Historical context

The manor house at Appleton village, six miles south-west of Oxford, lies on the south side of the village, adjacent to the church yard of St Lawrence. The house was built in the late 12th century, and altered and extended in the 16th, 17th and 20th centuries. In the late 20th century, the grounds and outbuildings were divided into two separate properties, with around two-thirds of the walled kitchen garden remaining with the manor house. The ornamental gardens of the manor house were recently redesigned by Arne Maynard.

Walled Kitchen Garden

The kitchen garden lies 30 metres to the north of the house, through the principal and nearest entrance, which is a limestone arched porch with wooden door. The 1st edn OS (1886) map shows the garden is irregular in shape, the long axis north-west to south-east, 0.2 ha in area. The seven original walls are complete, and in addition there is a modern coursed limestone wall across the north end that separates the two properties.

The 1st edn OS map shows perimeter and cruciform paths, which survive, but there are no glasshouses or other buildings indicated. The present glasshouse in the north-west quadrant is a restored example and not original to this garden. The cottage in the south-west corner was built in the 20th century as a gardener’s house.

The 18th century walls are either limestone rubble with brick or mortared copings (south and west walls), or are a combination of limestone rubble base with up to 15 rows of bricks above, plus brick copings (east and south-east walls). These latter walls are the highest, up to 2.5 metres, and visible from Church Road and the church yard. The upper brick layers, approximately half the height, are stretcher bonded or English Garden Wall bonded, and the outer walls contain regularly spaced brick pilasters.

A double line of old apple trees follows the main north–south walk and continues through the modern wall at the north end into the neighboring garden. There are also infills of more recently planted apple and pear trees. There is very little evidence of fixtures for original wall trained fruit.

Current use

Ornamental and productive (vegetables, fruit, herbs). Fruit trees trained on walls.

Part of the original stable yard now forms a separate part-walled flower garden.

Special features

Walls. Old fruit trees with labels.

Oxfordshire Fruit

Designation status

The kitchen garden walls, with the gatehouse and barn, are listed Grade II by Historic England as buildings of special architectural or historic interest.

Degree of completeness

Good. The walls and paths are extant.

Ownership and access

Privately owned, not open to the public. Two outer walls (east and south-east) are visible from the church yard and its approach road.

Sources of information

Historic England

Unpublished site survey undertaken by volunteers with Oxfordshire Gardens Trust, November 2014

Map reproduced by permission the National Library of Scotland – Maps

Oxfordshire Fruit from The Walled Kitchen Gardens of Oxfordshire p. 24 The Oxfordshire Gardens Trust 2014

Name of district

Vale of White Horse

Grid reference

SP 44351 01564

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’