Bramshill House | grounds and garden

Grounds and garden

View of Bramshill House from its grounds to the south
Gate of the park, 1899

The house is set in 262-acre (106 ha) of grounds,[74] which include an 18-acre (7.3 ha) lake north of the house.[75] The grounds form part of a Registered Historic Park that received a Grade II* listing in 1984; this was subsequently upgraded to Grade I in September 2017. Under this designation are the 25 acres (10 ha) of early 17th-century formal gardens near the house, the wider 490 acres (200 ha) medieval park, landscaped from the 17th to the 20th century, with 250 acres (100 ha) of woodland[76] and buildings including an icehouse and a folly known as Conduit House.[74] Parts of the park have been used for commercial softwood production since the 19th century.[76]

To the west of the house is Peatmoor Copse and to the east Bramshill Forest,[2] and the grounds contained what was known as the "Green Court" and the "Flower Garden" at the time of William Henry Cope in the 1880s. The Grade I listed gatehouse dates to the time of the Foxleys.[77] The fir trees in the grounds are reputed to have been planted "as a memento of his former home" by James I, who brought them from Scotland.[69][78] The formal gardens were first laid out by Edward la Zouche, a horticulturist. Sir John Cope redesigned the gardens and continued the planting of trees in the park. At the close of the 18th century the grounds were re-landscaped to be less formal, and some areas in the south were returned to parkland.[9]

Main entrance

Bramshill Park was conceived as a "hunting box" for Henry Frederick and became a popular estate for hunting.[69] On 24 July 1621, while hunting in the park, George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, accidentally shot and killed one of the gamekeepers with his crossbow.[12] An inquiry cleared him of murder.[62] Another notable clergyman/hunter who frequented Bramshill was Charles Kingsley, rector of Eversley,[79] who hunted fox and deer and collected butterflies there[80] and frequently took his family and friends.[81] Kingsley was reportedly especially enamoured of the fir trees, which he considered "a source of constant delight",[78] fondly naming them "James the First's gnarled giants".[82] In the 19th century, Sir John Cope, a friend of Kingsley's, was known as a supporter of the fox hunt and especially as a breeder of fox hounds.[83][84] The opening of the season at Bramshill in the late 1840s was noted in the British hunting press.[85]

The main avenue approaches from the southwest, through an arched gateway formed by two Grade II listed early 19th-century lodges,[86] before crossing the Broad Water formed by the River Hart by a Grade I listed early 19th-century bridge with two arches.[87] There are separate listings for other structures near the house, including the Grade I listed early 17th-century triple-arched gateway on the route to Reading to the northeast of the house,[88] Grade I listed early 17th-century boundary walls and turrets to the south and west,[89] Grade II listed boundary walls and gate-piers to the west, including the kitchen garden,[90] Grade I listed garden walls and gateways to the north and east,[91] and the Grade II listed late 18th-century stable block to the north.[92]

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