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HER Number:MDV14386
Name:Terraced Garden at Dartington Hall


A flat area flanked by parallel tiers of grass banks to the south of the Great Hall at Dartington Hall may have been an ornamantal Elizabethan or later garden feature


Grid Reference:SX 797 625
Map Sheet:SX76SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishDartington
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishDARTINGTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX76SE/3/5
  • Old Registered Parks and Gardens Ref (II*)
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX76SE12

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • GARDEN (Early Medieval to XIX - 1066 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1951 - 1980, SX76SE12 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV177575.

Site visit 17th August 1951. Construction could have been at any time between the 13th and 17th centuries.

Emery, A., 1958, Untitled Source, 184-202 (Article in Serial). SDV149801.

Possible tournament ground at Dartington Hall. South of the south court is a flat area flanked by parallel tiers of grass banks, possibly late 14th century.

Currie, C. K., 1991, An Archaeological Evaluation of the Gardens at Dartington Hall, Devon, 4-5 (Report - Evaluation). SDV177640.

Unlikely to have originated as a 'tilt yard', since the dimensions fail to take account of the overrun of a charging horse. The chestnuts on the south-west terrace (probably 300-400 years old) suggest that this is an ornamental Elizabethan or later formal garden feature. Excavation showed considerable levelling-up of the 'tiltyard' floor. The lowest layer (1.1 metres below present ground level) produced a brick and late 18th/early 19th century ceramics.

Beverley, S. M. + Nenk, S. + Margeson, S. + Hurley, M., 1992, Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1991, Vol 36, pg (Article in Serial). SDV58456.

Currie, C. K., 1993, Excavations in the Gardens of Dartington Hall, Devon (Report - Excavation). SDV149827.

Further excavations in 1993 appear to confirm that these are post-medieval formal garden features and not a 'tilt-yard'. Other details: Copy said to be in parish file but not there.

Ponsford, M., 1994, Post-medieval Britain in 1993, 151 (Article in Serial). SDV177642.

Results of Currie's 1993 excavation and synthesis of documentary evidence indicate that the 'tilt-yard' is a series of post-medieval garden features. The terraces may have been (a) constructed in conjunction with the 'South Court' arches in the Tudor period; (b) contemporary with the 17-18th century chestnuts along their south side; (c) laid out in the 19th century - which would mean that the recorded 'Dutch Garden' was the first garden on the site.

Nenk, B. S. + Margeson, S. + Hurley, M., 1996, Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1995, 251 (Article in Serial). SDV361755.

English Heritage, 2004, Dartington Hall (Register of Parks and Gardens in England). SDV346562.

A wedge-shaped valley broadening to the east, the Tiltyard is enclosed to the north by two ramped grass terraces, on the lower of which stand twelve early or mid 19th century Irish yews, known as theTwelve Apostles. To the south, there are five ramped grass terraces, above which stand a row of seven sweet chestnuts, some of which are estimated to be 300-400 years old. The titlyard assumed its present form in 1954-5 when an open air theatre was constructed as the east end of the site. The theatre replaced a parterre 'Dutch' garden at the west end of the area and a rose garden to the east. The Elmhirsts believed that the area was a tiltyard in the 14th century and that the work of 1954-5 restored it to its original form. Archaeological evidence suggests that the terraces enclosing the Tiltyard were constructed in the 16th or 17th century. Other details: Revised entry.

Ordnance Survey, 2011, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV346129.

Marked as an open air theatre on modern Ordnance Survey map.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV149801Article in Serial: Emery, A.. 1958. Archaeological Journal. 115. Unknown. 184-202.
SDV149827Report - Excavation: Currie, C. K.. 1993. Excavations in the Gardens of Dartington Hall, Devon. CKC Archaeology. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV177575Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1951 - 1980. SX76SE12. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV177640Report - Evaluation: Currie, C. K.. 1991. An Archaeological Evaluation of the Gardens at Dartington Hall, Devon. CKC Archaeology Report. A4 stapled + Digital. 4-5.
SDV177642Article in Serial: Ponsford, M.. 1994. Post-medieval Britain in 1993. Post-Medieval Archaeology. 28. Unknown. 151.
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #81242 ]
SDV346562Register of Parks and Gardens in England: English Heritage. 2004. Dartington Hall. Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England. A4 Stapled.
SDV361755Article in Serial: Nenk, B. S. + Margeson, S. + Hurley, M.. 1996. Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1995. Medieval Archaeology. 40. Paperback Volume. 251.
SDV58456Article in Serial: Beverley, S. M. + Nenk, S. + Margeson, S. + Hurley, M.. 1992. Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1991. Medieval Archaeology. 36. PDF. Vol 36, pg.

Associated Monuments

MDV8130Part of: Dartington Hall (Building)
MDV8130Related to: Dartington Hall (Building)
MDV32486Part of: Park and Gardens at Dartington Hall, Totnes (Park/Garden)
MDV45811Related to: Bowling Green, Dartington Hall (Monument)
MDV14384Related to: Dartington Great Hall (Building)
MDV8130Part of: Dartington Hall (Building)
MDV8130Related to: Dartington Hall (Building)
MDV8131Related to: South Court of Dartington Hall (Park/Garden)
MDV45812Related to: Well at Dartington Hall (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4972 - Excavations in the Gardens of Dartington Hall
  • EDV610 - Dartington Hall gardens

Date Last Edited:Feb 9 2021 10:34AM