Stoneleigh Abbey Park
Stoneleigh Abbey Park, a landscape park dating to the Imperial period. The park is marked on various maps, the earliest of which dates to 1787. Some of the features of the park are visible as earthworks. It is situated to the north east of Thickthorn Wood.
1 “Stoneleigh Park” first appears on a map from 1787, but is shown as the area of the deer park – (WA 2865) – not the area around the Abbey. On a map from 1822 the deer park is known as “Leigh Park”, the park around the Abbey is called “Stoneleigh Abbey Park”. This park was quite extensive and also included “the Grove” on the opposite side of the river from the Abbey as well as Glasshouse Wood.
3 The 1886 O.S. map shows “Stoneleigh Park” reduced to the area which is now almost entirely covered by the N.A.C.
4 More recent O.S. maps still call this “Stoneleigh Park”.
5 An early 19th century landscape garden and park – with 19th century formal terraces beside a mainly 18th century mansion. Between 1808-11 the park was relandscaped, probably by Humphry Repton.
6 Illustration of extent of Park on WA 2927 card.
7 A watching brief was undertaken on test-pits dug to monitor contamination by a burst oil pipeline. Dumped deposits associated with the 19th century terracing of the gardens, presumably by Repton, were extensively recorded. A deposit of building material, probably associated with the 18th century house, was also recorded.
89 Lovie comments on extensive formal gardens around house and along river Avon with terraces. Parkland round house with woodland, drive, bridge.
He comments that future of site uncertain but parkland and gardens near house subject of a recent (at time of his report 1996/7) Heritage Lottery award; deer park a golf course.
10 Summary of results of watching briefs carried out at the Abbey during 2000. Inside the conservatory on the south side of the house, originally constructed in 1851 to the
design of William Burns, the modern concrete floor was removed, exposing the original lines of the brick edging to two symmetrical planting areas. These both had circular brick-edged planters at their corners, c.0.60m across, which would originally have held large stone urns; remnants of one such urn were found on one of the planters. At the centres of the northern edges of the two planting areas were semicircular water features, still being fed with water from lead pipes from a source to the north. To the south-east of the house, in an area where new garages have been erected groundworks revealed a series of former yard surfaces and low-lying brick flooring with associated stone walls. Brick walls were also noted. These features most likely relate to 18th/19th century lean-to sheds against the high garden wall.
11 Summary of results of watching briefs carried out at the Abbey during 2001. Reduction of the ground level to the south of the stables revealed the foundations of two
substantial greenhouses with quarry tile and brick flooring and evidence for below-floor heating. The greenhouses are two of a group of four which are shown on the Ordnance Survey maps of 1887 and 1905. To the west of these, attached to the south-east of the stable clock complex, the floor and foundations of another structure with a quarry tile floor was uncovered. The bricks that made up the walls of the structure were stamped LORD LEIGH.
12 Summary of results of watching briefs carried out at the Abbey during 1998. Evidence was recorded of the 18th century gardens and landscaping shown on contemporary plans in the form of terracing, garden walls and gateposts to the north of the house and garden walls to the west.