Walled kitchen gardens in Cherwell

Wroxton Abbey

Wroxton Abbey is a 17th century house west of Banbury, with a 1727 garden, partly converted to the serpentine style between 1731 and 1751. The later house was built on the site of Wroxton Priory, founded in the early 13th century which was dissolved in 1536, with the land being sold in 1537 to Sir Thomas Pope, Treasurer of Henry VIII's Court of Augmentations and founder of Trinity College, Oxford in 1555. In 1727, the second Baron employed Tilleman Bobart, grandson of the first curator of the Botanic Garden in Oxford, to construct a formal layout possibly to a plan submitted by Henry Wise, the Royal Gardener, including a walled garden. Bobart submitted a design for a kitchen garden in 1730 and worked there until 1732. Sanderson Miller advised on the mid-18th century rococo scheme seen in part of the pleasure grounds and park.

The 1st ed. OS map of 1881 shows a rural setting for the uneven sided rectangular walled garden, situated in designed open space, with visibility screened from the Abbey some 365 metres away. There is a shelter belt, a slip to the south of the garden; eight glasshouses in the south west part of the garden with a pump; there are buildings in the south west corner of the garden, on the outside wall, which may be a gardener's cottage. In the north west part probably lies an orchard and other parts have trees mostly adjacent to footpaths. There is an avenue of trees, from the south west corner building to the Abbey grounds.

The current context shows the original landscape but with a swimming pool, horse riding arena and new horse stabling.

Designation status
Wroxton Abbey is included in the Historic England Register of Historic Parks and Gardens at Grade II*. Further information is available in the National Heritage List for England.

Degree of completeness

Wroxton Abbey is owned by the Fairleigh Dickinson University of New Jersey, USA and available as a conference or event venue.

Sources of information