Information for record number MWA6966:
Ragley Hall grounds (17th century and later)

Summary A landscape park dating from the Post Medieval period. It includes elements of 17th and 19th century formal gardens. The landscape park surrounds Ragley Hall.
What Is It?  
Type: Landscape Park, Kitchen Garden, Lake, Weir, Drive, Decoy Pond
Period: Modern - Modern (1790 AD - 2050 AD)
Where Is It?  
Parish: Alcester
District: Stratford on Avon, Warwickshire
Grid Reference: SP 07 54
(Data represented on this map shows the current selected record as a single point, this is for illustrative purposes only and does not represent an accurate or complete representation of archaeological sites or features)
Level of Protection National - Old SMR PrefRef (Grade: )
Registered Park or Garden (Grade: II*)
Sites & Monuments Record

Source Number  

12 Ragley Hall’s 340 hectare site comprises some 12 hectares of gardens and pleasure grounds, a lake of circa 4 hectares and 324 hectares of parkland. ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES Ragley Hall is approached from the B4085 road to the north-east. Quadrant walls which terminate to north and south in piers with rusticated quoins and inset niches flank a pair of late 18th century, single-storey, neo-classical lodges. Wrought-iron carriage gates with gilded spear finials are separated from similar flanking pedestrian gates by open cast-iron piers which are surmounted by lanterns. The tarmac drive enters the park and passes through a late 20th century metal gate 20m west of the lodges, before sweeping south-west and west. A service drive, leads 200m south-west to the stables, while the principal drive follows a level course south-east for 190m. A further service drive leads west-south-west for 100m, passing through early 19th century wrought-iron gates and shrubbery to reach the stables north-east of the Hall. The principal drive turns sharply south-west to approach the east facade of the Hall on its central axis. A gravelled forecourt is separated from the park to the east by a simple timber post and rail fence with pedestrian gates flanking a cattle grid. The forecourt is separated from the stables to the north by evergreen shrubbery and trees, and the gardens to the south by yew hedges. A further drive approaches the Hall from the minor road to the south. Evesham lodge, a picturesque gabled lodge dated 1872, stands to the west of the entrance which is situated opposite Hollybush Farm. Tapered wooden gate posts surmounted by ornamental metal finials support a single white-painted timber and metal ornamental gate which leads to the tarmac south drive. The drive leads 400m north-north-east through an area of woodland and is adjoined by wide grass verges, before crossing a cattle grid to enter the park. The drive continues north-east for 850m across the park, passing immediately to the west of the lake, before crossing a carriage drive 270m east-south-east of the Hall. The south drive sweeps north-west for 130m to the east of the pleasure grounds, before joining the principal drive 160m east of the Hall and approaching the forecourt on the central axis of the east facade. PRINCIPAL BUILDING Ragley Hall stands on the levelled summit of an eminence towards the centre of the site, and replaces an earlier house to the west, elements of which survived into the mid-18th century. gardenS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS The gravel walk to the west and below the formal terraced gardens leads south-east to an area of late 19th century pleasure grounds to the south of the Hall. The southern axial walk in the rose garden also leads to the pleasure grounds, the transition from formal to informal walk being marked by a 19th century wire and wrought-iron rose arbour 50m south of the centre of the rose garden. The pleasure grounds, situated on a south- and south-east-facing slope below the Hall, comprise two unequal areas of informal, curvilinear walks through areas of trees and ornamental shrubbery arranged to the east and west of an open glade aligned on the south facade of the Hall. A formal walk parallel to the south terrace allows views down the sloping lawn towards the park, lake and Ladies wood. The walk connecting with the western end of the terraced garden crosses this vista circa 100m south of the Hall. Below the walk a tennis lawn is terraced into the south-facing slope, while beyond a grass slope descends to a lawn laid out with four circular rose beds. To east and west the lawn is planted with mature standard apple trees, while it is separated from the park to the south by 19th century metal estate fencing. The larger area of pleasure grounds to the east of the south vista is similarly laid out. A glade or lawn slopes south-east away from the Hall, while 160m south-east of the Hall the walks lead to a circular garden enclosed by a mixed yew and conifer hedge. The garden is laid out with cruciform gravel walks which separate four quadrant lawns, each with a single quadrant herbaceous border. A central circular lawn surrounds a mid-20th century fountain basin. Some 200m south-east of the Hall, and adjacent to a 19th century ornamental wrought-iron gate leading to the park, a late-20th century stumpery flanks a gravel walk which follows the boundary of the pleasure grounds and ascends to the Hall through an area of mature trees and evergreen shrubbery. The north- and north-west-facing slope below the Hall is laid out as a further area of pleasure ground, separated from the park to the north by 19th century metal estate fencing. A gravel walk leads north from the western end of the terraced garden, sweeping north-east to enter an area of mature trees and evergreen shrubbery. Some 30m north-east of the Hall, the stables stand within the pleasure grounds. Immediately north-east of the north stable court an 18th century brick-lined icehouse stands among evergreen shrubs, while a 19th century pyramid-roofed game larder adjoins the east drive leading to the north stable court. park The park occupies undulating ground on all sides of Ragley Hall, remains predominantly pasture with significant areas of woodland and mixed plantations to the north-east, west, south-west and south of the Hall. To the east of the Hall an area of gently sloping pasture with scattered trees extends 600m east from the Hall. To the north-east Buck Clump extends along the crest of the north- and east-facing escarpment, with Beech Clump lying on the east-facing slope 670m east of the Hall. To the south-east of the Hall a mixed plantation, Kingley Clump, contains late 20th century children's play facilities. A 20th century cricket field with a timber pavilion occupies level ground south of the north drive, 670m north-east of the Hall. Ornamental planting in the north park includes scattered trees to the north and south of the north drive, Lord Henry's Clump, a plantation of oaks on high ground 1km north-east of the Hall and a mixed plantation including mature cedars 700m north of the Hall. In a valley on the north-west boundary of the park 800m north-west of the Hall, a small stream is dammed to form a rectangular decoy pool, to the east of which stands park Cottage, a late 19th century, two-storey ornamentally timbered keeper's house. On sloping ground to the north-west of the Hall icehouse Grove and Deering Hill are mixed plantations which have been largely replanted in the mid- and late 20th century, while a substantial area of woodland on the east-facing slope facing the west facade of the Hall, Pearson's wood, is a similar mixed plantation. A wide grass glade planted with an avenue of horse chestnuts extends 200m up the east-facing slope into Pearson's wood, extending the central axis of the formal terraced gardens to the skyline. KITCHEN GARDEN Lying 670m north-east of the Hall on level ground to the north of the north drive, the KITCHEN GARDEN is approached by a drive which leads north-west from the north drive at a point 130m south-west of the entrance lodges. The garden is rectangular on plan and enclosed by buttressed brick and stone coped walls 3.5m high . At the centre of the south wall a pair of brick and stone square-capped piers support a pair of elaborately ornamented wrought-iron gates with an armorial overthrow. As of 2000, the garden is laid out with cruciform beech hedges which converge at a central circular fountain pool. The four quarters are laid to grass with specimen and fruit trees, while there is further late-20th century ornamental planting near the house. Lean-to brick and timber glasshouses survive against the inner face of the north wall to the east and west of the house. A level grass terrace parallel to and outside the east, south and west walls of the KITCHEN GARDEN is the remains of a slip garden which was enclosed by hedges; the out-grown hedge survives to the east. A service yard to the north of the garden is now a further area of lawns and ornamental planting associated with Garden House.
2 house and grounds restored since 1956. 17th century gardens possibly never completed. Features include parkland, woodland, lakes, drives, lodges, pleasure grounds, formal gardens, KITCHEN GARDEN with dipping pool and a number of structures.
3 Ragley Hall replaces a Medieval manor house. The new house was begun in 1680, but it is probable that neither the house nor the formal gardens was completed at this time. The house was made habitable in the mid 18th century for the 1st Earl of Hertford and at the same time the grounds were remodelled by Capability Brown. Further work was carried out later in the 18th century, and this probably included the adaptation of Oversley Castle to enhance the view from the Hall. The house was uninhabited for part of the 19th century, and was refurbished from 1870 onwards, with new formal gardens by Marnock forming part of the work. An avenue was also in existence by 1886. The house and grounds were restored between 1956 and the late 1970s and are still owned by the Marquess of Hertford.
8 park shown on Dugdale's map of 1656, though not explicitly mentioned as a park by him. The lake may have been created by 1625 for the Tudor house (1598). Landscaping by Capability Brown largely destroyed the 17th century formal gardens around the house. 18th century maps show expansion - by 1790 a large part of Dunnington Heath was included in the park. Its extent had been reduced again by 1822, according to Greenwood's map; the Dunnington Heath area appears in closes on the Ordnance Survey 1st edition.
11 The documentary evidence for the parkland surrounding Ragley Hall was assessed during the compilation of a parkland plan in 2013. This charts the development of the landscape, from the establishment of a fortified manor house in the 15th century, through to its redesign in the 20th century.
13 In 2017-18 a watching brief was carried out on the series of six weirs and channels located to the east of the lake. weir one appeared to have been considerably rebuilt in the 20th century and the channel below weir two is of a probable 18th century date. The area below weir three was either an extension or rebuild from the later 18th century.

Source No: 13
Source Type: Archaeological Report
Title: Archaeological Report, The Weirs and Channels, Ragley Hall
Author/originator: Wass S
Date: 2017
Page Number:
Source No: 1
Source Type: Bibliographic reference
Title: Register of Parks and Gardens of special historic interest in England
Author/originator: English Heritage
Date: 1994
Page Number:
Source No: 2
Source Type: Bibliographic reference
Title: Warwickshire Register Review Data Tables (Stratford on Avon)
Author/originator: Lovie, Jonathan
Date: 1997
Page Number:
Source No: 3
Source Type: Bibliographic reference
Title: Warwickshire Register Review Report & Recommendations
Author/originator: Lovie, Jonathan
Date: 1997
Page Number:
Source No: 11
Source Type: Digital archive
Title: Ragley Hall: Parkland Plan
Author/originator: Nicholas Pearson Partnership LLP
Date: 2013
Page Number:
Source No: 12
Source Type: Statuatory List
Title: National Heritage List for England
Author/originator: Historic England
Page Number:
Source No: 4
Source Type: Map
Title: 42NE 1:10560 1888
Author/originator: Ordnance Survey
Date: 1888
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: 42NE
Source No: 5
Source Type: Map
Title: 43NW 1:10560 1886
Author/originator: Ordnance Survey
Date: 1886
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: 43NW
Source No: 6
Source Type: Map
Title: 42NE 1:10560 1905
Author/originator: Ordnance Survey
Date: 1905
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: 42NE
Source No: 7
Source Type: Map
Title: 43NW 1:10560 1924
Author/originator: Ordnance Survey
Date: 1924
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: 43NW
Source No: 9
Source Type: Map
Title: Historic Landscape Assessment Maps
Author/originator: Hooke D
Date: 1999
Page Number:
Source No: 10
Source Type: Map
Title: Greenwood's Map of the County of Warwick 1822
Author/originator: Greenwood C & J
Date: 1822
Page Number:
Source No: 8
Source Type: Unpublished document
Title: Historic Landscape Assessment
Author/originator: Hooke D
Date: 1999
Page Number:
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Word or Phrase
none Registered Park or Garden Parks and gardens that are considered to be of historic importance are placed on a register. The register comprises a variety of town gardens, public parks and country estates. The main purpose of the register is to help ensure that the features and qualities that make the parks and gardens special are safeguarded if changes are being considered which could affect them.

The gardens on the register are divided into three grades in order to give some guidance about their significance, in a similar way to Listed Buildings. The majority of parks and gardens on the Register are of sufficient interest as to be designated as grade II. Some, however, are recognised as being of exceptional historic interest and are awarded a star giving them grade II* status. A small number are of international importance, and are classified as grade I.
technique Documentary Evidence Documentary evidence is another name for written records. The first written records in Britain date back to the Roman period. Documentary evidence can take many different forms, including maps, charters, letters and written accounts. When archaeologists are researching a site, they often start by looking at documentary evidence to see if there are clues that will help them understand what they might find. Documentary evidence can help archaeologists understand sites that are discovered during an excavation, field survey or aerial survey. back
period Modern The Modern Period, about 1915 AD to the present (the 20th and 21st centuries AD)

In recent years archaeologists have realised the importance of recording modern sites. They do this so that in the future people will be able to look at the remains to help them understand the events to which they are related.
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period Medieval 1066 AD to 1539 AD (the 11th century AD to the 16th century AD)

The medieval period comes after the Saxon period and before the post medieval period.

The Medieval period begins in 1066 AD.
This was the year that the Normans, led by William the Conqueror (1066 – 1087), invaded England and defeated Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings in East Sussex.
The Medieval period includes the first half of the Tudor period (1485 – 1603 AD), when the Tudor family reigned in England and eventually in Scotland too.

The end of the Medieval period is marked by Henry VIII’s (1509 – 1547) order for the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the years running up to 1539 AD. The whole of this period is sometimes called the Middle Ages.
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period Post Medieval About 1540 AD to 1750 AD (the 16th century AD to the 18th century AD)

The Post Medieval period comes after the medieval period and before the Imperial period.

This period covers the second half of the reign of the Tudors (1485 – 1603), the reign of the Stuarts (1603 – 1702) and the beginning of the reign of the Hannoverians (1714 – 1836).
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period modern About 1915 AD to the present (the 20th and 21st centuries AD)

In recent years archaeologists have realised the importance of recording modern sites. They do this so that in the future people will be able to look at the remains to help them understand the events to which they are related.
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monument YARD * A paved area, generally found at the back of a house. back
monument POOL * A small body of water, either natural or artificial. back
monument ROSE GARDEN * A garden, often geometrical in layout, or area for the cultivation of roses. back
monument ICEHOUSE * A structure, partly underground, for the preservation of ice for use during warmer weather. back
monument TERRACED GARDEN * A garden with one or more platforms with walks, often on different levels, usually close to the house. back
monument GARDEN HOUSE * A small ornamental building in a garden, usually one-storeyed and consisting of one room. Use a more specific term where known. back
monument HOUSE * A building for human habitation, especially a dwelling place. Use more specific type where known. back
monument DECOY POND * A pond or pool with arms covered with nets into which wild birds, are lured and then caught. Monument type includes water feeder channels. back
monument WEIR * A dam constructed on the reaches of a canal or river designed to retain the water and to regulate its flow. back
monument SITE * Unclassifiable site with minimal information. Specify site type wherever possible. back
monument HERBACEOUS BORDER * A long bed planted with perennial flowers and plants. back
monument KITCHEN GARDEN * A private garden established primarily for growing vegetables and herbs for domestic consumption. back
monument FOUNTAIN * An artificial aperture from which water springs. The water supply usually came from a lake or reservoir higher up in order to ensure the necessary flow and pressure. More recently fountains have been powered by pumps. back
monument LODGE * A small building, often inhabited by a gatekeeper, gamekeeper or similar. Use specific type where known. back
monument BUILDING * A structure with a roof to provide shelter from the weather for occupants or contents. Use specific type where known. back
monument LAKE * A large body of water surrounded by land. back
monument STONE * Use only where stone is natural or where there is no indication of function. back
monument MANOR HOUSE * The principal house of a manor or village. back
monument FORMAL GARDEN * A garden of regular, linear or geometrical design, often associated with the traditional Italian, French and Dutch styles. back
monument PARK * An enclosed piece of land, generally large in area, used for hunting, the cultivation of trees, for grazing sheep and cattle or visual enjoyment. Use more specific type where known. back
monument BOUNDARY * The limit to an area as defined on a map or by a marker of some form, eg. BOUNDARY WALL. Use specific type where known. back
monument FEATURE * Areas of indeterminate function. back
monument GLASSHOUSE * A building made chiefly of glass, used to grow plants and fruit in. Use more specific type where possible. back
monument ARBOUR * A lattice work bower or shady retreat covered with climbing plants. back
monument FACADE * Use wider site type where known. Only use term where no other part of original building survives. back
monument CATTLE GRID * A pit in a road or trackway covered with a grid, usually of metal poles (but can be of wood or stone) with sufficient space between the poles to prevent animals from crossing, without restricting access for vehicles and people. back
monument DRIVE * A road/carriage way giving access from the main road to the house, stables. back
monument FORECOURT * The court or enclosed space at the front of a building or structure. back
monument ROAD * A way between different places, used by horses, travellers on foot and vehicles. back
monument WALK * A place or path for walking in a park or garden. Use more specific type where possible. back
monument CASTLE * A fortress and dwelling, usually medieval in origin, and often consisting of a keep, curtain wall and towers etc. back
monument PASTURE * A field covered with herbage for the grazing of livestock. back
monument PAVILION * A light, sometimes ornamental structure in a garden, park or place of recreation, used for entertainment or shelter. Use specific type where known. back
monument PIER * A structure of iron or wood, open below, running out into the sea and used as a promenade and landing stage. back
monument FIELD * An area of land, often enclosed, used for cultivation or the grazing of livestock. back
monument GAME LARDER * A small building in which game is hung up and kept cool. back
monument FORTIFIED MANOR HOUSE * A manor house, which was granted a royal licence to crenellate. back
monument WOOD * A tract of land with trees, sometimes acting as a boundary or barrier, usually smaller and less wild than a forest. back
monument SQUARE * An open space or area, usually square in plan, in a town or city, enclosed by residential and/or commercial buildings, frequently containing a garden or laid out with trees. back
monument GARDEN * An enclosed piece of ground devoted to the cultivation of flowers, fruit or vegetables and/or recreational purposes. Use more specific type where known. back
monument LANDSCAPE PARK * Grounds, usually associated with a country house, laid out so as to produce the effect of natural scenery back
monument STRUCTURE * A construction of unknown function, either extant or implied by archaeological evidence. If known, use more specific type. back
monument HEDGE * Usually a row of bushes or small trees planted closely together to form a boundary between pieces of land or at the sides of a road. back
monument STABLE * A building in which horses are accommodated. back
monument PLANTATION * A group of planted trees or shrubs, generally of uniform age and of a single species. back
monument CROSS * A free-standing structure, in the form of a cross (+), symbolizing the structure on which Jesus Christ was crucified and sacred to the Christian faith. Use specific type where known. back
monument GATE * A movable stucture which enables or prevents entrance to be gained. Usually situated in a wall or similar barrier and supported by gate posts. back
monument LAWN * A flat, and usually level area of mown and cultivated grass, attached to a house. back
monument STREAM * A natural flow or current of water issuing from a source. back
monument FARM * A tract of land, often including a farmhouse and ancillary buildings, used for the purpose of cultivation and the rearing of livestock, etc. Use more specific type where known. back
monument FENCE * A construction of wood or metal used to enclose an area of land, a building, etc. back
monument SHRUBBERY * A plantation of shrubs. back
monument WALL * An enclosing structure composed of bricks, stones or similar materials, laid in courses. Use specific type where known. back
monument TERRACE * A row of houses attached to and adjoining one another and planned and built as one unit. back

* Copyright of English Heritage (1999)

English Heritage National Monuments Record