Historical context

Located to the south-east of Stadhampton and to the east of Ascott Park (although not within its boundary), this former farmhouse lies adjacent to Ascott Farm. There are two walled gardens. The house and north garden are shown on the tithe map of c. 1839, whereas the south garden is not shown until the 1st edn OS (1881) map.

Walled Kitchen Garden

The two walled gardens form a rectangle to the west of the house, occupying 0.3 ha, with the south garden adjoining the south wall of the north garden to form a north-south orientation. At present both are predominantly laid to lawn and the original paths shown on 1st edn OS map are no longer visible.

The north garden, apparently the older, has two rounded corners to the walls at the west distal end, which are shown on the tithe map. The south garden butts the curve at the junction between the two gardens. Here the 1st edn OS map shows a glasshouse along the inner west wall of the north garden, as well as another on the inner north wall of the south garden. Neither survives but the location of the latter is clearly visible as three wood-lined apertures or vents in the wall. Traces of a building between the two glasshouses may be the remains of a boiler house. Two small buildings, perhaps bothies, shown on the 1st edn OS map at either end of the east wall of the south garden, are now substantially restored.

The outer walls are predominantly limestone rubble except the north wall which is brick-built in Irregular Bond. Inner walls are mainly brick, either Flemish bonded or English Garden Wall bonded, except the south walls of both gardens which are random rubble limestone with occasional brick infills. Most walls are surmounted with rows of stepped bricks, with up to ten rows of bricks visible in places, plus rounded stone copings. The most southern wall is swept at both ends, and the outer south-west corner has quoins inserted within the stonework, said to be from a demolished nearby medieval chapel.

Current use

Ornamental with some trees, shrubs, herbaceous beds and fruit trees.

Special features

Unusual walls with stepped brickwork.

Designation status

Ascott Manor walled garden is included in the Historic England Register of Parks and Gardens at Grade II.  Further information is available in the National Heritage List for England.

Degree of completeness

Fair

Ownership and access

Privately owned and not open to the public.

Sources of information

Heritage Gateway

Unpublished site survey undertaken by volunteers with Oxfordshire Gardens Trust, January 2013.

Map reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland – Maps

Name of district

South Oxfordshire

Grid reference

SU 61341 98109

Arrival 27th July 1921

The Botanic Gardens

Magdalen College

The bike ride from Woodstock to Oxford would have been along the same road as today but a much quieter road. The 1921 [Oxford and District special edition one inch map] shows the road  passing by Yarnton, over the Oxford Canal, through Peartree Hill, past Upper Wolvercote and down the Woodstock Road. As Loyal and Sam arrived in Oxford on the afternoon of the 27th July, it was possibly quite a leisurely ride.

The following day they manage to squeeze in visits to the Botanic Gardens, Magdalen College, a glimpse of Merton, lunch at the University Museum, a flash past Wadham, St John’s College, the Bodleian (Duke Humphrey’s), the Radcliffe Camera and All Souls College.

In the Botanic Gardens Loyal was able to identify a tree that he had been unable to at Blenheim – (possibly) the ‘Cypress’ planted by ex-Kaiser Wilhelm II.  The specimen he recognised at the Botanic Gardens was a Taxodium disticheum – the cypress that Loyal may have been familiar with from the swampy south eastern States of America.  The tree planted in 1840 was unfortunately severely damaged by a freak gust of wind and the top snapped off.  It had to be felled in 1995.  To celebrate the 400 anniversary of the gardens (2021) it has been decided to plant a Taxodium very close to the original spot where the first tree grew.

Just over the road at Magdalen College, Loyal was greatly impressed with the ‘most beautiful tower  . . .but the finest thing there is the meadow with the deer, the walk along the Cherwell and best of all Addison’s walk with the beautiful trees overhanging’