Details of coombe abbey park

The building or site itself might lie within the limit of more than one authority.

County: Warwickshire

Area: Rugby (District Authority).

Parish: Binley Woods.

Region: Warwickshire.

District: Rugby (District Authority).

Church: Combe Fields.

National Grid Reference: SP 40102 79655.

Late C18 park landscaped by Lancelot Brown with structures created by Henry Holland, together with mid as well as late C19 official gardens laid out by William Andrews Nesfield and also William Miller which integrate elements of late C16 as well as early C17 official yards.


The Cistercian abbey of Combe was started by Richard de Camville in 1150 (VCH). In the C13 the monks confined the surrounding towns of Upper as well as Lower Smite to create sheep field, and in the C15 the monastic buildings were boosted. The monastery was liquified in 1539 and also the site granted to Mary, Duchess of Somerset and also Richmond, who consequently shared it to John Dudley, later on Battle each other of Northumberland. In 1557 the estate was offered to Robert Kelway, Surveyor of the Court of Wards as well as Liveries, who up until 1578 allowed it to a Leicester merchant, Sir William Wigston. At Kelway's death in 1581 Combe passed to his child, Elizabeth, that was wed to John Harington of Exton, Rutland (qv). Harington transformed the former monastic structures into one of the most substantial residences in the county (Tyack 1994). John Harington was developed a baron in 1603, and also from 1603 to 1608 served as guardian to James I's little girl, Princess Elizabeth, that was fit at Combe. Lord Harington died in 1613 leaving Combe to his sis, Lucy, Countess of Bedford, who in turn sold it in 1622 to Elizabeth, widow of a former Lord Mayor of London, Sir William Craven. Girl Craven developed a team of estates for her child in Berkshire, where up until 1714 the family members had its major home at Hampstead Marshall (today called Hamstead Gardens, Berkshire, qv). Sir William's kid, likewise William, was a soldier defending the Protestant powers during the Thirty Years Battle; this led to his elevation to the peerage as Lord Craven of Hampstead Marshall in 1627. Lord Craven functioned as Protector to Princess Elizabeth, currently the widow of the Elector Palatine as well as previous King of Bohemia. Craven's estates were sequestrated under the Republic, however following their repair in 1662 Lord Craven was created an earl. An enthusiastic programme of rebuilding at Ashdown (qv), Caversham Park (qv) and Hampstead Marshall after that complied with in the mid C17. Combe was inhabited by the Earl of Craven's godson and also agent, Sir Isaac Gibson, and consequently by the Earl's relative and also successor, Sir William Craven. In 1682-9 William Winde restored parts of the house for Lord Craven, as well as adjustments were made to existing official yards; this work is displayed in a bird's- eye inscription of c 1707 by J Kip. The Earl of Craven passed away in 1697 and also was prospered by his cousin's child as second Baron Craven. The third Baron Craven died childless in 1734 and also was been successful by his sibling, Fulwar, who subsequently died unmarried in 1764. A relative, William Craven, inherited the title and also estate, and also died without issue in 1769, when he was prospered as 6th baron by his nephew, likewise William. In 1771-7 the sixth Lord Craven commissioned Lancelot Brown (1716-83) to landscape the C17 park surrounding Combe Abbey, and also a series of landscape frameworks consisting of lodges, kennels and also a menagerie were constructed to styles either by Brown, or his son-in-law, Henry Holland (1745-1806). The sixth Baron's spouse obtained prestige by making off to Europe with the Margrave of Anspach, whom she wed in 1791. The sixth Lord Craven died in 1791 and was done well by his child, William, 7th Baron Craven, that in 1801 was developed Earl of Craven. The second Earl, that inherited Combe in 1825, appointed William Eden Nesfield (1835-88) to develop a brand-new east fly 1866-72, while at the very same duration his dad, William Andrews Nesfield (1793-1881), designed official gardens around the house. These were additionally established by the third Earl's garden enthusiast, William Miller (1828-1909), who after his retired life in 1899 set up in practice as a landscape garden enthusiast at Berkswell, Warwickshire. The 3rd Earl, that had actually acquired in 1866, died in 1883 as well as was prospered by his boy, William, fourth Earl of Craven, that was sunk in a yacht accident in 1921. Combe Abbey as well as 120 acres (50ha) were sold by the fifth Earl in 1923 to John Gray, a Coventry builder, that demolished and also modified parts of your home. In 1952 Gray leased your home to the General Electric Company for usage as a hostel. At Gray's death in 1964 the residential property was sold to Coventry City Council. Today (2000) the house and also official gardens are leased for use as a resort, while the park is a country park run by the City Council; various other locations of the website are in divided exclusive ownership.

Combe Abbey is among a team of sites in Warwickshire at which Lancelot Brown advised in the mid and late C18. These include Charlecote Park (qv), Compton Verney (qv), Newnham Paddox (qv), Packington Hall (qv), Ragley Hall (qv) and also Warwick Castle (qv).


AREA, AREA, BORDERS, LANDFORM, SETTING Combe Abbey is situated c 7km north-west of Rugby and c 4km eastern of Coventry, to the north of the A427 road. The c 270ha site comprises some 6ha of formal yards and informal pleasure grounds, c 2ha of walled gardens, and also c 262ha of park, lakes and avenues. The site is bounded to the south by the A427 roadway which runs west from the town of Brinklow to Coventry, while two avenues include the south of this road to the south as well as south-west of your home. To the west, north and also north-east the site joins farming land, with the Rolls Royce engineering functions c 1km north of your house, while to the east the site joins High Wood. A minor roadway leads north via the site from the A427 roadway in the direction of Peter Hall and also the website of the medieval villages of Upper and also Lower Smite c 1.25 kilometres north-east of your home. The land to the north, west as well as south of the house is normally level. The Smite Creek flows from north-east to south-west via a superficial valley to the north and west of your home; this was dammed in the late C18 to create a substantial lake. To the eastern of your house the ground climbs to East Lodge at the south-east edge of the park. There are views throughout surrounding agricultural land to the north and north-east from within the site, while to the southern there are views throughout the A427 road towards Birchley Timber, The Grove and New Close Timber, areas of primarily deciduous woodland through which the two opportunities expand southern in the direction of the town of Brandon.

ENTRIES AND METHODS Combe Abbey is come close to from the A427 to the south. The entrance is noted by a set of late C18 rusticated rock piers (detailed grade II) of rectangle-shaped section with carved swagged accessories, and results in a dual avenue of limes and horse chestnuts where the tarmac drive extends c 670m north to come close to the south front of the house. The avenue is surrounded by large turf brinks with mid and late C20 car-parking locations to the east, c 250m south-east of your home. The south drive assumed its present kind in the mid C18 when a public road c 250m south of your house was drawn away to the course of the here and now A427 road (Demidowicz and Fryer 1994). The axis of the south drive is predicted beyond the A427 road by a method, the Noon Trip, which extends c 800m throughout agricultural land to The Grove. A method is shown on this placement in Kip's inscription of c 1707. A solution drive runs parallel to and c 100m east southern drive, passing promptly to the eastern of the Great Garden and also sweeping north-west round the yards to reach the stables north of your home. The stables (listed grade II) comprise a late C18 brick variety with mid C19 additions, including an attractive clock turret by W E Nesfield.

A mid C19 rock bridge (noted quality I) supported by two unequally sized gothic arches brings the cobbled drive across the mid C19 moat to enter a yard enclosed by the west, north and east ranges of the house. The yard is today (2000) outlined with a stone-flagged carriage circle enclosing a round formal yard comprising box-edged panels of lawn, blossom beds with seasonal planting and also a round swimming pool with an easy fountain increasing from a rock pinnacle. Today setup of the yard echoes W A Nesfield's scheme which is received early C20 photographs (Hall 1994); the bridge and moat additionally formed part of Nesfield's mid C19 changes. A late C18 or early C19 view (Aylesford Collection) shows a carriage circle consisting of an easy circular panel of yard within the courtyard and a drive approaching southern throughout lawns. This arrangement formed part of Lancelot Brown's late C18 system, which in turn replaced official yards with statues, topiary and wrought-iron entrances causing the courtyard which are received an early C18 sight inscribed by S and N Dollar. These information match broadly to the big forecourt and also carriage circle shown in Kip's engraving of c 1707.

Additionally late C18 drives (disused, 2000) approach the house from the south-west as well as south-east. The late C18 West Lodge (detailed grade II) is positioned c 1km south-west of your house as well as consists of a main block containing a triumphal curved entryway flanked by single-storey wings. Of rock building and construction with classic ornaments as well as a pair of down-swept wrought-iron entrances within the arch, West Lodge was designed by Henry Holland as part of Brown's plan of enhancements for the 6th Lord Craven. The Lodge initially contained two residences divided by the arc, but was converted to a solitary property in the late C20. West Lodge previously led to a drive which led north-east across the deer park for c 980m to sign up with the south drive c 50m south of the house; this drive was removed in the mid C20. The west drive was constructed by Brown for the 6th Lord Craven, partially following the course of the general public roadway from Brinklow to Coventry which was diverted to the south c 1775. The late C18 East Lodge (listed quality II) bases on high ground c 1.3 km south-east of your home and consists of a provided octagonal variety flanked by a pair of two-storey wings. The Lodge has ogee-headed gothic curved openings, blind arrow-slit concepts and also a machicolated parapet to the central range. Created by either Lancelot Brown or Henry Holland, East Lodge formed part of Brown's renovations for the sixth Lord Craven, and also previously led to a drive which extended west-north-west throughout agricultural land and park to get to the house. This drive had been removed by the late C19 (OS).

MAJOR STRUCTURE Combe Abbey (noted grade I) stands near the centre of the site on level ground and makes up three ranges built to the west, north and east of a yard which is confined to the south by a mid C19 stone parapet above a mid C19 moat built to the design of W A Nesfield. The here and now mansion integrates components of the C12 and also C15 reclusive buildings consisting of the cloisters to the west as well as north-west of the courtyard, and the C12 warming space (rebuilt mid C19 by W E Nesfield) to the south-east. The ogee-headed cloister arches are loaded with C16 home windows; above, the very first floor is lit by seven wooden-framed oriel home windows. The west or yard exterior was reconstructed in the late C17 to designs by William Winde and also makes up a two-storey range under a hipped roofing (rebuilt very early C20) with a central pediment ornamented with an armorial achievement. A structure to the north-west was destroyed after the sale of the Abbey by Lord Craven in 1923, while to the south-west a two-storey gabled variety makes it through from a building constructed by Sir Isaac Gibson in 1667-9. Kip's very early C18 engraving reveals a coordinating pavilion at the south-west corner of the structure, but Winde's late C17 elevation (Bodleian Library) indicates that this was never implemented. The C16 north array was modified in the late C17, as well as again in the mid C19 when a brand-new east range was constructed to layouts by W E Nesfield. The three-storey east range was created with high angled roofs, turrets and also various other gothic information, and a ground-floor game facing gardens to the east. Nesfield's east wing, completed in 1872, replaced a two-storey C16 wing to which a gallery had actually been included the very early C17 for the use of Princess Elizabeth. An elaborately sculpted rock first-floor porch at the south-east edge of the eastern wing resulted in elevated walks surrounding the Great Yard; the patio is shown in the Bucks' engraving (1729) as well as a drawing by J G Jackson (1846 ). Nesfield's east range remained in turn knocked down after 1923, leaving only the ground-floor arches and aspects of the C12 reclusive structure. A late C20 wing has been built on the site of Nesfield's structure, remembering his structure in a few of its detail. Combe Abbey was disused from 1964 until the late C20, when it was let for usage as a resort.

YARDS AND PLEASURE PREMISES The formal gardens are positioned to the eastern as well as west of your house, with further areas of casual enjoyment premises to the north. Right away to the east of the house an around rectangular area of grass is confined to the north, eastern and south by increased banks, that to the east being kept by a low stone wall (listed quality II) of late C16 or very early C17 beginning. This sunken yard corresponds to the early C17 Great Garden which was confined by raised strolls connected to your house by the sophisticated first-floor porch constructed by Lord Harington for Princess Elizabeth c 1603. In his engraving of c 1707 Kip shows the Great Garden enclosed to the north, east and south by raised strolls, as well as split right into quarters by additional strolls. A plan (1897) by the 3rd Earl's head gardener, William Miller, reveals a quartered parterre on the site of the Great Yard; this does not make it through. To the south, on the site of mid and late C20 parking area, Kip suggests a further yard comprising 7 rectangular parterres and other formal functions. These late C17 gardens, the style of which has actually been attributed to George London (d 1714) (Tyack 1994) do not endure. The gardens are today (2000) bounded to the south by a mid C19 moat which streams below the south facade of the eastern and also west wings of your home. To the east the moat is terminated by a rocky waterfall, while its south financial institution is grown with combined ornamental trees and also shrubs. The moat streams right into the lake to the west, as well as to the north-west is bounded by a stone wall surface which maintains the west terraces. Above the retaining wall a yew bush is clipped right into topiary 'mushroom' shapes. The moat and associated attributes developed part of W A Nesfield's renovations undertaken for the initial Earl of Craven c 1850.

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