Historical context

The Pusey family owned and lived on the estate from at least the 12th century. The present house was built in 1748 when the park and pleasure grounds were also laid out. The lake, Chinese bridge and temple all date from the mid-18th century. The house was the birthplace of Edward Bouverie-Pusey, Canon of Christ Church and Regius Professor of Hebrew at Oxford, whose name became synonymous with the 19th century Oxford Movement. In 1935, the Hornby family purchased the estate and employed Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe to extend the terraces of the formal gardens. Resold recently.

Walled Kitchen Gardens

To the south-west of the house and stable block is a series of four connecting walled gardens, occupying 4⅓ acres, and shown on the 1st edn OS map (1876). The walls are mainly coursed limestone rubble on the outer sides and within the slips, and brick in Flemish or English Garden Wall bond on the inner sides, with fired clay block copings.

The largest garden, joining the stables and a small walled courtyard to the east, is an irregular polygon in shape, with slips to the north and west sides. The long axis is north-east to south-west, although the principal entrances are to the north and south. Originally with perimeter and cruciform paths, the latter now repositioned to the west of the garden.

The south-west corner connects to a small and almost square Lady Emily’s garden, which also connects to the orchard and the formal garden near the temple. Cruciform paths run from the corners of the garden, linking the three pedestrian entrances, and enhancing the north-south orientation. A perimeter path alone is visible on the 1st edn OS map.

The most southern garden is an irregular shaped productive orchard which connects with Lady Emily’s garden to the north-east, and the vegetable and glasshouse garden to the north. The south side is bordered by a stream, crossed by a bridge leading to the estate. The long axis is east to west.

The glasshouse garden to the north of the orchard is irregular in shape with the long axis east to west. There are four glasshouses; the oldest runs along the north wall and is shown on the 1st edn OS map. The other structures are late 19th century, and later.

Current use

Ornamental, recreational and productive. A tennis court is now inserted in the east side of the large garden, and a swimming pool in the adjacent courtyard. The large garden and Lady Emily’s garden contain abundant ornamental trees and herbaceous shrubs, particularly roses and climbers. Productive cultivation in the glasshouse garden (vegetables and fruit), the orchard (apple, plum and cherry), and selective fruit trees in the large garden. Fowl in the orchard and the west slip.

Special features

In the north slip is a filled-in well of unknown date but not shown on the 1st edn OS map.

Three entrances between the walled gardens and the estate have 20th century iron ornamental gates that bear the ‘Pusey Horn’ (the crest of both the Pusey and Hornby families).

Designation status

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

Degree of completeness

Good. Some walls have been altered to enhance access, and some paths lost or altered.

Ownership and access

Privately owned, not open to the public.

Sources of information

British History online

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

Name of district

Vale of White Horse

Grid reference

SU 35763 96736

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’