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HER Number:MDV32596
Name:Knightshayes Court Gardens


Nineteenth century formal and terraced gardens, with later 20th century woodland gardens, within a larger park, woodland and agricultural estate.


Grid Reference:SS 960 152
Map Sheet:SS91NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishTiverton
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishTIVERTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 762407
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS91NE/17/1
  • Old Registered Parks and Gardens Ref (II*)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • GARDEN (XVIII to XXI - 1701 AD to 2009 AD (Between))

Full description

NMR, SS91NE 7 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV35792.

Landscape park and gardens to Knightshayes Court covering an area of 100 hectares. The park dates to the late 18th century and was improved during the early 19th century. The gardens were first laid out during the late 19th century and include terraced gardens and formal designs created by Edward Kemp. He was also responsible for some parkland planting. Gardens were also developed from 1950 when some of Kemp's designs were simplified and new gardens designed by Lanning Roper were created. New gardens were also laid out in 1970.

Roper, L., 1960, A Distinguished Devon Garden, 664-6 (Article in Serial). SDV35786.

Synge, P. M., 1977 - 1997, The Gardens of Britain, 58-65 (Monograph). SDV35790.

Thomas, G. S., 1979, The Gardens of the National Trust, 160-162 (Monograph). SDV61431.

Meller, H., 1984, Untitled Source (Monograph). SDV35787.

Other details: Guidebook.

Cornforth, J., 1985, Knightshayes Court, Devon I-III, 160-163 (Article in Serial). SDV325113.

Unknown, 1985, Untitled Source, 218-221 (Article in Serial). SDV325114.

Plumptre, G., 1985, Untitled Source, 251-254 (Monograph). SDV35789.

English Heritage, 1987, Knightshayes Court (Register of Parks and Gardens in England). SDV35784.

Knightshayes Court has 19th century formal and terraced gardens, with later 20th century woodland gardens, 16 hectares, within larger park, woodland and agricultural estate. Fine views. The terraced gardens south and east of the house were laid out in 1870s by Edward Kemp, and their basic framework survives. South axis from centre of house, with east west terraces and central steps down. Symmetrical formal layout at lowest level, with central pool and fountain, once flanked by roses and clipped yews. Later 20th century planting considerably simplified from 19th century scheme. Open lawn and parkland beyond. Central lawn, stone seat to east. Enclosed hedge areas from the 1870s have been redeveloped post-1945. Paved, silver garden. Former bowling green, given central pool, with statue and weeping pear. Later 20th century development at Knightshayes by Sir John and Lady Heathcoat Amory, principally the development or creation of the garden in the wood. Notable mature trees of the 19th century or earlier. Willow garden to north west of house begun in 1972. Other details: GD1460.

Griffith, F. M., 1990, DAP/QC, 13-15 (Aerial Photograph). SDV35793.

Gray, T., 1995, The Garden History of Devon: An Illustrated Guide to Sources, 134-5 (Monograph). SDV671.

The formal and terraced gardens with woodland gardens are by Edward Kemp. There was considerable redevelopment and extension from the 1950s. The extensive gardens remain with surviving features which include a walled kitchen garden and 2 summerhouses.

Keene, B. + Butler, D., 1997, Untitled Source (Monograph). SDV35794.

English Heritage, 2000, Knightshayes Court (Register of Parks and Gardens in England). SDV35795.

Formal terraces forming part of Edward Kemp's late 19th century scheme lie to the west, south and east of the house. The west terrace is connected with the carriage court by wrought iron gates flanked by sculptural yew topiary, while south of the house a series of 4 terraces descends to the south lawn which is separated from the park by a 19th century ha-ha. The upper terrace forms a wide gravel walk which extends eastwards beyond the house, creating the principal east/west axis of the formal and woodland gardens. The terraces are linked by flights of stone steps axial to the south front of the house, flanked by stone or lead ornaments. Stone steps east of the house prolong the terrace axis into the Garden in the Wood, a 19th century plantation which was developed from the 1950s as 5 woodland gardens covering some 30 hectares, each with a distinct character and planting. The South Garden, circa 200 metres south-south-east of the house, was developed in 1954 from game covert and a putting green to grow large-leafed rhododendrons. The boundary to the south and east is thickly planted with ornamental trees, and a 20th century timber summerhouse with a pitched tile roof stands adjacent to steps leading north from the South Garden to the formal terraces. Connecting the house to the stables and kitchen garden, an informal area of pleasure ground with lawns and ornamental trees extends west and north-west. A valley to the north west of the house and drive leads to a pond, circa 100 metres north-west, which formed part of Kemp's late 19th century American Garden. Reclaimed in 1970, the valley now forms the Azalea Garden with several mature azaleas, small trees and shrubs, and spring bulbs. Some 350 metres north of the house, the Douglas Fir Walk, an avenure planted circa 1870, forms an ornamental walk through a plantation of Douglas Fir and deodar cedar. Further coniferous plantations enclose the gardens and pleasure grounds to the north and north-east. Other details: GD1460.

Blaylock, S. R., 2000, National Trust: A Selection of work from the South West. Knightshayes Court, 14 (Article in Serial). SDV325115.

According to M. Hickson, gardener at Knightshayes Court, a number of architectural framents were buried when a flight of steps was converted into a ramp. Excavation of the site uncovered not only fragments of balustrade and urn but also the fragments of two marble busts. Both busts were classical in style: a female dated 1835 by Joseph Towne and a male bust dated 1850 by Henry Weekes.

The Parks Agency, 2007, The Setting of Knightshayes Park and Garden: A Historic Landscape Assessment, 52 (Report - Assessment). SDV341853.

The historic interest and the historic character of Knightshayes is closely bound up with views outward. The design of the registered landscape is unusual but by no means unique, in the extent to which it makes a feature of the nearby town as well as the pastoral landscape, and this illustrates an important aspect of 18th and 19th century culture. These views remain a significant part of the visual experience to this day.

Greener, C., 2009, Home from Home? Bothy Living in Nineteenth Century Gardens, 9 (Article in Serial). SDV347274.

In 1891 four gardeners shared the bothy accommodation at Knighthayes, the youngest of whom was Frederick Sowden aged 15.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV325113Article in Serial: Cornforth, J.. 1985. Knightshayes Court, Devon I-III. Country Life. Unknown. 160-163.
SDV325114Article in Serial: Unknown. 1985. Country Life. 218-221.
SDV325115Article in Serial: Blaylock, S. R.. 2000. National Trust: A Selection of work from the South West. Knightshayes Court. Council for British Archaeology South West Newsletter. 5. 14.
SDV341853Report - Assessment: The Parks Agency. 2007. The Setting of Knightshayes Park and Garden: A Historic Landscape Assessment. Parks Agency Report. A4 Spiral Bound. 52.
SDV347274Article in Serial: Greener, C.. 2009. Home from Home? Bothy Living in Nineteenth Century Gardens. The Devon Gardens Trust Journal. 2. A4 Paperback + Digital. 9.
SDV35784Register of Parks and Gardens in England: English Heritage. 1987. Knightshayes Court. Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England. A4 Unbound.
SDV35786Article in Serial: Roper, L.. 1960. A Distinguished Devon Garden. Country Life. Unknown. 664-6.
SDV35787Monograph: Meller, H.. 1984. Knightshayes Court. Unknown.
SDV35789Monograph: Plumptre, G.. 1985. Collins Book of British Gardens. Unknown. 251-254.
SDV35790Monograph: Synge, P. M.. 1977 - 1997. The Gardens of Britain. The Gardens of Britain. 1. Unknown. 58-65.
SDV35792National Monuments Record Database: NMR. SS91NE 7. NMR Index. Unknown.
SDV35793Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1990. DAP/QC. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 13-15.
SDV35794Monograph: Keene, B. + Butler, D.. 1997. Knightshayes Court from Knightenhaie to National Trust. A5 Paperback.
SDV35795Register of Parks and Gardens in England: English Heritage. 2000. Knightshayes Court. Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England. A4 Stapled.
SDV61431Monograph: Thomas, G. S.. 1979. The Gardens of the National Trust. The Gardens of the National Trust. Unknown. 160-162.
SDV671Monograph: Gray, T.. 1995. The Garden History of Devon: An Illustrated Guide to Sources. The Garden History of Devon: An Illustrated Guide to Sources. Paperback Volume. 134-5.

Associated Monuments

MDV43569Parent of: Pond in Knightshayes Park (Monument)
MDV75068Parent of: Walls and Gates to Walled Garden at Knightshayes Court (Building)
MDV12357Related to: Knightshayes Court (Building)
MDV61375Related to: Knightshayes Park (Park/Garden)
MDV75051Related to: Knigtshayes Lodge (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4435 - A Historic Landscape Assessment of the Setting of Knightshayes Park and Garden

Date Last Edited:Jul 13 2017 11:33AM