- Brief History
The original estate was one of the classic hunting establishments of the Shires. The Coplow was built before 1790 by John Palmer, who had acquired the large estate owned by Nicholas Simons in 1764. The original building was a square block of three stories with two-storey flanking wings. It was extended to the west and partly refronted by Charles Thomas Freer between 1842-1843. The porch bears his crest. Further alterations were made by John D'Arcy Hartley when he acquired the property in 1911. He refitted the interior and built new stables to the south of the house.After John D’Arcy Hartley died of a heart attack while riding the Quorn Hunt in 1937, it was sold to Mr. Claud Bennion, Chairman of the British United Shoe Machinery Company, for £17,500, who built the two lodges at the west entrance. The late-18th century ironstone lodge to the north-east was altered at the same time. The house became home to the Bridgewood family in 1976.
- Walled Kitchen Garden
The first record of the WKG at Billesdon Coplow is the First Edition O/S Map 1885. The use of machine-made bricks indicates that the walls were probably built c.1855-1885.
The surviving house at Billesdon Coplow is built some 700 feet above sea level, high on the southwest side of a wooded hill called The Dales. The WKG garden is located some 200 metres away from the house on low ground sheltered by The Dales.
There are stables to the west and the buildings of Home Farm to the south of the WKG. Access is via a bridle path from the main road and pathways from the house through the pleasure gardens and woodland.
The WKG is approximately a third of an acre and the land slopes towards the south/southeast. The garden retains the almost rectangular footprint set centrally within a larger area shown on the 1885 O/S Map (called slips or further cultivated areas in the 1937 Sale Catalogue). The longer north and south garden walls are not quite parallel being slightly more widely spaced towards the west. The west end forms a shallow v-shape projecting outwards with a two storey hexagonal building at the centre. The north section of the west end continues the garden wall and is divided in half by the single garden entry; the southern section consists of three one-storey garden and storage buildings.
No early planting survives. Today the garden is still used and maintained as a kitchen and pleasure garden.
See our full research report on the Walled Kitchen Garden here:
Billesdon Coplow, Billesdon