreting the development of parks and gardens to be found in the counties of Leicestershire and Rutland. It contains a wealth of information on mediaeval deer parks and monastic gardens, Tudor and Stuart gardens through to the Grand Design of the eighteenth century and the municipal ‘peoples’ parks of the late nineteenth century to the parks and gardens of this century and a consideration of the future. Of great interest to those people who are particularly interested in the history of Parks and Gardens and/or in the counties of Rutland and Leicestershire but a fascinating read for any one who wishes to learn more about and interpret the landscape around us.”
Ros Pursglove. Bibliophile, p.25

Front Cover pdfBack Cover pdf

Price including UK Postage: £6.50

Price including International Postage: £7.95

List of Figures 4
Acknowledgements 6
Introduction 7
Chapter 1: Medieval Parks and Gardens 9
Chapter 2: Tudor and Stuart Parks and Gardens 30
Chapter 3: The Grand Design: Parks and Gardens: 1660- 1750 48
Chapter 4: Parks and Gardens in the Later Eighteenth Century 56
Chapter 5: Nineteenth Century Parks and Gardens 62
Chapter 6: Parks and Gardens in the Twentieth Century 70
Appendix: List of Medieval Parks 77
Bibliography and References 79
Index 78

List of Figures

1. Aerial Photograph – Loughborough from the north-west
2. Aerial Photograph – Cold Overton Park
3. Aerial Photograph – Quarry and remains of Buddon Wood, Barrow Park
4. Map of the known medieval parks of Leicestershire and Rutland
5. Plans of eight medieval parks
6. A view of Bardon Hill, site of Whitwick Park
7. Aerial Photograph – Launde from the west
8. Aerial Photograph – The post-monastic house at Launde
9. Plan of the earthworks at the Launde site
10. Aerial Photograph – Abbey Park, Leicester
11. Aerial Photograph – Croxton Park
12. Remnant of park pale at Bagworth Park
13. A surviving section of park pale at Bardon (= Whitwick) Park
14. Plan of the arthworks at Leicester Castle
15. Plan of the earthworks at Oakham Castle
16. Ashby Castle, a view of the Hastings Tower
17. Plan of the erthworks at Ashby Castle
18. View of the formal garden eartworks at Ashby Castle
19. Engraving of the Moat House at Appleby Magna
20. Plan of the Moat House site, Appleby Magna
21. Photograph of Appleby Magna Moat House today
22. Engraving of Groby Old Hall, c. 1811
23. Photograph of Groby Old Hall today
24. Detail from Roberts’ map of Leicester, 1741
25. Plan of Burley-on-the-Hill, 1655
26. Aerial Photograph – Wistow from the east
27. Map of Wistow in 1636
28. Aerial Photograph – Stapleford Park
29. The park pale of Coleorton Park
30. Plan of the earthworks at Chilcote
31. Plan of the earthworks at Brooke House
32. Engraving of Brooke House in 1684
33. Plan of William Burton’s House at Lindley, in 1622
34. Engraving of the 18th century Hall at Lindley
35. Photgraph of the south front of Burley-on-the-Hill House
36. A view along the south avenue at Burley-on-the Hill
37. Map of the Burley-on-the-Hill site
38. Plan of the erthworks at Quenby Hall
39. Engraving of the house and gardens at Burbage House
40. Plan of the earthworks at Cotes
41. Aerial Photograph of the Coates site
42. Plan of the earthworks at Kirby Bellars
43. Map of the moated site at Breedon Lodge Farm, in 1758
44. Photograph of the Breedon Lodge moat in 1982
45. Aerial Photograph – the ruins of Bradgate House and gardens
46. Plan of the eartworks at Bradgate House
47. Detail from a map of Bradgate House in 1746
48. Engraving of Bradgate House c. 1700
49. Painting of Belvoir Castle in 1731
50. Photograph of the Belvoir Castle gardens
51. Plan of Nosely Hall, redrawn from a plan of 1743
52. Painting of Quenby Hall, from c.1710
53. Aerial Photograph – Burley-on-the-Hill from the west
54. Engraving of Exton old Hall and gardens, from a painting of 1739
55. Engraving of Staunton Harol grounds in 1716
56. Plan of the gardens at Belgrave Hall, Leicester
57. Photograph of the Triumphal Arch at Garendon Park, Loughborough
58. Photograph of Exton Park, showing ‘Fort Henry’, a Gothick summerhouse
59. Photograph of Braunstone Hall
60. Map of Rutland in 1684 by Joseph Wright, showing the four major parks of the time
61. Painting from 1790 of the design for the new hall at Donington Park
62. Photograph of Prestwold Hall
63. Photograph of Staunton Harold Hall and Church, seen across the lake
64. The reconstructed remnants of Leicester Abbey, in Abbey Park
65. Plaque comemorating the opening of Abby Park, Leicester, in 1882
66. Map of Leicester’s Abbey Park
67. Photograph of the reputed site of Cardinal Wolsey’s grave, in Abbey Park
68. Photograph of the ruins of Cavendish House, in the north-west corner of Abbey Park
69. Photograph of the River Soar, flowing through Abbey Park
70. Photograph of Victoria Park, Leicester
71. Aerial Photograph – Spinney Hill Park, Leicester
72. Photograph of queens Park, Loughborough, with the carillon
73. Photograph of Brooksby Hall and Church
74. Photograph of Bosworth Hall, now a hotel
75. Photograph of Burley-on-the-Hill, showing the enclosure for deer
76. One of the sign boards provided by the County Council at the Battle of Bosworth Country Park
77. Map of places mentioned in the book


The parks and gardens of England are among its greatest glories and probably no other country in the world has so rich and varied an inheritance of them. The two counties of Leicestershire and Rutland are no exception and although they are not renowned for famous parks and gardens and for the most part lack the sort of documentary evidence available in some counties to reconstruct their detailed histories, nonetheless they contain much to delight us.
Just how to define separately the terms “park” and “garden” is no easy matter; indeed, as is clear from the titles of many of the standard works on the subject they are often used synonymously. Suffice to say that probably the simplest difference is one of scale: as defined in this book gardens are taken to be relatively small while parks are considerably larger. In the case of many stately homes, for example, they have, or have had, gardens immediately about the house, while their parks extend much further into the surrounding countryside. This book sets out to provide a guide to the history of the more important parks and gardens with which the two counties are, and have been endowed. In that respect it is neither a treatise on horticulture and gardening, nor does it deal with the gardens of ‘ordinary’ people.
During the two millenia in which parks have been carved out of the English countryside, and latterly inserted into English towns, they have taken different forms, reflecting different social and economic criteria. First introduced by the Normans, they were originally hunting parks devised to contain deer for their lordly owners to hunt. Unlike our modern conception of parks, they were generally well-wooded to provide “covert” for the deer and were surrounded by earthbanks and paling fences to contain them. In the later Middle Ages, as


hunting became less practicable, though still wooded, they were replaced by “amenity” parks for the pleasure of their owners and to reflect their social status. Houses were built in them around which gardens were created. In the later seventeenth century, the fashion was for “formal” parks characterised, among other features, by long avenues of trees. A century later they were replaced by the sweeps of grassland, strategically placed trees and lakes associated with Capability Brown which still provide the dominant image conjured up by most people when they think of a stately home set in its parkland. Clearly, the development of these parks and gardens can only be fully understood in relation to the houses they surrounded and the aspirations and fortunes of their owners; hence, in our book, we have included something of the men and women who made them.
Another type of park, the first to be widely open to the public, arrived in the latter half of the nineteenth century, namely the municipal or “people’s” park, designed to provide some means of rest and relaxation for those living in the mushrooming Victorian towns. In our present century, many changes have taken place in our parks and gardens, as with virtually every other aspect of society. Many have been lost but much has been saved and, indeed, new ones taking new forms have been created and existing ones modified. Thanks to our increasing mobility and the willingness of owners to open their parks and gardens to the public, more people than ever before can appreciate and enjoy them. We hope that, in some measure, this small book will contribute to that appreciation and enjoyment.

Leonard Cantor
Anthony Squires
July 1997

Leonard Cantor is Professir Emeritus of Education at Loughborough University, and is a leading authority on the history of the English landscape.

Anthony Squires is a local history tutor with the University of Leicester,

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