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HER Number:MDV32594
Name:Shobrooke Park


Shobrooke Park is a nationally important example of a mid 19th century landscape, developed from a Regency park and incorporating the remnants of an earlier 18th century deer park. Despite the loss of the main house which was destroyed by fire in 1945, the landscape features and character have survived remarkably intact.


Grid Reference:SS 854 013
Map Sheet:SS80SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishShobrooke
Civil ParishUpton Hellions
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishCREDITON
Ecclesiastical ParishSHOBROOKE
Ecclesiastical ParishUPTON HELLIONS

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS80SE/37/4
  • Old Registered Parks and Gardens Ref (II)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • PARK (created, XVI to XIX - 1501 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

Devon County Council, 1838-1848, Tithe Mosaic, approximately 1838-1848 (Cartographic). SDV349431.

Shobrooke Park marked. The house, fishponds, Lodge and an avenue of trees along the southern side of the park are shown.

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

Shobrooke Park marked with the house and terraced gardens midway along the northern side. The map depicts a number of features within the park including four fishponds of increasing size, an avenue of trees along the south side and the shell seat, together with a number of buildings including the Home Farm and East, North and South Lodges. Comparison with the earlier Tithe Map shows the park to have been extended and earlier features demolished.

Gallant, L., 1986, Deer Parks and Paddocks of England (Un-published). SDV656.

Fulford Park surrounding Little Fulford House was partly in Crediton parish and partly in Shobrooke parish. Swete in 1796 mentions pleasure grounds at Fulford but not a deer park.

Young, A., 2005, Transcriptions from Winkleigh Biomass Plant National Mapping Programme (NMP) project (Cartographic). SDV321540.

The transcriptions correspond to the grid reference for PRN166471. The very northern extent of the NMP transcriptions, north of the A3072, does not appear to form part of the park boundary.

Young, A. & Turner, S., 2005-2006, North Devon/Winkleigh Biomass Plant National Mapping Programme (NMP) project database records, PRN166471 (Interpretation). SDV358473.

Shobrooke Park. Landscape park, formal gardens and pleasure grounds to Shobrooke House. Extent of park and some landscape features (not plotted) are visible on aerial photographs (p1). The park extents was digitally plotted during the National Mapping Programme.
Photograph reference:
1. RAF CPE/UK1995 1162-4 13-APR-1947

English Heritage, 2014, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV355683.

Shobrooke Park. Mid C19 formal gardens and pleasure grounds set in a park with C16 origins, developed and extended in the early C19, with further improvements in the mid C19.
A deer park is said to have existed at Shobrooke since the early C16 (Debois 1992). The earliest documentary evidence for the park is Donn's Map of Devon (1765), which shows a pale-enclosed area corresponding to the northern section of the present site. This is confirmed by a Plan of Fulford House, Gardens and Lands drawn in 1768. This early park was associated with Fulford House, a substantial gabled mansion built by Sir William Peryam on a site south of a public road which ran from west to east across the park from Crediton to Little Silver. The mid C18 plan suggests that Fulford House stood in enclosed gardens and orchards, with an avenue of limes leading east to Shobrooke church, and a further avenue, possibly of London plane, aligned on the south-east facade. In 1768 the deer park was separated from the house by the public road and agricultural land. During the second half of C18 the park was extended south to the road. Richard Hippisley Tuckfield inherited the estate in 1807, and in 1811 commissioned Henry Hakewill to build a house, known as Little Fulford, on a new site to the north within the old deer park. John Henry Hippisley succeeded in 1845 and successfully petitioned for the closure of the road. At the same time a programme of improvements to the house and gardens was initiated, possibly guided by the artist F R Lee (ibid). The structure of the designed landscape was essentially complete by the time of Sir John Shelley's succession in 1880. Occupied by a school during the Second World War, the house burnt down in 1945, after which the site remained empty until c 1975 when the present house was built at the south-east corner of the terrace on which the C19 house stood. The site remains (1998) private property. A restoration and management plan for the parkland planting and the gardens has been implemented since 1992.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING Shobrooke is situated c 1.25km north-east of the town of Crediton and c 250m west of the village of Shobrooke, to the south of the A3072 road which runs north-east from Crediton to Tiverton. The c 80ha site comprises some 6.5ha of formal and informal gardens set within 73ha of parkland, woodland and lakes. The site is enclosed by public roads, with the A3072 forming the north-west boundary, a minor road leading from Creedy Bridge to Shobrooke Cross to the south-west and south, and a minor road leading from Nomansland Cross to Shobrooke Cross to the east. The boundaries are generally fenced with trees and hedges lying within the site, while to the south sections of C19 iron deer fencing survive. The site rises to high ground to the north, east and south-east, from which there are wide views west across the park and Crediton towards Dartmoor.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES The approach to the site is from the A3072 at a point c 200m north-west of the house. A painted timber gate closes the entrance, with North Lodge, an early or mid C19 two-storey lodge cottage to the south-west. The gravel drive, originally the early C19 service drive, runs c 100m south-west parallel to the site boundary through oak woodland underplanted with ornamental shrubs before sweeping south-east and east to arrive at the terrace which was the site of the C19 mansion. Mid C19 wrought-iron gates are supported by monumental Portland stone gate piers with rusticated bases, swagged decoration and vase finials. Enclosed by mid C19 Portland stone parapets ornamented at regular intervals by carved stone vases, the terrace is largely laid to lawn with a tarmac drive leading to the south-east corner, the site of the late C20 house. Stone steps ascend north-west between stone piers with ball finials to the pleasure grounds, while a semicircular stone bench stands north-east adjacent to a further flight of stone steps ascending north to the formal garden. There is no direct link between the terrace and the park which it overlooks to the south. The former south approach joins the present drive c 100m south-west of the house. Descending c 300m south through the park, the drive, now a grass track, crosses the lower lake on a mid C19 ashlar bridge (listed grade II) comprising three equal segmental arches and stone parapets. Some 200m south of the bridge the former drive emerges onto the minor road forming the south boundary of the site at South Lodge (listed grade II), a mid C19 Italianate lodge built by Donaldson in Portland stone. Immediately adjacent stands an ornate mid C19 gateway with monumental Portland stone piers with carved swag decoration and urn finials from which are hung wrought-iron gates with scrolled cresting (listed grade II). The gateway is flanked by quadrant plain cast-iron railings with spear finials set on a stone plinth (listed grade II). The carriage drive through the park emerges onto the road forming the eastern site boundary at East Lodge (listed grade II), a picturesque thatched, two-storey, early or mid C19 cottage orné of stone construction. East Lodge stands some 500m north-east of the house.
PRINCIPAL BUILDING Known until 1845 as Little Fulford, Shobrooke House was built in 1811 to the designs of Henry Hakewill (1771-1830). Shobrooke was a plain, two-storey, neo-classical villa with a single-storey portico on the south facade, and it is likely that Hakewill was also responsible for the terraces shown west, south and east on the Tithe map (1841). The early C19 house was remodelled, cased in Portland stone and provided with new decorative details c 1845 by Professor James Donaldson. This house burnt down in 1945 and was not rebuilt. The present house is a single-storey late C20 structure in dark brick which stands at the south-east corner of the mid C19 terrace constructed for the previous house. The coach house c 15m north of the present house survives from Hakewill's early C19 work, and stands adjacent to a C19 brick and slate-roofed structure which housed the gas plant supplying the house.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS Formal and informal gardens lie to the north-east, north and north-west of the house. Steps ascend north-east from the carriage court to a mid C19 shrubbery walk leading c 50m north to a circular stone-edged fountain pool set in a circular lawn enclosed to north and west by steep banks planted with shrubs. Portland stone steps flanked by carved urns descend east to the mid C19 Sundial Terrace (listed grade II), a monumental series of three east-facing terraces c 80m in length, linked by axial flights of stone steps and grass banks. Below a narrow grass upper terrace, the broad middle grass terrace is terminated to the south by a high-backed carved stone bench seat backed by evergreen shrubbery above a flight of stone steps, and to the north by an elaborate stone shell seat, also approached by a flight of stone steps and surrounded by evergreen shrubbery. The third grass terrace is retained by a Portland stone wall and parapet which rises north and south breaking forward in square projections with an axially placed semicircular bastion containing an octagonal plinth of three steps. The terrace parapet is ornamented with ball finials and obelisks round the central bastion. There are wide views from the terrace east across the park to the Shell Seat and East Lodge which act as eyecatchers. West of the terraces and north of the fountain garden a rectangular formal rose garden with gravel walks, box-edged geometric beds and metal and chain supports for climbers has been restored from c 1996. Above the rose garden and terminating the shrubbery walk is the Heather Mount, a circular lawn enclosed by yew hedges, originally laid out with segmental beds of heather.
The informal pleasure grounds comprise the mid C19 American Garden c 200m north-east of the house, an area of mature conifers, rhododendrons and mixed shrubs, and the woodland garden, an area of mature oak woodland underplanted in glades with ornamental shrubs to the north and north-west of the house. Some 100m north-west of the house a rustic timber and thatch late C19 summerhouse stands adjacent to a mown grass path which joins a formal east/west walk leading east to steps descending to the former carriage court.
PARK Lying north-east, east and south of the house, the park rises to mixed plantations on the east and south-east boundaries. A series of three ponds descends in a valley south-east of the house, the upper pond c 100m south-east being of possible C16 origin (Debois 1992) and the largest, lower pond c 250m south-south-east dating from c 1811. The middle pond c 200m south-east formed part of the mid C19 improvements and is contemporary with the large lake c 400m south-west which has a late C19 rustic timber and tile-roofed boathouse on its north bank c 450m south-west of the house. The Lime Avenue, a feature of late C17 or early C18 origin c 500m south of the house rises c 800m east-north-east from South Lodge to mid C19 wrought-iron gates hung from cast-iron piers and flanked by contemporary railings at Shobrooke Cross. The Avenue continued some 300m east beyond the site to Shobrooke church, and some trees survive by the public road. Below the Lime Avenue, Keeper's Cottage (listed grade II), an early C19 rubble-stone and brick cottage with gothic first-floor windows and two ground-floor recessed porches possibly formed part of Hakewill's 1811 scheme and stands adjacent to the barns forming Home Farm near the head of a lightly wooded valley. The course of the road closed in 1845 survives as a hollow-way south of Keeper's Cottage, and C19 brick kennels stand north-west of a pool c 20m west of Keeper's Cottage. The mid C19 park carriage drive ran along the Lime Avenue and round the head of the valley above Keeper's Cottage before passing below the mid C19 Shell Seat (listed grade II) c 500m east of the house. This canopied seat is of related but simpler design to the Shell Seat on the Sundial Terrace in the formal garden, and is of brick and stucco construction with Portland stone dressings. Flanked by ball finials, the Seat is set within an enclosure planted with evergreen shrubs and pines, surrounded by low stone walls with ball finials (removed 1998), and entered through low wrought-iron gates. The park remains (1998) grazed pasture with scattered mature trees and groups of ornamental trees concentrated particularly near the site of Fulbrook House c 650m south-west of the house and on the west boundary c 260m from the house.
KITCHEN GARDEN Lying c 200m north of the house, the kitchen garden is enclosed by mid C19 brick walls c 3m high with wooden doors in the north, west and south walls. A derelict late C19 vinery stands against the north wall, and a central, circular, stone-edged dipping pool remains with a single standard apple tree. The garden is now laid to grass, but the outline of four large beds and a cruciform path can be seen. The bothy and sheds on the outer north-facing wall and the adjoining frame yard have been adapted to late C20 agricultural uses, but to the west a small brick shed survives, together with wall-trained figs and a plum on the outer west-facing wall. On the outer south-facing wall mature camellias grow in the remains of a C19 brick and glass span-roofed camellia house.

National Monument Record, 2014, Pastscape (Website). SDV355682.

Landscape park, formal gardens and pleasure grounds to Shobrooke House covering an area of 80 hectares. The park dates to the early 16th century when it is documented as a deer park. It was landscaped and extended during the early 19th century and improved in the mid 19th century. The gardens and pleasure gronds were laid out between 1845 and 1880. Restoration of the grounds started in 1992. NMR No. SS80SE9. Record last updated: 2003.

English Heritage, Aug 2003, Shobrooke Park (Register of Parks and Gardens in England). SDV338275.

Shobrooke Park has mid-19th century garden features within park and woodland of 82 hectares now largely returned to grazing and agriculture. The ground slopes down generally westward, towards the course of the River Creedy. A slight valley curves through the park from north-east to south-west, then to west, with a chain of four small lakes running from cicrca 200 metres south of site of house to within 100 metres of the western boundary of the park. Park and garden activity at Shobrooke uncertain before mid-19th century, when landscaping included plantations or belts of trees along most boundaries, a lime avenue running east-west for 700 metres inside the southern boundary, and an ornamental seat, enclosed by walls and gates on high ground 0.5 kilometres to east-south-east of site of house. The seat serves as an 'eyecatcher'. To the north-east of the house is an elaborate scheme of terraces, walls, steps, ornamental seats, fountain and sundial dated 1851. Woodland and shrubbery to west and walled kitchen garden to north-west.

Nicholas Pearson Associates, Sept 2013, Shobrooke Park, Parkland Plan (Report - Survey). SDV352483.

Shobrooke Park is considered to be a nationally important designed landscape.
The park forms an irregular quadrangle bounded by the A3072 on the north and minor roads around the east, south and west sides. It covers about 73 hectares and forms the core of the Shobrooke Park Estate. It contains a number of veteran trees, ornamental lakes and an established heronry together with several listed buildings and structures [see associated monuments].
A manor house, called Fulford, was built by the Dirwyn family in the 14th century. The name probably derives from a nearby crossing point on the River Creedy - a foul ford. It is often called Little Fulford to distinguish it from Great Fulford an estate in the parish of Dunsford. The manor house was replaced by a sizeable mansion by William Peryam in the 16th century; it is described as newly erected in 1578. Peryam may also have established a small deer park although there is no record of it has been found to date. The earliest evidence for a deer park at Fulford is on Donn’s map of 1765 which shows a small fenced enclosure alongside the new turnpike road from Crediton to Bickleigh (A3072). A plan of 1768 labels the field enclosure as Deer Park. The plan also shows two avenues running south-east and north-east, perhaps the remnants of a 17th century grand landscape. Other features on the plan such as the Bowling Green, Culvery Garden and Long Garden relate to an earlier Tudor or 17th century landscape. The Shrubbery, however, probably derives from an 18th century phase of landscaping. Early 19th century maps show continuing landscape developments at Fulford; the south-east avenue has gone, the north-east avenue has been extended towards the house and the deer park extended to the south and west. Peryam’s mansion house, however, was demolished in the early 19th century and a new house was built by Richard Hippisley Tuckfield on a high spot in the deer park which was approached from the south via a drive across the enlarged deer park, improved with new tree planting and a small lake. The new house and park were renamed Shobrooke Park in the 1830s. It is described circa 1840 as 'not extensive' but 'densely wooded' with 'a variety of beautiful scenery and numberous herds of Deer'. In the mid to later 19th century the parkland that survives today began to take shape under the auspices of John Hippisley Tuckfield. Comparison between the 1842 Tithe Map and the 1889 Ordnance Survey map shows many of the changes that took place. The public road was diverted further south enabling a longer approach drive to the house. A new South Lodge was built and the old lodge and all the structures and field boundaries associated with the Old Fulford House were demolished to make way for parkland. A lake was excavated at the bottom of the park to form the finale to the chain of fishponds started by Richard Hippisley. John Hippisley also created, in true Victorian style, formal Italianate terraces, shrubberies and pleasure grounds planted with the latest specimen trees. Several structures were built within the park including a bridge over the new lake and an alcove seat shaped like a giant scallop shell was positioned at the highest point in the park from which to admire the views, not only of the park but of the landscape beyond stretching as far as Dartmoor. The house was destroyed by fire in 1945 and it was not to be until the 1970s that Shobrooke Park was revived with a new house constructed on the empty terrace, the park and garden restored and the agricultural estate made productive once more.
Three broad phases of development can be identified therefore. Phase 1 comprises the Tudor and Georgian Fulford House, its small designed landscape setting alongside the river Creedy and its separate deer park on the hill above. The main surviving features of this phase are the 16th to late 18th century veteran parkland trees and the avenue together with earthworks of former boundary banks, roads and building platforms. Phase 2 is the relocated neo-classical mansion in the old deer park surrounded by an informal landscape park. Surviving features of this phase include the north-western and eastern boundaries of the park, Keeper’s Cottage, East Lodge and ice house. It is this phase that is recorded on the 1845 Tithe Map. Phase 3 is the re-faced mansion and aggrandised gardens and parkland of the mid 19th century. This is the landscape that largely survives today, the most striking features of which are the lakes, bridge, shell seat, terraced gardens and South Lodge.
Despite the loss of the main house, the landscape features and character have survived remarkably intact. Shobrooke Park is a nationally important example of a mid 19th century landscape, developed from a Regency park with advice from the Victorian landscape artist, Frederick Lee. The park also incorporates the remnants of an earlier 18th century deer park. The avenue is one of the earliest surviving features in the park, possibly dating back to Peryam's Tudor landscape of the 1570s. The park is considered to be of high aesthetic significance as a striking, picturesque landscape with views over the park and the distant countryside. This is due both to the natural topography but also to the clever eye of the 19th century improvers. It also has ecological, archaeological and social significance.
The key proposal of the Parkland Plan is that the significance and qualities of the designed landscape park be revealed and interpreted including the designed views and structures that survive from earlier phases. This includes the replanting of parkland trees using the 1889 Ordnance Survey map as a guide, the restoration of the shell seat, boathouse and eastern entrance gates, the reinstatement of structures and views across the ponds and restoration of circuit routes.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV321540Cartographic: Young, A.. 2005. Transcriptions from Winkleigh Biomass Plant National Mapping Programme (NMP) project. Plot of Cropmarks. Digital.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV338275Register of Parks and Gardens in England: English Heritage. Aug 2003. Shobrooke Park. Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England. Unknown.
SDV349431Cartographic: Devon County Council. 1838-1848. Tithe Mosaic, approximately 1838-1848. Digitised Tithe Map. Digital.
SDV352483Report - Survey: Nicholas Pearson Associates. Sept 2013. Shobrooke Park, Parkland Plan. Nicholas Pearson Associates Report. A4 Comb Bound + Digital.
SDV355682Website: National Monument Record. 2014. Pastscape. http://www.pastscape.org.uk. Website.
SDV355683National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2014. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Website.
SDV358473Interpretation: Young, A. & Turner, S.. 2005-2006. North Devon/Winkleigh Biomass Plant National Mapping Programme (NMP) project database records. Cornwall Council Report. Digital. PRN166471.
SDV656Un-published: Gallant, L.. 1986. Deer Parks and Paddocks of England. Deer Parks and Paddocks of England. Manuscript.

Associated Monuments

MDV107097Parent of: Boat House in Shobrooke Park (Building)
MDV32028Parent of: Bridge over Lake in Shobrooke Park (Monument)
MDV107099Parent of: Cricket Pavilion in Shobrooke Park (Building)
MDV107086Parent of: Deer Shelter in Shobrooke Park (Building)
MDV107105Parent of: Eastern Entrance Gate to Shobrooke Park (Monument)
MDV107098Parent of: Icehouse in Shobrooke Park (Monument)
MDV107107Parent of: Old South Lodge, Shobrooke Park (Building)
MDV32027Parent of: Shell Seat in Shobrooke Park (Monument)
MDV12304Parent of: Shobrooke or Fulford Deer Park (Building)
MDV21778Parent of: Shobrooke Park House (Building)
MDV107108Parent of: Shobrooke Walk (Monument)
MDV107025Parent of: Sundial at Shobrooke Park (Monument)
MDV32026Parent of: Sundial Terrace, Shobrooke Park (Monument)
MDV32025Related to: East Lodge, Shobrooke Park (Building)
MDV107095Related to: Formal Gardens at Shobrooke House (Monument)
MDV32023Related to: Gate Posts, Gates and Iron Railings, South Lodge, Shobrooke (Building)
MDV107083Related to: Kennels, Shobrooke Park (Building)
MDV107103Related to: Ley, Shobrooke (Monument)
MDV12298Related to: Little Fulford House, Shobrooke (Building)
MDV107106Related to: Road from Creedy Bridge to Shobrooke (Monument)
MDV32024Related to: South Lodge, Shobrooke Park (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6279 - Site survey and Analysis of Shobrooke Park
  • EDV7455 - Winkleigh Biomass Plant National Mapping Programme

Date Last Edited:Apr 17 2018 2:36PM