Historical context

The house has its origins in the 14th century and was possibly erected around a courtyard within the moat. This was substantially altered in the late 16th century. Then the property passed to Edward Richards in 1694 who made various additions and alterations and who probably, at this time, developed the enclosed garden and terraces.

Walled Kitchen Garden

The garden of approx 1/3 acre, is situated 109 metres from the moated house. It is rectangular in shape, with walls on north, west and south, with north/south aspect. The Ist edn OS (1878) map shows the south wall extending eastwards as part of a much larger enclosure. Historically this was a productive garden with glasshouses both in and outside out the walls as well as a frameyard to the north. The walls are built partly of limestone rubble and partly English and Flemish Bond brickwork, with buttresses against the inner side of the west wall.

Current use

Currently the garden is ornamental with a modern swimming pool replacing the frameyard. A perimeter path follows the line of the original. The present garden is divided into sections by high yew hedges and features two rills and an ornamental rose garden.

Special features

Two wells: one against north wall; the second outside south east corner of walled kitchen garden.

Designation status

The walled kitchen garden lies within the English Heritage, Grade II, Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.

Degree of completeness

The garden walls are complete, however the planting, frameyard and glasshouses are no longer extant.

Ownership and access

Privately owned, not open to the public but the house is clearly visible through the entrance gates.

Sources of information

Royal Berkshire History

Unpublished site survey undertaken by volunteers with Oxfordshire Gardens Trust, May 2013

Name of district

Vale of White Horse

Grid reference

SU 27907 86804

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’