Walled kitchen gardens in West Oxfordshire

Chastleton House

Context
Chastleton House lies within the village of Chastleton, next to the north Oxfordshire border with Gloucestershire, some seven kilometres north west of Chipping Norton. During the 16th century, Chastleton House was owned by the Catesby family. Robert Catesby was the owner at the end of that century and murdered in 1605, following his conspiracy in the Gunpowder Plot. After this time, the property was bought by Walter Jones and the house demolished. In its place, Jones built the present house, probably between 1607 and 1612, and is likely to have constructed the rectangular, walled garden compartments at this time or a little later. These compartments conform closely with Gervase Markham's recommendations for garden layout in his The English Husbandman of 1613. The house was taken over by The National Trust in 1991, restored and opened to the public in 1997.

Description
The 1st ed. OS map of 1880  shows a rectangular, productive kitchen garden with no paths and some trees to the north and north west. The garden lies to the north of the house and is surrounded by stone walls built by John Henry Whitmore-Jones in 1849, and entered from the south wall, with a gateway in the east wall giving access to a further walled garden situated 100 metres north of the house. The walled garden appears to be one of several parts connected to the house. A further enclosed space lies below the west front of the house and this is sub divided by a tall, clipped yew hedge.

The 2nd ed. OS map of 1900 shows evidence of a bothy outside the east wall. Currently, there are some cultivated vegetable beds and herbaceous borders edging the path; the garden is edged by the wall on the east and old hedges on the west and south.

Designation status
The gardens at Chastleton House are 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.

Access
Chastleton House is a National Trust property.

Sources of information