History in Structure

Bridge in the 'wild garden' at Shrubland Hall

A Grade II Listed Building in Coddenham, Suffolk

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Latitude: 52.1306 / 52°7'50"N

Longitude: 1.1024 / 1°6'8"E

OS Eastings: 612435

OS Northings: 252576

OS Grid: TM124525

Mapcode National: GBR TLV.HHC

Mapcode Global: VHLBD.2Q40

Plus Code: 9F4344J2+7W

Entry Name: Bridge in the 'wild garden' at Shrubland Hall

Listing Date: 2 March 2022

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1478298

ID on this website: 101478298

Location: Mid Suffolk, IP6

County: Suffolk

District: Mid Suffolk

Civil Parish: Coddenham

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk


Bridge in a ‘wild garden’ built between 1855 and 1858.


Bridge in a ‘wild garden’ built between 1855 and 1858.

MATERIALS: coursed and squared limestone rubble.

PLAN: the bridge spans a chasm located in the ‘wild garden’ to the west of the Loggia and Panel Garden.

EXTERIOR: the substantial bridge has a semicircular single span. Large blocks of stone with chisel-draughted margins alternate with the prominent voussoirs which project beyond the archway, and the stones of the soffit have a punched finish. The bridge has a low parapet surmounted by six large plain piers of roughly finished artificial stone, through which a wooden handrail is threaded. The piers at either end have flat square caps.


The Shrubland estate is thought to have originated with the building of the Old Hall by the Booth family in the early C16 but in the 1770s the architect James Paine (1717-89) was commissioned by John Bacon to design a new hall on a new site. This Georgian building still forms the core of the present hall and occupies a dramatic site at the top of a steep escarpment. Sir William Middleton purchased Shrubland in 1788 and the same year commissioned Humphry Repton (1752-1818) to suggest improvements, some of which were carried out. Sir William Fowle Fowle Middleton inherited the estate from his father in 1830 and had the Hall extensively remodelled by the architect J P Gandy-Deering. In association with his nationally renowned head gardener Donald Beaton (who remained in charge at Shrubland until 1852), Sir William and Lady Middleton developed an elaborate and complex collection of gardens by the Hall and at the foot of the escarpment. In the late 1840s (possibly 1848) they commissioned Charles Barry (1795-1860) to continue to turn their ideas for an Italianate house and garden into reality, and it was during this time that Barry oversaw the creation of the Balcony Garden, the Descent, and the Lower or Panel Garden. The gardens were finally finished in 1854.
After his death in 1860, Sir William's cousin Sir George Nathaniel Broke Middleton took over the estate which in 1882 passed to his niece and her husband James St Vincent, fourth Baron de Saumarez. During their period William Robinson was consulted on modernising some of the planting. The Hall was used as a convalescent home during the First World War and the Old Hall as a brigade HQ during the Second World War. In 1965 a health clinic was established in the Hall by the sixth Baron and on his death the estate passed to the seventh Baron. The site has since been sold and remains (2021) in private ownership.

The bridge was designed as part of the ‘wild garden’ which was laid out between 1855 and 1858 on the sloping ground to the west of the Loggia and Panel Garden. It was described by Adveno Brooke in his book ‘Gardens of England’ (1858) as an admirable contrast to the excess of art lavished upon this spot.’ He described the bridge as ‘thrown over a chasm, where a wild luxuriance prevails, as if nature had been partly left to her own dictates.’ William Robinson made some additions to the planting in the 1880s but the essential framework had been established long before.

Reasons for Listing

The bridge in the ‘wild garden’ built between 1855 and 1858 is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* it is a rugged structure built of both roughly dressed and coursed limestone rubble which, combined with the prominent voussoirs, imparts a rustic yet architectural quality;

* it is the bold centrepiece of the wilderness scene and provides variety to the character of the gardens.

Historic interest:

* it is associated with the highly gifted gardeners and patrons who created the gardens at Shrubland, widely considered to be the most elaborate and famous gardens in Suffolk.

Group value:

* it has strong value with the Grade I registered park and garden and the Grade II* listed Hall, along with the many other listed buildings and garden features situated throughout the estate.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

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