Robert Mitchell, 1795. Near square-plan walled garden with additional canted N wall and integral single storey, Dutch-gabled Gardener's house; pair of 3-storey octagonal gazebos and glasshouses adjoining internal garden wall with associated backsheds to N and glasshouses to S. Brick with polished ashlar dressings, buttresses and long and short quoins. Formal quadrant layout of main garden still in evidence with sundial to centre.
WALLED GARDEN & GARDENER'S HOUSE: brick garden wall (some parts lime washed and rendered where glasshouses have stood) with flat ashlar coping to top of wall.
N AND W (EXTERNAL) WALLS: brick walls with rear of Gardener's House (see below) to centre of N wall, pair of small outhouses adjoining wall to left, further outhouse to right. Brick W wall with doorway to left.
GARDENER'S HOUSE: harled single storey, 3-bay house with sandstone ashlar dressings: central door with windows to flanks. Raised Dutch-gabled sides with E window (extended to W) and gablehead stacks. To rear, 3 regularly placed bays with bipartite to 3rd bay; extension adjoining to right (including former store) with door to left and windows to right.
S WALL (remodelled 1888): formal stylised-arch entrance with decorative wrought-iron gates; large central round-headed plaque (inscribed JC with carved swags, fruit and a bird, carved date stone within shield below; also decorated on interior of elevation) breaking wallhead and held by decorative stone supports. Stepped ashlar buttresses with lion statues surmounting (left lion holding shield with 3 billets, 2 over 1 and right lion holding shield with clasped Dexter hand) flanking entrance, terminating in low wing walls holding rounded Italianate planters. Rest of elevation plain brick with regularly placed supporting ashlar and brick buttresses, alternately headed with a large carved rose or thistle finial. Interior of wall plain with carved foliate panel above arched entrance.
E WALL: plain brick wall with low doors to left and right, each door surround with ashlar long and short quoins and ashlar lintel. Inset (undated) armorial panel above now damaged timber panelled right door. Left doorway appears plain but interior shows re-used roll-moulded surround with lintel carved "16 C (heart shape) IB 90", cornice surmounting, door now missing.
INTERNAL WALL, SHEDS, GAZEBOS AND GLASSHOUSES:
S ELEVATION: brick wall with thin ashlar copes, higher than boundary wall but curving down to adjoin; large rectangular arch to extreme right at join of E wall; remains of formerly full-length lean-to timber glass houses to rest of elevation. Pair of doors to centre leading to interior of gazebos (see N ELEVATION).
N ELEVATION: brick wall with single storey, ashlar lean-to style terrace of sheds to left and right (irregularly fenestrated, but potting shed, stores, fruit and boiler room still in evidence). To centre, 1?-storey, 5-bay store (possibly garden office) with 3-storey hexagonal gazebos rising to outer bays, central door with bipartite wallhead dormer breaking eaves, single window to flanks. Gazebos: steps leading to 2-leaf timber panelled door; window to ashlar 1st floor; main access to brick 2nd floor through semi-glazed entrance door on S elevation (facing SW on left and SE on right gazebo), rectangular fanlight with spiders web glazing above; alternate plain and aediculed windows to remainder of bays; pyramidal roof behind low solid parapet; wrought-iron weather vane (comprising crossed rods to show compass points with directional arrow) surmounting. Pavilions linked at 1st floor by (now collapsed) catwalk with stone balustrade, carved stone eagle to each flank and architraved armorial plaque to centre. Door to ground floor of each gazebo on S elevation.
12-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows to gazebos and backsheds with paired 4-pane timber windows to garden office and partially glazed timber doors with fanlight above; 8, 9 and 15-pane glazing to Gardener's House. Pyramidal piended grey slate roof with lead ridging to gazebos, pitched roofs to Gardener's house and lean-to outhouses. Timber and multi-paned glazing to conservatories and greenhouses. Painted cast-iron rainwater goods. Harled low stacks to gardener's house with ashlar neck cope and later cans.
INTERIOR: east gazebo: stone flagged floor with ? height timber tongue and groove panelling to ground floor; hexagonal stone staircase with plain iron balusters and mahogany handrail rising through open-plan interior. West gazebo contains rooms - not seen, 2001; both gazebos formerly with weathervanes projecting into interiors, grilles of which survive (see NOTES).
SUNDIAL: carved classical base (at convergence of paths) supporting large brass armillary sphere.
12-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows. Pitched slate roofs to gardener's house and back stores. Painted cast-iron rainwater goods. Remains of many pitched roof glass houses with brick bases and timber uppers; some glazing remaining; partial multi-paned glassing to glasshouse ranges.
Statement of Special Interest
Part of an A-Group with Stables, Temple and Preston Hall and Lion's Gates. The garden was formed during general improvements to the estate carried out at the end of the 18th century. The idea of having ornamental turrets from which to view the garden was popular during this period. These are good examples of such structures. Usually built in pairs that flank or terminate a terrace, these have glasshouses attached to the adjoining catwalk. At the time they were considered exceptionally cutting edge. One of the gazebos contained a room that could act as "a fruit room, tea-room, library or small horticultural museum". The rooftop weather vanes were also practical inside. They projected down through the ceiling, showing occupants wind direction without the need to venture out to check. As with all new architecture, they were not universally loved. Described by a displeased J. C. Loudon, he complained "The Modern Method of Carrying summerhouses above hothouse as at Preston Hall has a very bad effect on scenery, besides their incongruity, when considered as overlooking the kitchen garden which certainly, like the kitchen itself, is not an object intended for beauty." By 1842 however, The Gardener's Magazine described it as "an excellent and superiorly designed kitchen garden" in which over 40 different varieties of fig were cultivated. The kitchen garden still has its original quadrant layout; at the centre of the walks stands a sundial on an ornate stone plinth. The section of garden near the gardener's house still has forcing greenhouses. On the exterior of the S wall, there are buttresses with lions and roses on, and an eccentric shaped doorway, dated 1888 - which adds an air of formality to garden; formal rose garden with a classical marble statue is sited here and a slip garden surrounds the whole gardens. The walled portion was latterly run as a chrysanthemum nursery until 1972; it was then used to grow vegetables. It is disused at present.