Ragley Hall grounds (17th century and later)
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.
1 An 18th century landscaped park c.280 ha, surrounding a 17th – 18th century hall, with late 19th century formal gardens near the Hall. There were formal gardens in the 17th century (represented on an engraving), largely destroyed in the 18th century landscaping completed by Capability Brown before 1758, but surviving elements of the 17th century park may include the lake (?1625). 18th century structural features include a stable block, ice house, walled kitchen garden, garden house, lodges. Much of Brown’s parkland survives, but in 1874 formal gardens including parterre terraces were laid out west of the Hall.
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.
4 – 5 The OS 1:10560 1888/1886 Shts Warks 42NE/43NW clearly show a number of features, including the formal gardens, walled kitchen garden, decoy pond, lake, lodges and kennels.
6 – 7 The OS 1:10560 1905/1924 Shts Warks 42NE/43NW show the parkland shaded and mark several additional features including deer pens and deer shed, a cricket ground, boat house, two(?) ice houses and a private gasometer.
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.
9 Illustrative maps for 8.
10 Shown on Greenwood’s 1822 map.
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.