Busby Hall

Site information
Planning responses
Report by Louise Wickham -
Figure 9. West front of Busby Hall with island bed in front from Fairfax-Blakeborough (1912, 67).
Little Busby
Current county
North Yorkshire
Historic county
North Riding of Yorkshire
Local authority
Hambleton District Council
North York Moors National Park

The designed landscape of Busby Hall that we see today was the creation of William Marwood and his nephew, George Marwood, from 1765 to 1840. On inheriting the estate soon after coming of age, William employed the renowned designer, Thomas White, to transform the site from largely fields to a landscape park following the fashion of the day. It seems though that White’s design was too ambitious and Marwood kept most of the existing layout but key elements such as the planting around the house and stables and some perimeter plantations were put in. The extant walled kitchen garden of c. 1771 was designed by the head gardener at Castle Howard when White’s proposals were deemed impracticable. Ever keen to expand what he could grow, William also had a hothouse built between 1776 and 1778 that still remains. In 1773, Marwood engaged another designer, Anthony Sparrow, to design the pleasure grounds to the south of the Hall.

The interest in the park and gardens was maintained by George in the early 19th century. He converted the remaining fields into parkland around the Hall, thus completing the design laid out by White in 1766. He may have fancied himself as a designer as his notebooks record the removal of many trees in the pleasure grounds. Both he and his uncle were interested in unusual species of trees, shrubs and other plants, many of which were planted at Busby. George also was keen on the productive areas and put in a new orchard covering just under one acre and expanded the slip garden to the east of the walled kitchen garden. He also reorganised the kitchen garden adding many espalier fruit trees. His son, also George, updated the hothouse in 1845 with new equipment and the extension of the buildings and the family continued to enjoy the grounds until the early 1880s. Nearly 150 years later the designed landscape around Busby Hall largely remains, with the parkland on the lower ground and the woodland rising to the south to meet the Cleveland Hills, with the latter providing an attractive ‘borrowed landscape’.

Estate owners

At the time of the Domesday survey in 1086, Little Busby was split between the King and Utcred, who held the soke of Stokesley. By the start of the 12th century, part of the lands (2 out of the 4½ carcuates, c. 240 acres) were granted to Robert de Brus from Henry II and the rest went with the Barony of Stokesley (Guy de Balliol). The Mowbray family of nearby Easby controlled the ‘Brus lands’ until the early 16th century when it was acquired by Sir William Bulmer of Wilton Castle. When Bulmer died in 1531, he held the ‘manor of Little Busby’ (Raine 1884, 131), although the extent of the lands is unclear.

Bulmer’s son, John, inherited but was executed in 1537 and his lands passed to the Crown (TNA E 315/273/3). Ralph, his son, had his lands restored by 1549 and when he died in 1558, his eight daughters inherited his estates. Their cousin, Sir George Bowes, sought to buy up their shares and by 1572, he had of ‘the moiety of the manor of Little Busby, Yorkshire and of lands there, late of Ralph Bulmer deceased’ that he sold to Sir Robert Stapleton for £6 13s 4d on 28 June (PRO 1973, 301). In 1582, Stapleton sold Little Busby to Henry and Robert Norton (YAS 1888, 181), who in turn sold it to William Marwood in 1587 (YAS 1889, 85).

William Marwood died without issue in 1620 and the estate was inherited by his brother, Henry. On Henry’s death in 1639, his son, Sir George, took possession, who in turn was succeeded by his son, Sir Henry, in 1680. Sir Henry Marwood’s only son predeceased him, so on his death in 1725, Little Busby went to his nephews Samuel and then to William in 1739. William only survived a year and so the estate devolved to Sir Henry’s granddaughter, Jane Turner (née Marwood). On her husband’s death in 1757, Jane returned to her family home. In 1764, Jane Turner died and Little Busby estate was inherited by William Metcalfe (great grandson of Sir Henry’s sister, Anne). He changed his name to Marwood under the terms of Jane Turner’s will.  

In 1809, William Marwood died without issue and his brother, Rev. George Metcalfe (later Marwood), inherited the Busby estate. On the latter’s death in 1827, his son, Rev. George Marwood junior, took possession followed by his son, also George, in 1841 and grandsons, George Frederick in 1882 and William Francis in 1898. In 1900, the Hall and grounds was let out to the Gjers family who stayed there until 1918. The Marwood family sold the Busby Hall to the current occupants in 2014.

Key owners and tenants responsible for major developments of the designed landscape and dates of their involvement:

William Marwood (1587 – 1620)

Sir George Marwood (c. 1649 – 1680)

Sir Henry Marwood (1680 – 1725)

Jane Turner (née Marwood) (c. 1757 – 1764)

William Marwood (né Metcalfe) (1764 – 1809)

Rev. George Marwood (né Metcalfe) senior (1809 – 1827)

Rev. George Marwood junior (1827 – 1842)

George Marwood III (1842 – 1882)

Lawrence and Ann Gjers (1900 - 1918)

Early history of the site

In 1086, Little Busby had 4½ carucates or c. 540 acres and it was split between the King who held 2 carucates and Utcred who held the remainder (Farrer 1914, 438). In the latter part, it was estimated to have 3 households (https://opendomesday.org/place/NZ5104/little-busby/, consulted 4 March 2020). During the medieval period when the land had several owners, there was no manor house and the land was probably used just for farming. When William Marwood acquired the manor of Little Busby in 1587, it had ‘7 messuages and 4 cottages’ (YAS 1887, 371). About 1596, the ‘lordship of Little Busby’ was enclosed (BIA CP.H. 1346) and by 1606, William Marwood had built a mansion house, with a garden, orchard, launds [lawns] and other waste ground [pasture] covering 4½ acres (NYCRO ZDU 81/1). In the survey of Little Busby taken on the 3 June that year, there was just under 618 acres, of which 336 were pasture, 230 were meadow and 51 were arable (ibid).

Following William Marwood’s death in 1620, his brother, Henry, appeared to remain in Great Ayton, where he was listed in the lay subsidy list for 1628 (TNA E 179/214/398). His son, George, had married Frances, daughter of Sir Walter Bethell of Alne the previous year and in a document dated 1630, he was recorded as ‘of Alne’ (NYCRO ZDU 2/1). He was later recorded as living in Nun Monkton and although he inherited the Little Busby estate in 1639, he did not live there until after 1649 (NYCRO ZDU 2/2).

In 1655, George Marwood undertook a survey of ‘the Mannor [sic] of Little Busby as the same is now held by myself and several tenants herewith named’ (NYCRO ZDU 81/2). He notes the following ‘are all in my own hand’:

The house orchards gardens and walks about it  unvalued

The winde end and wood and whin?      £8

The Hollin Hills                                        £16

The Ox close                                           £8

The greens and Rye field                        £23

The white close and 2 paddocks             £7

The two towncloses                                 £13 6s 8d

The high field                                           £12

The 3 Stubbley                                        £18

The Sike                                                  £16

The west part of Goosenub                     £10 10s

Total                                                         £131 16s 8d

In addition, there were 6 farms and 7 others renting land and the total value was £368 6s 8d. In the earlier survey, the ‘Wynde endes’ were listed as 42 acres of pasture (NYCRO ZDU 81/1). The wood and ‘whin’ [gorse] in this area therefore may have been planted later and formed the basis for the woodland to the south shown on the 1760 survey (NYCRO ZDU 82). The sketch of the Hall by Samuel Buck c. 1720 (redrawn in Fairfax-Blakeborough 1912, 60; Figure 1) shows the main building with the range to the north. In front is a courtyard with a building (perhaps the stable block) to the north and a large tree outside the enclosed area to the south.

In 1757, Jane Turner’s husband died and she returned to her family home. She commissioned John Carr to remodel the Hall and add new service buildings including the stable block to north. However it was the local architect, Robert Corney of Kirkleatham, who was responsible as he is listed on the plans approved by Mrs Turner in the archives (NYCRO ZDU 105). In her will written on the 25 February 1762, she required that: ‘Thomas Metcalfe [William Marwood’s father] … shall out of the issues of the estate, complete and finish the capital messuage outbuildings at Little Busby if not completed and repaired by Testatrix [Jane Turner] in her lifetime’ (NYCRO ZDU 49). A fire in February 1764, destroyed much of old house although the ‘new building’ was saved (York Courant, 21 February).

In 1760, Jane Turner commissioned a field survey (NYCRO ZDU 82, Figure 2), possibly to make changes to the designed landscape. There was an advert in Newcastle Courant on 12 February of that year, showing the clearance of some of the land: ‘To be sold. Several Oak, Ash and Walnut trees, standing and growing, marked and numbered for sale in the Wood and on the Ground, there belonging to and in the possession of Mrs Turner of Busby-hall in Cleveland’. There were also more advertisements for sale of wood in 1763 (NYCRO ZDU 101). The field survey showed that the formal courtyard to the front had already been removed and part of the walled garden to the rear of the house had possibly been altered to accommodate the new buildings. A small plantation of firs (no. 4 on the survey) of just over ¾ acre had been planted in 1760. In 1763, there was correspondence between her steward, Isaac Sparks, and Mr Telford of York [nurseryman] ‘about a gardener’ (NYCRO ZDU 101).

Chronological history of the designed landscape

1764 – 1809

Jane Turner died on 10 April 1764 and the Little Busby estate was inherited by William Metcalfe. He changed his name to Marwood under the terms of Jane Turner’s will and continued the alterations to the buildings started by her. Jane also willed that Busby estate should never be let for at least 99 years (NYCRO ZDU 49). From April 1764 to the end of 1772, he spent nearly £1,000 on ‘building works’ (NYCRO ZDU 105). He also had ambitious plans for the landscape and on 19 December 1765, he met Thomas White, the noted landscape designer (NYCRO ZDU 158). White came to Busby before 9 March the following year to survey the site and was paid 9 guineas (NYCRO ZDU 169). He produced a plan and received 6 guineas for it on 15 June (ibid). This was accepted by his client and White returned to stake out the grounds, being paid 7 guineas on the 17 December (ibid).

The plan produced by White (NYCRO ZDU Roll 2, Figure 3) was intended to cover the southern part of the estate and covered just over 206 acres. Immediately around the Hall and new stable block to the north was a sunk fence with the area to the east left open. To the west, there were pleasure grounds with planting to the north. The existing woodland would be extended north to the Hall with paths and seats. A new kitchen garden would be built due south of the hall and there would be perimeter planting to the east and west.

Marwood had already started planning for the new designed landscape in 1765 when he ordered nursery trees from John Telford and planted them in the old walled garden: 1100 oaks [2ft], 400 Beech [3ft], 350 Larch [2ft], 150 Elms [4ft], 300 Spanish Chestnuts [1ft] and 60 Scotch Firs [1ft] (NYCRO ZDU 165). In March 1767, he ordered the trees that were to be planted out directly around the new stable and barn from Christopher Thompson, nurseryman from Pickhill, showing that part of White’s plan had been carried out (ibid):


80 [10ft], 120 [6ft]


80 [14ft], 100 [6-8ft]

Horse Chestnuts

80 [8-12ft], 70 [3ft]

English Elms

50 [12ft], 120 [5-8ft]


50 [10-12ft], 100 [4ft]


50 [11-12ft], 60 [6-8ft]

Spruce Firs

40 [2-3ft]

Silver Firs

10 [2½ft]

Scotch Firs

50 [3ft]

Spanish Chestnuts

30 [5-6ft]




Work also started on the new kitchen garden in 1767, with £55 9s ‘paid for brickmaking etc for Garden Wall’ (NYCRO ZDU 105). However there must have been a problem with its location, as Robert Teesdale was called in between 15 and 17 September 1768 to fix ‘upon a proper place and setting out of Kitchen Garden’ and was paid 3 guineas (NYCRO ZDU 169). He produced a plan for the kitchen garden on the 3 October and was paid another 3 guineas. On the 26 January the following year, he was paid for ‘a Plan and Elevation of a Stove, £2 2s; [and]…a Section & Plan of a Hot Wall, £1 1s’ (ibid). Robert Teesdale was the head gardener from Castle Howard. He was noted for his horticultural skills, particularly the raising of pineapple plants, which he sold to Bacon Frank of Campsall Hall amongst others (SA BFM/1320/78 & 81). Marwood recorded visiting Castle Howard on the 6 September, just before Teesdale came to Busby (NYCRO ZDU 158).

The new walled kitchen garden was completed by 1771, when Robert Teesdale provided a ‘Plan of Garden’ and was paid £9 10s 4d for it on the 14 March (NYCRO ZDU 159). Marwood recorded what he had planted inside it, for details see Section 4.9 (NYCRO ZDU 165). As the kitchen garden had to be moved, White’s original plan for the landscaping in this area needed to be revised. However Marwood did not re-engage White but instead commissioned another designer, Anthony Sparrow, to produce a plan (NYCRO ZDU, Figure 4) in 1773 (NYCRO ZDU 159). The main part of the design (labelled ‘A’), Sparrow described as ‘Intended to be in the Character of a Lawn decorated with Fruit Trees & Flowering Shrubs in Groups & scattered so as to form an agreeable contrast’ with a sunk fence (‘C’) encircling it and the kitchen garden to the south. There would be three seats (‘D’) just off the paths that went through the wooded area to the east.

Sparrow was first paid £3 13s 6d on 28 November 1772 (NYCRO ZDU 159), presumably to visit Busby and to prepare the plan. He is paid a further 10s 6d on the 8 April the following year and Mrs(?) Sparrow was paid ‘for a Plan £2 2s’ on the 10 April (ibid). The plan appeared to have been carried out as Marwood notes in his notebook (ibid): ’Paid Mr Sparrow for 7 weeks at £1 10s (except £1 1s received before) £9 9s; Paid Mr Sparrow for travelling expenses 10s 6d; Paid Mr Sparrow for money spent at Stokesley in bringing Trees 2s, 12 May’. On the 9 November Sparrow came back, as he was paid £5 for 3 weeks at 10s and for travelling expenses on 27 November (ibid). The first edition 6” OS map surveyed in 1854 (Figure 5) does show an open area due east of the Hall with a plantation area further east indicating that Sparrow’s plan may well have been implemented.

In the autumn of 1773, more fruit trees were planted next to the outer walls of the kitchen garden (NYCRO ZDU 165) and in the wider landscape 2,189 trees planted out (ibid): ‘1330 Oaks, 365 Beech, 350 Laburnums, 67 Silver Firs, 12 Cluster Pines [Pinus pinaster], 8 New England Pines [Pinus strobus], 45 Larches, 6 Sycamores, 560 Grey American Ashes [Fraxinus pennsylvanica?], 74 Scotch Firs’. It is not clear where these were planted but ash trees growing in Busby Wood and the hedgerows had been sold for £455 17s in 1768 (NYCRO ZDU 105), so these may have been replacements. They may also have been part of the landscape design proposed by Sparrow.  In addition, the following seedlings were put in the nursery in 1773 (NYCRO ZDU 165): ‘700 Black American Spruce [Picea mariana], 1040 Spruce Firs, 500 Balsam Firs [Abies balsamea], 1750 Small ?, 152 New England Pine, 105 Pineasters [Pinus cembra?], 20 Black Larches [Larix laricina], 668 Green Hollies, 140 American Arbor Vitae [Thuja occidentalis], 30 Spanish Filberts [Corylus maxima]’.

While Marwood bought his stock from John Telford of York, Christopher Thompson of Pickhill and William Taylor [possibly the ‘gardener’ listed in nearby Stokesley’s parish records], none of the more unusual (American) species above were listed in his account book (ibid). It is likely that they had come from the Edinburgh Society for the Importation of Foreign Seeds. The society operated from 1763/4 and the subscription was 2 guineas. Marwood records paying ‘Mr Ewbank for Edinburgh Society for American Seeds £2 2s’ on 24 July 1768 with further payments in 1769 and possibly 1771 (NYCRO ZDU 158 & 159).

In 1773, William Marwood recorded that has just over 225 acres were ‘in his own hand’, of which 55 acres was the wood to the north and c. 9¼ acres was the ‘ground before the house’ (NYCRO ZDU 165). This compared to just under 198 acres that were listed in ‘Madam Turner’s possession’ in 1760 (NYCRO ZDU 82). The additional 27 acres included parts of the adjoining farm previously tenanted by Peter Bateman (ibid), probably the ‘Greens’ (Nos 19, 20 & 21 on Figure 2) and Baker Close (No 28), where parts were taken off and planted in 1780 and 1782 (ibid). In 1776, Marwood acquired 67 acres of land immediately east in Great Busby (NYCRO ZDU 83). The cost of this was paid for under the terms of Jane Turner’s will that set aside money for the purchase of land (TNA PROB 11 898 76). More ash (105 trees) and oak trees (61 tons and 34 feet of timber) were cleared from Busby wood and the hedgerows that year (NYCRO ZDU 105) and further plantations added by 1783 in Lower Cow Pasture, with more in Far Long Close, Middle & Low Greens and White Close in 1787 (NYCRO ZDU 82). Thus comparing White’s plan to later maps shows a lot of his recommendations for planting had been carried out.

The ‘stove’ or hothouse, possibly to the design of Teesdale, was built between 1776-8 (see section 4.7.3). By 1807, a hothouse, a greenhouse, peach house and hotbeds were listed in a bill of works by Christopher Dennison, a glazier (NYCRO ZDU 105). The location of these is not known but as the hothouse is mentioned separately, they may have been individual buildings. The first edition OS map shows a building to the east of the hothouse, which later maps show as a glasshouse so this may be the (unheated) greenhouse (Figure 5). Judging from the number of squares of glass supplied for the hothouse (96 plus 21 reused), either a major repair or remodelling (adding more glass) was being done.

1809 – 1882

Following William’s death on 3 February 1809, his brother, Rev. George Metcalfe, inherited the estate and also changed his name to Marwood, following the requirements of Jane Turner’s will. He had been appointed as the vicar of Amport in Hampshire from 1802, as well as a residentiary canon at Chichester Cathedral from 1790. He appeared to keep both of these appointments, with his son acting as a curate or assistant at Amport. It is therefore not clear how much time he spent at Busby Hall, with his youngest daughter being baptised in Chichester in 1813 and his second wife being buried there in 1819. His son (Rev. George junior) though did take a great interest in the grounds judging from his surviving notebooks (NYCRO ZDU 165). One from 1823/4 records the activities in the gardens including planting of vegetables and the construction of brick pits to grow crops such as melons.

In another (NYCRO ZDU 165/5), there are details of the changes to the wider designed landscape. In 1812, he notes the planting of 12 Cedar of Lebanon trees behind the house in the pleasure grounds originally designed by Sparrow. This was followed ten years later by the addition of a Scotch Fir next to the large fir, some Silver Firs in 1825 and Evergreen oaks and laurel behind the Spanish chestnut tree planted from the nursery ground in the same area. Both the extant chestnut tree (reputed to be from the mid 17th century) and the large or Great Fir shown on Sparrow’s plan appear to be plantings that survived from the remodelling of the area in the 1770s. The wider landscape remained unaltered as a map by Greenwood, originally surveyed in 1817 and corrected in 1827/8 (Figure 6) shows the parkland and woodland around the Hall but indicates that it did not extend to the road at this stage.

Rev. George Marwood junior took possession of the estate following his father’s death on 1 December 1827 and started to make major changes. A plan of his land around Busby Hall, dated 21 April 1831 (NYCRO ZDU Roll 3, Figure 7), shows the extension of the parkland to the west. The area (No 3) previously known as Low, Middle and High Greens, together with part of Rye Close, was now one open area of 34¼ acres with notes of hedges being grubbed and the sunk fence being removed after 1829. In the notebook (NYCRO ZDU 165/5), Marwood lists ‘Measure of the lands in hand around Busby Hall, 1829’:

                                                       A  R   P

The lawn in front                            28 1 38

To the left of the lawn                    37 2 1    [Long Green (8 2 10); Middle Green (10 2 10); High Green (9 0 37); Under wood (4 1 16); Rye Close (4 3 8)]

To the right of the lawn                  29 1 19  [Low Whins, High Whins & High Pasture]

Holly Hills                                       20 3 16

6 Closes of Bagdale Farm             37 2 0    [East Bagdale, West Bagdale, Long Close, Sheep Lees Ground, Crabtree Lees Ground]

Total                                              153 2 34

This is shown as the open parkland on the 1st edition OS map surveyed in 1854 (Figure 5). In 1827/8, he made an additional sunk fence south of the Hall next to the plantation of firs planted in 1760, a new orchard to the east of the stable block and changed the East Garden (next to walled kitchen garden) including building a garden shed. He also moved a lot of trees and shrubs around the pleasure grounds and within the walled garden. It is not clear whether he was being given advice or was just an interested amateur experimenting with design. A further notebook from 1836 to 1841 (NYCRO ZDU 111) recorded further activities including building more brick pits for melons and cucumbers in the East Garden. Reflecting the changing tastes, many flowering plants including geraniums, dahlias and French-bred roses were bought between 1836 and 1841 (see Section 4.8).

George Marwood III inherited the estate in 1842, following the death of his father. He seemed to be more interested in growing exotics and made significant alterations to the hothouse in 1845. These included possibly extending the original building to add two side wings and installing a new heating system (see Section 4.7.3). Perhaps reflecting a change of use, a wrought iron flower stage (13 x 8 x 8ft) was purchased at the same time. On the 20th of May 1865, the Hall was advertised for rent for 5 to 7 years. The advert in the Yorkshire Gazette described the property as having ‘Gardens, Vinery and Greenhouses; 61 acres of Lawn and 75 [acres] of Wood and Plantations’. However judging from census records, the Marwood family remained in residence until 1881.

Later history

George Marwood died on 7 April 1882 and was succeeded by his eldest son, George Frederick. The following August, the Hall put up for rent with it being advertised as having a ‘Good Flower and Kitchen Garden with Vinery, Greenhouses etc’ (York Herald, 26 August). However there were no takers, as it was readvertised the following year (Yorkshire Post, 7 April). By 1891, the census listed the occupant as Henry Barrett and his family. The 1st edition OS map 25” to mile surveyed in 1890 (Figure 8) shows little change in the wider landscape with only the area marked ‘27’ now an open area (it had previously been divided into two) and a new ‘9 Acre Plantation’ to the northeast of the parkland. The walled garden had a glazed structure inside but was otherwise unchanged.

George Frederick Marwood died in 1898 without issue and estate went to his brother, William Francis but it appears it continued to be rented out. By 1900, the tenants were Lawrence and Ann Gjers who made a number of changes to the immediate grounds, most notably changing the carriageway at the front and adding an island bed (Figure 9), extending the plantations north of the stable block and reducing the orchard in size. A large garden building was put in the pleasure grounds to the east of the hall. They left after 1918 when Lawrence Gjers died and the designed landscape has not been altered since then.


Busby Hall lies southeast of Carlton village and 2¾miles (c. 4.5 km) southwest of Stokesley in North Yorkshire.


The historic park and gardens of Busby Hall at their greatest extent in 1913 (Figure 10), covered 269 acres (109 ha).


The western boundary is formed by the public road from Carlton village to Chop Gate and the southern by the edge of Busby Wood where it abuts Busby Moor. The eastern boundary follows the edge of Busby Wood northwards towards Hollin Hills until it reaches ‘Bog Nursery’. It continues along the western edges of Long Plantation and then 9 Acre Plantation until NZ 516 049, when it reverts to the former’s western boundary. The northern boundary runs from the public road at NZ 510 041 to the carriageway from the north and then from the plantation at NZ 511 049.


The underlying bedrock is Redcar Mudstone Formation across the lowland parkland and plantations on the hills next to it. This is overlaid with deposits of uneven sized glacial tills giving rise to slowly permeable, seasonally wet slightly acid but base-rich loamy and clayey soils.


Little Busby is in the North York Moors National Park Authority’s Landscape Characterisation Area of the Cleveland Foothills. This is characterised by a distinctive, steeply graded escarpment landscape forming an outward facing transition area between the moorland of the Cleveland Hills and lowlands of the Cleveland Plain. The Busby Hall estate lies just on the boundary between these two areas, with the surrounding hills forming a spectacular ‘borrowed landscape’. Busby Hall itself is at 123m AOD on a flat piece of ground that then rises sharply to the south from 130m to 250m OD. To the north, it falls from 113m AOD at edge of pleasure grounds to 87m AOD at northern boundary.

Entrances and approaches

Main entrance

From the village of Carlton, there are two entrance gates with a carriageway that leads east past the stables to the front of the Hall. Part of the remodelling of the 1760s to the design by White.

‘Rolling Pin Gate’

From Busby Lane to the north, this is identified as ‘Rolling Pin Gate’ on OS maps. The carriageway then led directly south to the Hall. It is shown on the 1760 survey (NYCRO ZDU 82) as a series of gates so may have the original principal entrance.

Principal buildings

Busby Hall [Grade II*, NHLE No. 1151369]

Originally dating from the early 17th century, this was remodelled in the 1760s.

Stables [Grade II, NHLE No. 1151371]

Originally built in the mid 18th century with later modifications in the 1820s and 1900s.


On 26 January 1769, Robert Teesdale (gardener at Castle Howard) was paid for ‘a Plan and Elevation of a Stove, £2 2s’ (NYCRO ZDU 169) but as it is not shown on Anthony Sparrow’s plan of 1773, it was clearly not built (unlike the adjacent walled kitchen garden). The first mention is on the 4 April 1776 when William Marwood notes in his diary: ‘Paid man for coming over to fix hothouse, 10s 6d’ (NYCRO ZDU 160). On the 13 September, he notes ‘Paid freight of hothouse pots, £2 3s’ (ibid), presumably in anticipation of it being built.

On 2 November 1776, Richard Appleton was paid for ‘turning pillars in hothouse, 7s 6d’ (ibid) and on the 2 December, Marwood notes ‘Paid Thos Weatherill for bricks and tiles for the hothouse bt of Walty (not sure what this means, ‘walty’ is an old term for the leaning of a ship…), £7 9s 6d; Hothouse and hair, £3 9s’ (ibid), so construction was clearly well on the way. By the 9 June 1777, the building appeared to have been completed, as Christopher Williamson (a mason) was paid the ‘remainder of his bill for hothouse in full, £19 17s 3d’ (ibid).

Marwood was then planning the interior as he paid William Bean for a ‘plan for hothouse and coming over, £10 10s’ on 25 June (ibid). He was probably the William Bean (c. 1743-1803) of Scarborough who is mentioned as a seedsman (and greengrocer), as well as the founder of Scarborough Gardens, in John Harvey’s book Early Nurseryman (1974, 120). On the 26 July, Marwood engaged a new (head?) gardener, Joseph Godby, at £20 per annum (NYCRO ZDU 160) and on 22 August, he paid ‘the joiners for trellis work in hothouse, 10s’ (ibid). Finally on the 26 March 1778, it was completed as Marwood noted he ‘Paid man from Thirsk for setting stove grates, 8s’ (ibid). Earlier that month, he bought a book (Method of Managing and Training Peach and Nectarine Trees in a Hot-house by Wilson) as he made notes from it:

Best fruits for forcing…ranged in the order in which they ripen [noted by William Marwood on 8 March 1778] (ibid, 23)

Peaches      Montauban

                    Royal George

                    French Mignon


                    Double Montagne

Nectarines   Elruge



The best sorts of grapes for forcing…ranged in the order in which they ripen [noted by William Marwood on 8 March 1778] (ibid, 35/6)


1              Muscadine Royale                           White

2              Frontiniac                                         White

3              Hamburgh                                        Black

4              Warner’s Hamburgh                        Tawny

5              Frankindal                                        Black

6              Constantia (from the Cape of

Good Hope                                                      White

7              Frontiniac                                         Grisled

8              Gibraltar (large berries)                  Tawny

9              Muscat of Alexandria                      White

10           Tokai                                                White

11           Muscat of Jerusalem                       White

12           Passe-Musquée (very rich)             White

13           Raisin                                              Red

14           Raisin                                              White

15           St. Peter (very large berries)           Black

16           Syrian (from Asia Minor, grows

 in vast bunches)                                           White

On the 22 September 1778, he paid a large bill (£7 10s 2d) to the nurseryman, Telford of York, who was well known for his fruit trees. The above would seem to indicate that the hothouse was built primarily for the forcing of peaches, nectarines and grapes.

Possible further changes were made in 1807 when 117 squares of glass were put in with the majority being new and in 1845 when John Walker of York, iron and brass founder, was paid for (NYCRO ZDU 115):

25 February        For alteration in Greenhouse 4 Flute Columns at 52s, £10 8s

9 June                   Arch Boiler & Cover. Double Door and Frame. Grate Bars and Damper. Cistern with Cover and Lid. Strong Socket Pipes, 2 Flue Doors with Frames, Red & White Lead. Workman fixing apparatus including railway carriage, £23

Later alterations included the addition of window opening mechanisms by Richardson & Co. of Darlington, sometime after 1860.

Gardens and pleasure grounds

The survey from 1655 (see Section 3.2) referred to ‘gardens and walks about it’ near the Hall. Area ‘6’ on the 1760 survey (Figure 2) of 7 acres to the north, west and south of the Hall may have included these earlier gardens. To the east were two areas of meadow, ‘Horse Park’ (8¾ acres) and ‘High Paddock’ (6¼ acres), part of which were taken off to form the pleasure grounds to the west in 1773, as shown in Sparrow’s improvement plan. Sparrow had recommended the ‘Lawn [is] decorated with Fruit Trees & Flowering Shrubs in Groups & scattered so as to form an agreeable contrast’. Marwood recorded which shrubs he purchased and planted (NYCRO ZDU 165/1) in this period:

February 27 1766 [from J Telford] – 2 of each


Purple Lilacs [Syringa vulgaris]


Cornelius cherrys [Cornus mas]


White Lilacs [Syringa vulgaris alba]


Rhamnoides [Hippophae rhamnoides]


Five leaved Bladder Nuts [Staphylea pinnata]


Alaternus Phileras [Rhamnus alaternus]


White Persian Jasmines [Syringa x persica alba]


Phlomis major [Phlomis fruitcosa]


Blueberried Honeysuckles [Lonicera caerulea]


Myrtle leaved Sumachs [Rhus coriaria]


Broad leaved Yellow Jasmines [Jasminum fruticans]


Flowering Almonds [Prunus communis]


Hypericum Fruitex [Spirea hypericifolia]


Common Guelderoses [Viburnum opulus]


Striped Elders [Sambucus nigra ‘Variegata’]


Viburnums [Viburnum lantana]


Deep red Spindle Trees [Euonymus europaeus var. intermedius]


Bladder Sennas [Colutea arborescens]


Cytissus secundus [Cytisus sessilifolius]


Purple Persian Jasmines [Syringa x persica]


Pennsylvanian Spireas [Spirea salicifolia]


Upright Red Honeysuckle [Lonicera alpigena]


German Tamarisks [Myricaria germanica]


Scorpion Sennas [Coronilla emerus]


Painted Lady Altheas [Hibiscus syriacus]


Cinquefoil Shrubs [Potentilla fruticosa]


Laurustinus [Viburnum tinus]


Upright Tutsans [Hypericum androsaemum]

August 20 1769 [from Wm Taylor] – 2 of each

Cytissus [Cytisus ?]


Mezereons [Daphne mezereum]


Savins [Juniperus sabina],




Bays [Laurus nobilis]


Variegated Hollies [Ilex aquafolium ‘Variegata’] 

4 of each

Barberries [Berberis vulgaris]


Laurels [Prunus laurocerasus]

November 22 1770 [from Wm Taylor] – 6 of each



Sweet Bays [Laurus nobilis]


Spindle Trees [Euonymus europaeus]




Sweet Briars [Rosa rubiginosa],




Laurustinus [in addition to 6 of these bought 2 March that year]

November 26 1771 [from Wm Taylor] – 2 of each





Guelder Roses




Syringas [Philadelphus coronarius]




Honeysuckles [Lonicera ?]


Variegated Hollies

1 of each



Moss Provence Rose [Rosa x centifolia muscosa]


Velvet ditto [Rosa?]


Double Blossomed Thorn [Crataegus oxyacantha ‘Plena’]


Nightshade [Solanum?]


Double Flowering Cherry [Prunus cerasus]


Spindle Trees

November 5 1771 [from J Telford] - 1

Mulberry tree [Morus alba?]


Striped Hollies

March 25 1773 [from J Telford] – 4 of each



Philerea [Phillyrea ?]



2 of each



Pyracanthas [Pyracantha coccinea]


Portugal Laurel [Prunus lusitanica]


Sage leaved Cistus [Cistus salvifolius]


Arbor vitae young [Thuja occidentalis]


Alexanderian Laurels [Danae racemosa]


Butcher’s Brooms [Ruscus aculeatus]

April 3 1773 [from Wm Taylor] – 6 of each



Scorpion Senna


Spindle Trees


Guelder Roses


Double Blossomed Thorn

4 of each





Persian Jasmines [Syringa x persica]

2 of each

Bladder Nuts [Staphylea ?]


Striped Box [Buxus sempervirens]


Striped Nightshade [Solanum ?],


Striped Hollies


Spirea Frutex [Spirea salicifolia]

1 of each

Cornelian Cherry


Double Blossomed Cherry

May 2 1773 [from Wm Taylor] - 3

30 Laurels



October 21 1773 [from Wm Taylor] - 3

Myrtles [Myrica cerifera],




Judging from the variety and the number of plants (over 280), the shrubbery created must have provided interest throughout the year. This was combined with other unusual plants whose seeds Marwood had received from the Edinburgh society (see Section 3.3.1) and elsewhere. In his notebook (NYCRO ZDU 165/1) he gave ‘An Account of Flower Seeds received and given me by Captain Cornelius Smelt, November 13 1790’. The list of 33 included those he recorded growing at Busby the following year: ‘Cassia planisiliqua’ [Senna occidentalis], ‘Canna Glauca’ [Canna indica], ‘Salvia urticifolia or Nettle leaved Sage’, ‘Salvia coccina or Red Sage’ [Salvia coccinea] and ‘Cassia viminea’ [Senna viminea].

The pleasure grounds were remodelled by George Marwood junior from 1812 with 12 Cedars of Lebanon, a Scotch Fir, young Silver Firs, evergreen oaks, laurels, pear trees and bays being planted behind the house in the following 14 years (NYCRO ZDU 165/5). There must also have been flower beds as the notebook (NYCRO ZDU 165/2) also includes references to sowing flower seeds including dahlia, poppy, marigold & China aster on 4 April 1823, as well as buying bulbs such as hyacinths the following January. These may have been near the house, as he recorded, he ‘put out under the windows stocks of different sorts’ (ibid). After 1827, Marwood appeared to be redesigning this area including moving trees that he had planted earlier such as the Scotch Fir. On the 25 February he ‘moved the arbor vitae from below Great Fir to the well at Garden door, also moved the Barberry [Berberris vulgaris] & Tachamach [Populus balsamifera] trees there also. Cut away elms, ashes arborvitae…at out the Silver Fir & cut down the walnuts behind the chestnut. Planted a cedar behind the chestnut (?) brought from Chichester 1812’. It is possible that these were the remnants of the planting done in the 1770s.

42 varieties of geraniums and 14 of picotees (carnations) from Chandlers (Vauxhall, London) were bought in 1840, together with 34 roses from Mr Wood’s nursery in Maresfield, Sussex in 1838. In 1841, he bought dahlias from Mr Lamb of Northallerton, improved pansies from Mr Thompson of Iver and hyacinths, jonquillas, narcissi and tulips from Mr Corsten of Hammersmith (NYCRO ZDU 111).

Kitchen garden

In the survey of 1760 (NYCRO ZDU 82, Figure 2) there is walled garden attached to the main house, covering just over 2½ acres. Its southern section is shown having deciduous trees, so possibly an orchard with a few similar trees in the northern section. The date of its construction is unknown but its position was typical of late 17th century kitchen gardens. When William Marwood decided to build a new kitchen garden, he describes this as the ‘old garden’ and used it as a nursery area. It was dismantled after the new garden was built.

The second kitchen garden was designed by Robert Teesdale (see Section 3.3.1) and completed by 1771. It is listed Grade II* (ref 1189298). Marwood noted the fruit trees he had planted in it (NYCRO ZDU 165):

South Border

1 Pavie Admirable Peach standard

1 Orange or Lisle Peach standard

1 Early Ann Peach standard

1 Noblesse Peach dwarf

1 Newington Peach dwarf

1 Rosanna Peach dwarf

2 Red Magdalen Peaches dwarf

1 Orange Apricot dwarf

2 Turkey Apricots standards

2 Colmar Pears standards

East and West walls

6 Orleans Plums dwarfs

2 May Duke Cherries standards

2 St Germain Pears dwarfs

2 Magnum Bonum plums standards

3 Jargonelle Pears dwarfs

2 Greengage Plums standards

Middle Border

5 Lemon Pippin Apples dwarfs

5 Juneating Apples dwarfs

2 Nonpareil Apples dwarfs

4 Swan’s Egg Pears dwarfs

3 Yorkshire Greenings Apples dwarf

4 Ribston Pippin Apples dwarf

4 Large Amber Gooseberries

2 Chrystal Gooseberries

4 Early Green Champagne Gooseberries

2 Ironmonger Gooseberries

2 Smooth Red Gooseberries

2 Champagne [Red] Currants


On 30 October 1773 (NYCRO ZDU 159 & 165), he planted more fruit trees:

Outer south wall, in this order beginning at west end

1 Royal George Peach

1 Millet’s Mignonne Peach

2 Old Newington Peach

1 Moor Park Apricot

1 Turkey Apricot

1 Roman Apricot

1 Early Masculine Apricot

1 Brinnion Peach

1 Red Roman Nectarine

1 Early Roman Nectarine

1 Red Magdalen Peach

1 Early Newington Peach

1 Early Newington Nectarine

Outer south wall, in this order beginning at east end

1 Black Heart Cherry standard

1 Black Heart Cherry standard

1 Bleeding Heart Cherry standard

1 White Heart Cherry standard

1 Portugal Cherry standard

1 Arch Duke Cherry standard

1 Harrison’s Duke Cherry standard

1 Late Carnation Cherry standard

3 May Dukes Cherry standard


The plan by Sparrow shows the completed walled garden and a proposal for brick pits to the east that was possibly carried out, as there was a reference in 1823 to putting dung in the ‘old pit’ (NYCRO ZDU 165/2). More brick pits were built that year, some of which were used to grow melons (ibid). This area was later called the ‘East Garden’ and further changes were made to it in 1827/8 including 7 new ‘light pits’ and a garden shed being built (NYCRO ZDU 165/5). There were also changes to the inside of the walled garden with fruit trees being moved and new ones added on the walls and as espaliers. For example, on February 27 1828, Marwood planted:



White Imperatrice – above the dial

Blue Gage – hothouse door?

New Orleans – north wall

Coe’s Golden Drop – East Garden

Green Gage – north wall

White Magnum Bonum

Six pears in two rows




Gansel’s Bergamot


Swan’s Egg

Bishop’s Thumb

Apples four in a row 2 each sort

Emperor Alexander

Clary’s Pippin

Royal Russet

Scarlet Nonpareil

Caraway Russet

Gros dame a trachel

Golden Rennet

Githin Pippin

Orange Pippin

Court Pendu

Foxes Pippin

Kirke’s Lord Nelson

Golden Pippin


By 1890, a glazed building had been added to the interior (Figure 8), possibly a large cold frame or pit but otherwise no further changes had been made.

Park and plantations

'The Lawn’

The open parkland between Carlton village, the public road and the Hall of just over 50 acres was created between 1829 and 1831 from former fields.

‘The Horse Park’

To the east of the Hall was another open area of parkland that was originally 8¾ acres in 1760 and then was expanded to cover nearly 15 acres by the end of the 19th century.

Busby Wood

Located to the south of the Hall, this was first planted in the first half of the 17th century and covered just over 55 acres in 1760. Before 1831, it was expanded to include the part of the area known as ‘Rice Rod Side’ and by 1890, it was just under 90 acres including Butter Hill Plantation (planted after 1854).

Parson’s Nursery

Lying next to the public road, this was just under 5 acres and planted before 1829, possibly after 1809 given its name.

Long Plantation

On the eastern edge of the parkland, sections of this were first planted between 1778 and 1783.

Books and articles

Fairfax-Blakeborough, J. 1912. Life in a Yorkshire village. Stockton-on-Tees, The Yorkshire Publishing Co.

Farrer, W.  ed. 1914. Early Yorkshire Charters, Volume 1. Edinburgh, Ballantyne, Hanson & Co.

Harvey, J. 1974. Early Nurserymen. Chichester, Phillimore.

PRO 1973. Calendar of Patent Rolls, Elizabeth I, Part XII. London, HMSO.

Raine, J. 1884. Testamenta Eboracensia, Volume 5. Durham, The Surtees Society.

Wilson, W. 1777. A Treatise on the Forcing of Early Fruits and the Management of Hot Walls. London, G. Robinson.

YAS 1887. Feet of Fines of the Tudor period. Part 1, 1485 - 1571. Leeds, The Yorkshire Archaeological Society.

YAS 1888. Feet of Fines of the Tudor period. Part 2, 1571 - 1583. Leeds, The Yorkshire Archaeological Society.

YAS 1889. Feet of Fines of the Tudor period. Part 3, 1583-1594. Leeds, The Yorkshire Archaeological Society.

Primary sources

Borthwick Institute for Archives (BIA)

CP.H. 1346           Court case re payment of tithes by John Rutter in Little Busby, 26/9/1617 - 7/5/1618

North Yorkshire County Record Office (NYCRO)

ZDU Busby Hall archive (Marwood family)

2/1         Deposition of George Marwood re lands in Nunthorpe and Carlton, 1630

49           Exemplification of Chancery proceedings, Wm. Marwood v Jane van Straubenzee about Jane Turner’s will, 16 Jan 1767

81/1       Survey of Little Busby taken by William Swale of Wetherby, 3 June 1606

81/2       A particular of the Manor of Little Busby, 1655

82           Field book of Madam Turner’s estates, 1760

101         Account books of Isaac Sparks to Jane Turner, 1761 & 1763

105         Misc estate papers including account of building at Busby, 1764-89

111         Notebook re farming and gardening, 1841

114         Vouchers, 1762-1803

115         Vouchers, 1840s

158         5 Pocket Memoranda Books 1764, 5, 7, 8 and 9

159         5 Pocket Memoranda Books 1771-5

160         5 Pocket Memoranda Books, 1776-82

161         5 Pocket Memoranda Books, 1783-8

165         Memoranda Books including gardening notes, late 18th – early 19th century

169         Account books [William Marwood & George Flintoff] 1766, 1768 & 9

n/ref     Plan of improvements to the grounds adjoining Buzby Hall, the seat of William Marwood Esq. by A Sparrow, nd (1773)

Roll 2     Plan of alterations by Thomas White designed for Busby, seat of William Marwood Esq, nd (1766)

Roll 3     A Plan of Rev George Marwood’s Land Busby Hall, April 21st 1831

Sheffield Archives (SA)

BFM/1320/78                     Letter from Robert Teesdale to Bacon Frank, 7 September 1766

BFM/1320/81                     Letter from Robert Teesdale to Bacon Frank, 16 September 1766

The National Archives (TNA)

E 179/214/398                    Lay subsidy certificate of assessment for wapentake of Langbaurgh, 10 December 1628

E 315/273/3                        View of Accounts of all Bailiffs, etc. of lands, the late of Sir John Bulmer, attainted of high treason, co. York; [various] manors [including]…Little Busby, 1541/2


Ordnance Survey 6” 1st edition, surveyed 1854, published 1857

Ordnance Survey 25” 1st edition, surveyed 1890, published 1893

Ordnance Survey 6” revised edition, revised 1913, published 1919

Map of Yorkshire by C Greenwood, surveyed in 1817 and corrected in 1827/8, published in 1828

Figure 1 – Busby Hall by Samuel Buck c. 1720, redrawn sketch by Fairfax-Blakeborough (1912, 60). University of California Libraries on www.archive.org

Figure 2 – Map of Madam Turner’s Busby estate, 1760. Source: North Yorkshire County Record Office (ZDU 82)

Figure 3 - Plan of alterations by Thomas White designed for Busby, seat of William Marwood Esq, nd [1766]. Source: North Yorkshire County Record Office (ZDU Roll 2)

Figure 4 - Plan of improvements to the grounds adjoining Buzby Hall, the seat of William Marwood Esq. by A Sparrow, nd [1773]. Source: North Yorkshire County Record Office (ZDU)

Figure 5 – Busby Hall parkland and gardens from Ordnance Survey 6” 1st edition, surveyed 1854, published 1857. Reproduced with permission from the National Library of Scotland.

Figure 6 – Busby Hall estate from the map of Yorkshire by C Greenwood, surveyed in 1817 and corrected in 1827/8, published in 1828. Reproduced with permission from the National Library of Scotland.

Figure 7 – A Plan of Rev George Marwood’s Land Busby Hall, April 21st 1831. Source: North Yorkshire County Record Office (ZDU Roll 3).

Figure 8 – Busby Hall parkland, pleasure grounds and kitchen garden from Ordnance Survey 25” 1st edition, surveyed 1890, published 1893. Reproduced with permission from the National Library of Scotland.

Figure 9 – West front of Busby Hall with island bed in front from Fairfax-Blakeborough (1912, 67). University of California Libraries on www.archive.org

Figure 10 – Busby Hall estate from Ordnance Survey 6” revised edition, revised 1913, published 1919. Reproduced with permission from the National Library of Scotland.

Planning responses

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