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Wyastone Leys house and park, Little Doward

SMR Number
: 30090
Grid Reference
: SO 5345 1588

Originally built c 1795 by S O Attley of London on a virgin site. The Leys was sold to Mr Meek who built the loft stone wall 2.5m high by the turnpike road. Meek sold it to Blakemore c1820. The Manor was built sometime between 1821 and 1838. Richard Blakemore purchased the Hadnock Estate from Mrs Philip Griffin in 1824. By 1821 Hadnock House had been razed to the ground for building materials which were ferried across the river and used in the mansion known today as Wyastone Leys. Where the Leys park, woods and gardens now stand used to be dotted with cottages. Blakemore pulled down the cottages, made new roads, enclosed the park, added the Lodge and its iron railings. He introduced deer from Llantrithyd, Glamorgan. There were conflicts with the cottagers about the common land, they claimed rights of grazing and timber for charocal burning (1), (4). John Bannerman's house, added to and altered for him by William Burns in 1861-2 (2)(3) The turnpiking of the Ross - Monmouth road in 1821 allowed Richard Blakemore, who then owned Wyastone Leys, to increase the size of his estate. The new road ran above the valley and Blakemore turned the old road into a drive. New woodlands screened the turnpike road from the house. The 1842 tithe map shows that the land adjacent to the drive had become 'Paddocks'; there are also 'Gardens' around the house and a 'Lawn' on the SE. Both Bryant's 1835 county map and the tithe map show a walled garden NW of the house. Blakemore also rebuilt his mansion, and removed various cottages and smallholdings to improve the view. He enclosed Little Doward, previously common land, in 1833 and created a deer park. The 320 acre park was enclosed by a still-surviving stone wall. An observatory was built on the summit of Little Doward Hill. An 1861 sale catalogue mentions extensive pleasure grounds and gardens, with conservatories, vineries and a gardener's house. Wyastone was bought by John Bannerman of Manchester. He rebuilt the house, with complementary lodges, new stables, kennels (with kennelman's house), park keeper's lodge and a belvedere. There was new planting around the new stables, and the walled garden was moved to the N of the house. The deer park was abandoned and the observatory removed in the early 20th century. Little Doward Hill is now an SSSI and is owned by the Woodland Trust. The mansion and some of the park are owned by Nimbus Records, and public concerts are sometimes held there. (6)

Monument Type(s)

  1. HOUSE (19th Century - 1801 AD to 1900 AD)
  2. LANDSCAPE PARK (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Files

    Sources and Further Reading

    1. <1>SHE13551 - Bibliographic reference: Jenkins, Gareth. 1975. Blakemore's Folly. The iron tower on the Little Doward. Monmouth Archaeological Society.
    2. <2>SHE10741 - Bibliographic reference: Pevsner, N. 1963. Herefordshire. The Buildings of England.
    3. <3>SHE13984 - Unpublished Report: Border Archaeology. 04/06/1999. The Little Doward. Archaeological Walkover and Desktop Survey (for the Woodland Trust).. Border Archaeology. 6.12.
    4. <4>SHE13552 - Bibliographic reference: Howard, M A. 1994. A Landscape History of Ganarew, Herefordshire. Pink Publication No 5. Ross on Wye and District Civic Society, Pink Publi.
    5. <5>SHE2118 - Cartographic material: Woolhope Field Names Survey. 1842. Ganarew Tithe Award. Country Record Office.
    6. <6>SHE14573 - Bibliographic reference: Whitehead D and J Patton (ed). 2001. A Survey of Historic Parks and Gardens in Herefordshire. Hereford and Worcester Gardens Trust.
    Last Updated: 23/07/2010 12:35:57