On a recent visit to the UK we visited this outstanding house and garden which is compared favourably by experts to gardens of national renown. It is maintained at a high standard and is a fantastic place to visit.
Loseley Park is a Grade 1 listed historic manor situated near the North Downs in Compton, just outside Guildford. Loseley appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Losele. Its domesday assets were: 2 hides, 4 ploughs, 5 acres of meadow. It rendered £3.
It has been the home of the More-Mollyneux family for over 500 years. The estate was acquired by the direct ancestors of the current owners, the More-Molyneux, at the beginning of the 16th century.
The new house replaced a smaller one which Elizabeth 1, declared was not ‘adequate’ for her to visit and requested something larger be built. The present house was built between 1562 and 1568 with stone brought from the ruins of Waverley Abbey which was the first Cistercian abbey in England founded in 1128. The abbey was closed in 1536 as part of King Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries. Subsequently largely demolished, its stone was reused in local buildings, including Loseley Park.
The 2.5 acre walled garden, based on a design by Gertrude Jekyll contains a series of “rooms” with different themes running through them. In 1905 Gertrude Jekyll provided plans for a north bed under the Kitchen Garden wall, for Rose beds and for a long border outside the main wall parallel to the moat. It is possible that Miss Jekyll was involved with the garden over a longer period of time as she photographed the site in 1883. Paintings and photographs of Loseley from the period 1880 until 1900 show a garden in the Jekyll style of mixed borders and formal paths. Yew hedges still survive today as do the Mulberry and Cedar trees noted on Miss Jekyll’s plan. Her work also survives in the style of planting on the terrace wall, the steps and the herbaceous border along the moat edge.
The redevelopment of the garden commenced in 1993/4 with the Rose Garden and continued with the Herb Garden, Flower Garden, White Garden and, most recently, the organic Vegetable and Cut Flower Garden. The gardens are surrounded by an old wall of similar age to the house and contain a vine walk, a huge spread of wisteria, moat walk, and the old mulberry tree reputed to have been planted by Queen Elizabeth 1 around which a family prophesy revolves.
“Loseley House has been my family’s home for over five hundred years yet, whilst the world has changed; Losely itself remains reassuringly constant. A place that is welcoming, fascinating and dramatic. It is a pleasure to share this with every visitor.” ~ Michael More-Molyneux