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Garden earthworks south of West Woodyates Manor

A Scheduled Monument in Sixpenny Handley and Pentridge, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.9742 / 50°58'27"N

Longitude: -1.9774 / 1°58'38"W

OS Eastings: 401679.286828

OS Northings: 119420.456062

OS Grid: SU016194

Mapcode National: GBR 2ZH.YP1

Mapcode Global: FRA 66RJ.MG0

Entry Name: Garden earthworks south of West Woodyates Manor

Scheduled Date: 7 November 1961

Last Amended: 4 February 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012141

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25624

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Sixpenny Handley and Pentridge

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Sixpenny Handley with Gussage St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes the surviving extent of post-medieval garden earthworks
which are situated to the south of West Woodyates Manor. These comprise a ha-
ha containing a rectangular area of undulating ground, 175m south west to
north east by 100m, which slopes down towards the house on its north west
side. The house is divided from this partly enclosed area by a modern fence
and a stone balustrade, which are excluded from the scheduling although the
ground beneath is included. On the south west and south east corners of the
garden the ha-ha diverts to enclose two circular areas, resembling bastions,
the south western of which includes a mound 8m in diameter at the base and
around 4m high. This is believed to have been a prospect mound from which the
gardens and surrounding Chase could have been viewed. Surrounding the mound is
an irregular berm or levelled area, from 6m-9m wide.
The ha-ha, which has a symmetrical sloping-sided profile, is at its largest
north west of the prospect mound where it has a maximum depth of 1.35m and is
up to 6.5m wide. A fence, set along the base of the ha-ha, would have been
needed for it to have been an effective barrier; there is a modern fence along
part of the south western side.
What survives today is likely to be a substantial part of a once larger garden
which, given the location of the remnants of a third `bastion' south west of
the house, would have been square in overall plan, with the ha-ha extending
behind the house to its north west, and just excluding a chapel, which was
documented in 1291, but had been demolished by around 1774. This area has been
much disturbed in modern times and is not included in the scheduling. All of
the surviving garden features are interpreted as being of 18th century date.
West Woodyates Manor itself is of 17th century or earlier origin, but is known
to have been partly remodelled in the 18th century. It is likely that the
garden was designed then.
All fencing, gates and associated posts, the stone balustrade, water troughs,
and metalled track and drive surfaces are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Post-medieval formal gardens are garden arrangements dating between the early
16th and mid-18th centuries, their most characteristic feature being a core of
geometric layout, typically located and orientated in relation to the major
residences of which they formed the settings. Garden designs of this period
are numerous and varied, although most contain a number of recognisable
components. For the 16th and 17th centuries, the most common features are
flat-topped banks or terraces (actually raised walkways), waterways, closely
set ponds and multi-walled enclosures. Late 17th and 18th century gardens
often reflect the development of these ideas and contain multiple terraces and
extensive water features, as well as rigidly geometrical arrangements of
embankments. Other features fashionable across the period include: earthen
mounds (or mounts) used as vantage points to view the house and gardens, or as
the sites of ornate structures; `moats' surrounding areas of planting; walled
closes of stone or brick (sometimes serving as the forecourt of the main
house); and garden buildings such as banqueting houses and pavilions. Planted
areas were commonly arranged in geometric beds, or parterres, in patterns
which incorporated hedges, paths and sometimes ponds, fountains and statuary.
By contrast, other areas were sometimes set aside as romantic wildernesses.
Formal gardens were created throughout the period by the royal court, the
aristocracy and county gentry, as a routine accompaniment of the country seats
of the landed elite. Formal gardens of all sizes were once therefore
commonplace, and their numbers may have comfortably exceeded 2000. The radical
redesign of many gardens to match later fashions has dramatically reduced this
total, and little more than 250 examples are currently known in England.
Although one of many post-medieval monument types, formal gardens have a
particular importance reflecting the social expectations and aspirations of
the period. They represent a significant and illuminating aspect of the
architectural and artistic tastes of the time, and illustrate the skills which
developed to realise the ambitions of their owners. Surviving evidence may
take many forms, including standing structures, earthworks and buried remains;
the latter may include details of the planting patterns, and even
environmental material from which to identify the species employed.
Examples of formal gardens will normally be considered to be of national
importance, where the principal features remain visible, or where significant
buried remains survive; of these, parts of whole garden no longer in use will
be considered for scheduling.

The earthworks south of West Woodyates Manor incorporate one of the principal
garden features of the 18th century: a ha-ha to separate the park and its
livestock from the garden without interrupting the view from the house. The
prospect mound, to provide a viewpoint from which the house, garden and estate
might be seen to good effect, is incorporated within the ha-ha and may
therefore be taken to be contemporary. Both of these features are
well-preserved at West Woodyates Manor. They and the area enclosed within the
ha-ha will contain information about the garden's design and planting.

Source: Historic England


Ordnance Survey, SU 01NW 10, (1954)

Source: Historic England

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