Bourton House along with its stables, coach house, and brew house has existed since the late 1500s. The complex was constructed on former monastic land. The owner at the time, Richard Palmer, placed a dedication stone, with the date 1570 and his initials on the tithe barn, now a Grade 1 Listed building. It is currently home to a contemporary gallery of art and design.
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Sir Nicholas Overbury, owner by 1598, rebuilt the house as a foursquare Jacobean one. By the early 1700s this style was out of fashion, and Alexander Popham, the then owner, rebuilt it by removing all but the lower ground floor except for the towers which he kept. He added Georgian sash windows.
The land which was once part of the estate was sold off to Sezincote in 1851, therefore only the three-acre garden and seven acre pasture remain of the original holdings. In 1983 work began to restore the neglected three-acre garden, pasture land, and orchard. A pair of Georgian gates sets off the garden along with contemporary sculpture and fountains and pools.
The 18th century raised walk was made into a series of terraces, and herbaceous borders were added to the main lawn. Box hedges are used in the design of parterres, knots, and topiary.
Also added were raised alpine troughs, a shadehouse, and a sub-tropical border. The walled pasture is planted with specimen trees. Spring flowers include snowdrops, aconites, scillas, hellebores, daffodils, and tulips.
The garden won a Christies/HHA garden of the year award in 2006.
Bourton House Garden
Located at Bourton-on-the-Hill
1.75 miles west of Moreton-in-Marsh on the A44, Gloucestershire
Tel. 01386 700754
Open: Garden: April-end Oct, 10am-5pm, Wed-Fri, 10am-5pm; house not open to public.
Light lunches and teas available; limited disabled access
Web: Bourton House Garden
All photos and text © by Barbara Ballard