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Boundary Wall to South of Ashton Wold House and Gardens

A Grade II Listed Building in Polebrook, Northamptonshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.4783 / 52°28'42"N

Longitude: -0.4108 / 0°24'38"W

OS Eastings: 508027

OS Northings: 287899

OS Grid: TL080878

Mapcode National: GBR FXZ.QXM

Mapcode Global: VHFNJ.TYPZ

Entry Name: Boundary Wall to South of Ashton Wold House and Gardens

Listing Date: 17 December 2009

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1393619

English Heritage Legacy ID: 507396

Location: Polebrook, East Northamptonshire, Northamptonshire, PE8

County: Northamptonshire

District: East Northamptonshire

Civil Parish: Polebrook

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: Polebrook All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough

Find accommodation in
Oundle

Listing Text

ASHTON

1743/0/10076 ASHTON WOLD
17-DEC-09 Boundary wall to south of Ashton Wold
House and gardens

GV II
Boundary wall 70m to the south of Ashton Wold built c1900 by William Huckvale for Charles Rothschild.

MATERIALS:
It is constructed of limestone in a random polygonal 'jigsaw' pattern with ashlar copings.

EXTERIOR:
The wall runs for approximately 225m from east to west, abutting woodland at each end. It is stepped to the east of the gateway where the land gently rises.

The gateway is located c20m from the wall's east end and leads into the three formal gardens to the east of the house. It is constructed with the same pattern of limestone blocks but is topped by a splayed dressed stone hood. Beneath is a single wrought-iron gate with scroll motif, set in an ashlar surround with shallow arch head and dressed stone cornice above. The gateway has a single step on either side topped with carved stone in a scroll motif. In simpler form it echoes C17 gateways at nearby houses including Lyvden, Holdenby and Kirby Hall.

HISTORY:
The Ashton Estate, stretching from the River Nene near Oundle in the west to Ashton Wold in the east, has been occupied since Roman times. In the C18 it was a well-known sporting estate, with avenues of chestnut trees planted in a cross as rides, and a number of fox coverts. In the early C19 the estate was owned by William Walcot and was largely farmed by tenants, with Ashton Wold continuing as a sporting ground. However, there is no evidence that it had ever contained a manor house, and when in 1860 it was purchased by Lionel Rothschild the sale particulars describe it as 'a very valuable and important landed estate', with sporting advantages, but no house adapted for the occupation of a gentleman. Both Lionel Rothschild and his son Nathaniel Mayer, 1st Lord Rothschild (1840-1915), showed little interest in estate, and the only structural work undertaken in the C19 was the building of a hunting lodge at Ashton Wold. However, when Lord Rothschild's second son, Nathaniel Charles (1877-1923) - known as Charles - discovered Ashton by accident whilst on a butterfly-collecting expedition with the vicar of Polebrook, he was so impressed by the rich fauna and flora of Ashton Wold that he persuaded his father to build him a house on the site of the hunting lodge. in 1900, Lord Rothschild commissioned William Huckvale to design not only a house, but a model farm, an entire complement of estate buildings which included the Steward's house, stables, gardeners' accommodation, a building to house a fire engine, a petrol store, kennels (now derelict) and a dog hospital. Most of the cottages at nearby Ashton were rebuilt to create a model village. The Rothschilds also became the first landowners in the country to provide their tenants with the luxury of both running filtered water and electricity, the latter generated by turbines housed in an old mill below the village on the River Nene, from where water was pumped to a water tower and so to the estate buildings. Each cottage had a bath house and was placed in a large garden planted with a lilac, a laburnum and fruit trees.

High quality design and workmanship were consistent themes throughout the estate, where traditional vernacular building traditions - Collyweston stone slate and thatch roof coverings, steeply pitched roofs, tall chimneys, limestone masonry walling and dressings and mullioned windows were all faithfully referenced.

The boundary wall to the south of Ashton Wold House is depicted on the 1901 Map of Ashton Wold and remains unaltered. It marks the boundary between the pleasure gardens to the south and east of the house and the meadows beyond, which fall gently down to the fish ponds and boating lake, where the boathouse and observation hide are located.

Charles Rothschild was a renowned naturalist, and became the leading expert on fleas in the country. He published around 150 scientific papers and was also interested in other fields, including the cultivation of rare orchids, irises and water lilies. He was a pioneer conservationist, arguing that the whole natural habitat needed to be protected, not just rare species.

Following his death in 1923 and that of his wife Rozsika in 1940, their daughter Miriam (1908-2005) inherited the estate. The house was commandeered for use as a hospital during the Second World War and the gardens and estate suffered much damage and neglect. Like her father, Miriam was deeply involved in conservation, she continued her father's work with fleas to become an international expert in her own right. She was a fellow of the Royal Society, was awarded eight honorary degrees and was appointed DBE for her services to the study of natural history.

SOURCES: Enclosure map of Lordship of Oundle with Ashton (1810), Northamptonshire Record Office 2858.
Map of estates belonging to William Walcot (1811), Northamptonshire Record Office 3703.
Map of Ashton Estate by Messrs Hayward, Surveyors (1853), Northamptonshire Record Office 1728a.
Catalogue of sale of Ashton Estate (1858), Northamptonshire Record Office ZB 706/24.
Map accompanying Conveyance of Ashton Estate to Lionel Rothschild (1860), Northamptonshire Record Office 5173.
Map of Ashton Wold (c1901), in Ashton Wold House.
Ordnance Survey maps 1886, 1900, 1926.
Rothschild, Miriam, The Rothschild Gardens (1996), 82-107 & 169.
'The Hon. Nathaniel Rothschild', obituary in The Times, 15 October 1923.
'Dame Miriam Rothschild', obituary in The Guardian, 22 January 2005.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION
The boundary wall to the south of Ashton Wold House is designated at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:
* Architecture: It has special architectural interest due to the high quality of craftsmanship and materials, and incorporates carefully designed features such as the gateway and random stone treatment.
* History: It has special historic interest as part of the estate built and developed by members of the internationally important Rothschild family.
* Group Value: It is an important structure in an unusually intact Edwardian model estate, and has considerable group value with Ashton Wold House and terraces, the formal garden structures to the east and the walled kitchen garden to the west.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

Reasons for Listing

The boundary wall to the south of Ashton Wold House is designated at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:
* Architecture: It has special architectural interest due to the high quality of craftsmanship and materials, and incorporates carefully designed features such as the gateway and use of random stone treatment.
* History: It has special historic interest as part of the estate built and developed by members of the internationally important Rothschild family.
* Group Value: It is an important structure in an unusually intact Edwardian model estate, and has considerable group value with Ashton Wold House and terraces, the formal garden structures to the east and the walled kitchen garden to the west.

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