Site information
Planning responses
Report by Gillian Parker -
Formal pond at Goddards Garden in June in York, North Yorkshire. Image reference 304889. ©National Trust Images/Mark Sunderland. www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Dringhouses Without
Historic county
West Riding of Yorkshire
Local authority
City of York Council

George Dillistone, who designed the garden at Goddards, is a neglected figure in garden history, despite the gardens he designed, the approval of his contemporaries, his extensive writing on garden design and planning, his importance in the history of the British Iris Society, and his founding role in the Institute of Landscape Architects. Goddards may be the only garden where Dillistone designed both hard landscaping and planting, and that still exists in its entirety and attached to the house for which it was designed.

The rich archival record for Goddards’ garden provides detailed examples of Dillistone’s planting ideas that challenge implications (Wood 1996, 331) that he held onto the coat tails of Gertrude Jekyll. Dillistone may have towed the Edwardian planting line in his earlier years (see, for example, ‘E.S.’ 1919, 185–86) but the shaping and repetition in his planting plans, and his colour palette and plant choices at Goddards, described below, suggest something different and more modern. Similarly, the clean and sharp lines of the hard landscaping, and its use of English Renaissance devices (the ‘Long Walk’, ‘Bowling Green’, a mount) indicate other influences (see, Blomfield and Thomas 1892). The evidence also shows that the hard landscaping was Dillistone’s alone – an issue that is often unclear in writing about his other gardens (see, for example, Hitchmough 1999, 46–49). In 1978, even in its then overgrown state, James Russell described ‘well-landscaped gardens’ and the lower garden as, ‘very well planted with interesting and rare trees, and [with] a beautifully designed rock-garden’ (BIA, JR/1/386).

In 1998, the garden’s importance was acknowledged, being described as

‘a remarkably complete and well-documented example of an inter-war design influenced strongly by the Arts and Crafts tradition’ where ‘imaginative treatment of an awkwardly oriented site results in a very harmonious and well-integrated creation’ with ‘[m]eticulous attention to detail in the design and composition’ (GGF Garden Reports, Garden Report 1998).

The National Trust produced a Statement of Significance for the garden in 2006 (GGF Garden Reports, Goddards: Statement of Significance for the Garden). The history of Goddards is also important for the light it throws on an under-researched period of ‘suburban’ garden history between the two world wars and on the relationship between garden designer, architect and owner.

Estate owners

The Goddards site was sold to Noel Terry, the chocolate manufacturer, in August 1925, by George Alexander Eason Wilkinson, Lord of the Manor of Dringhouses, with additional sales in December 1925 and August 1928. In the 1930s, Terry increased the site again when he bought 23 Tadcaster Road in the mid-1930s; the house at 23 Tadcaster Road was subsequently sold, but a large part of the garden - including the brick boundary with the Knavesmire and the brick hut evident on the 1892 OS map (Figure 1) - was retained as the ‘paddock’ at Goddards (NTRA, Property Register, “Goddards” Tadcaster Road, Dringhouses, York).

Kathleen and Noel Terry died in 1980 and Goddards remained empty until the National Trust (NT) acquired it in 1984 for its regional headquarters. At this point the garden was largely overgrown. After a programme of clearing and simplification, the garden was open intermittently for pre-booked visits and open days. In 2012 parts of the house and all of the garden were opened to any visitors. 

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

Noel and Kathleen Terry (1925-1980)

Terry Family (1980-1984)

National Trust (1984 to date)

Early history of the site

In 1925, Dringhouses was still a separate village in the Ainsty of York but is now a York suburb. The land on which Goddards sits was part of the ancient manor of Dringhouses. Dringhouses comes into early modern view with Samuel Parson’s map of 1624 (Figure 2). This ‘Plott of the Manor of Dringhouses lyinge within the Countie of the Cittie of Yorke’ (YCA DRI/1) is seen as an accurate representation of Dringhouses in the early 17th century, although drawn with south to the top (Smith, Reed and Ramsbottom 2010, 25).  Comparison of Figures 1 and 2 shows that Goddards sits on what was ‘Mr Padmore’s field’ in 1624. Given the existence of substantial areas of strip fields on Parson’s map, it is possible that ‘Mr Padmore’s field’ was the result of early enclosure.

Dringhouses’ historical land ownership is complex, but the Barlow family were significant owners from the 17th to 20th centuries (BIA, DRU 78-79). A line of disinherited eldest sons, early deaths and childless marriages saw the manorial estate pass in 1813 to Frances Barlow. She first married the Reverend Trafford Leigh and then Dr Eason Wilkinson of Manchester. There were no children from either marriage. Dr Wilkinson remarried on Frances’s death and several children followed, the eldest of whom was the pioneering female landscape gardener, Frances (Fanny) Rollo Wilkinson (BIA, Barlow Family of Middlethorpe). Dr Wilkinson died in 1878 and his widow and children relocated to the family estate at Middlethorpe. Middlethorpe Hall was sold in 1912 and presumably, at this point, they moved into the Dringhouses Manor House. George Alexander Eason Wilkinson, the eldest son, inherited the land, and in 1925 sold the field on which Goddards was built to Noel Terry. There is no evidence that the field was used for anything other than agricultural purposes before this.

Chronological history of the designed landscape

1925 to 1984

The site purchased for Goddards was between Aldersydes, the childhood home of Kathleen Terry (neé Leetham) which was further south on Tadcaster Road, and the Terry’s then home, in St George’s Place, off Tadcaster Road nearer to York. Colonel Wilkinson was gradually selling off manorial land for inter-war development and the Goddards site was both in an area that the Terrys knew and was also conveniently placed for the new Terry’s chocolate factory which was being built (1924-30) off Bishopthorpe Road and on the other side of the Knavesmire.

Walter Brierley (1886-1926), a respected and sought-after architect based in the York practice established by John Carr in 1750, designed the house at Goddards, although his colleague, R. H. Rutherford, was responsible for its execution after Brierley’s death in August 1926. Brierley was a neighbour of the Terrys in St George’s Place at Bishopbarns, the house he designed for himself with its Jekyll-designed garden. Brierley drew preliminary ideas for both house and garden in June 1925 (Figure 3) but George Dillistone (1877-1957) subsequently designed the gardens contemporaneously with the house.

Dillistone was from the Essex family of Dillistone nurserymen but worked for seventeen years at Essex and Kent-based landscape and garden architects, Robert Wallace and Company (latterly as a director). He was responsible for the design of many gardens (not all yet identified) while at Wallaces and had an established reputation for his design work among his contemporaries (Bowles 1917, 114-5; Jekyll and Weaver 1927, xxiii – xxviii). Goddards seems to have been his first commission after setting up his own business.

It has been assumed that Noel Terry did not like Brierley’s ideas for the garden and looked elsewhere for a landscape designer (Wood, 328; GGF Garden Reports, Goddards: Statement of Significance of the Garden). However, there is no evidence in the archival record to support this assumption. How Terry came to choose Dillistone, who mostly worked in the south of England, is not known. One suggestion is that Terry knew Dillistone’s work from the garden he had designed for his brother, Harold Terry, the playwright (Mercer 1933, 8–9) although the date of this other garden is not currently known. Another suggestion is that Edward Hudson, editor of Country Life and Noel Terry’s friend, recommended Dillistone, who published regularly in the magazine.

Whatever route Dillistone took to Goddards, he received the site plan in mid-summer 1925, and the first extant letter from him to Brierley in the archives (25September 1925) refers to their having met the previous week, and ‘revising’ the garden plans, on which he had already started work, in the light of their discussion. This indicates that Dillistone was involved very soon after the sale of the land and that Brierley and Dillistone had a working relationship (BIA, ATKB).

Brierley certainly worked with landscape designers at other houses he designed. For example, in the archives for Sion Hill House, near Thirsk held at NYRO, a letter of 1April 1912 from Brierley to Percy Stancliffe, the owner, refers to liking ‘Goldring’s’ ideas for the drive and the wish to see his plans for the garden and he is mentioned in the accounts Brierley presented to Stancliffe (Figure 4). Although there is no identifying information about ‘Mr. Goldring’ it is possible that this was William Goldring. He was briefly assistant editor of William Robinson’s, The Garden, and a landscape designer in his own right.

Dillistone produced an initial plan for Goddards in January 1926. This plan (Figure 5) included, below the house terrace, a parterre fragrant garden to the west and a Long Walk across the width of the house and beyond; a sunken lily pond and rose garden on the next level down; a shrubbery walk through the southern boundary to a rock and water garden; a Bowling Green; two tennis courts; and a kitchen garden. The terrace was part of Brierley’s house design, although its planned balustrade was later decided against and its height adjusted after a site meeting in June 1926; Dillistone designed all the other garden elements, both hard landscaping and planting.

Not all elements of the 1926 plan were put in place; only one tennis court was ever constructed and there is a question mark over whether the kitchen garden was ever implemented as originally intended. Indeed, Terry asked for the garden to be built in stages and Dillistone continued to produce plans into the 1930s. No contemporary plan of the garden as finally laid out has been identified so the January 1926 plan, combined with the subsequent detailed plans of sections of the garden, remain the best guide to Dillistone’s intentions.

Comparison of Figures 3 and 5 shows that Brierley changed the orientation of the house slightly after the initial site plan had been drawn, information which was not relayed to Dillistone until after he had started his garden design. The final orientation of the house on the tight site created problems for Dillistone at both the northwest corner (where he was keen to ensure that there was a level service path for the gardeners) and at the northeast corner, where there was an additional drop down to the level of the ‘Long Walk’. By introducing a small terrace below the kitchen (which now houses five Sturmer Pippin trees, as homage to Dillistone’s great-grandfather, Ezekiel, who introduced this apple) Dillistone was able to create an attractive link down into the entrance to the herbaceous border. He felt that his addition of yew hedging at this point made ‘a pretty finish to the end of the [Long Walk]’ (Dillistone to Rutherford, 14 December 1926). These changes would have created not just pretty but elegant solutions to an otherwise difficult transition, with a balanced mirroring of the hedges at the two ends of the bowling green and the beginning of the herbaceous border (Figure 6). They were apparently not implemented as designed or, if they were, soon disappeared, as an aerial photograph of 1936 shows (Figure 7).

Dillistone’s planting plans for the fragrant garden, terrace, rose garden, rock garden and the drive (Figures 8 to 10) and plant lists for the terrace, the tennis court area, the southern boundary, and for an unspecified area of the garden all exist. There are also nursery orders for the terrace and fragrant garden (NTRA 85 (a), Garden/12).  Plant lists for the tennis court area also relate to nursery orders, from Fromows of Windlesham and Stewarts of Wimborne, and for the fragrant garden from Rogers of Pickering. Other nurseries on these lists are Notcutts (Norwich), Marchant, Cooper, and ‘own’, the latter perhaps suggesting that Dillistone provided some plants himself. Similarly, the planting plans indicate that some plants there were ‘own’. Surviving tree and shrub planting, the nursery orders, a contemporary photograph of the rock garden planting, and oral history testimony from Betty Lawrie (née Terry) indicate that these elements were planted as Dillistone intended. No plans or orders for the double herbaceous border have been found.

The garden was built in stages: the main elements were established between 1926 and 1927, but a 1929 plan for steps from the northern end of the bowling green to the glasshouse area (Figure 11), a 1931 illustrative drawing of the rock garden (Figure 12) and a 1935 plan for the area near the glasshouse (Figure 13) show that it took almost ten years to complete. The rock garden was executed as per the drawing, but apart from the mound and trees, which still exist and were shown in the 1929 plan, there is no evidence that anything was done around the glasshouse. Indeed, the cold frames, which the 1935 plan suggested removing, still exist. The additional land that came with purchase of 23 Tadcaster Road was known as the paddock (after the previous owner’s use of the land for horses although the Terrys never kept horses there) and a kitchen garden.

After this, undated family photographs are the only contemporary records of the garden. Figure 14 shows construction details of the rock garden pond, Figure 15 the herbaceous planting that originally ran along the Long Walk, and Figure 16 the borders below the lily pond and the beds in the rose garden, both now grassed over. Figure 16 also shows the position of garden statuary returned to Goddards by the Terry family in 2020.

Dillistone’s foreman was W. Jackson of Dimier House, Dringhouses (NTRA, Dillistone letters 5 August 1926, 30 March 1927). He may have moved to York to work on the garden, as he does not appear in contemporary electoral rolls or the 1939 Register for York. Three local gardeners, joined by another during the summer months, maintained the gardens in the 1930s and 1940s (GOH Lawrie 2012, 2016).

Between 1948 and the Terrys’ deaths in 1980, maintaining the garden involved renting out the paddock and lodge cottage at the top of the drive to a series of people who also provided help in the house. The paddock was used intermittently as a market garden or nursery by those renting the cottage. The garden deteriorated over time, partly perhaps because Noel Terry wished to see it as ‘mature’, limiting what was achievable during this period (GOH Courtney 1992).

In 1978, George Smith, the York florist and gardener, introduced the Terrys to James Russell, who had moved from his Sunningdale Nursery to Castle Howard, near York, in 1968. Russell visited Goddards and wrote to Terry on 15th September 1978, of the ‘well-landscaped gardens’ but suggested that many areas needed attention. He recommended radical simplification in the drive, the terrace, the rose garden and the herbaceous border. In the lower garden, described as ‘very well planted with interesting and rare trees, and a beautifully designed rock-garden’, he suggested removing the under-planting and anything getting in the way of the better trees, and grassing the rest over, leaving the rocks where they were. The paddock could be grassed over while adding ‘one or two large trees … and a scattering of daffodils’ (BIA, JR/1/386). None of these changes was apparently undertaken, perhaps reflecting, by this stage, the Terrys’ advanced age.

After the Terrys’ deaths the house was uninhabited until 1984, although some maintenance gardening continued.

1984 to date

In 1984, the National Trust (NT) acquired the house for its regional headquarters and assumed responsibility for the garden. The initial aim for the garden was to get it into a state that acknowledged its history but that made it easier to maintain, given that the house was being used as offices rather than being opened to the public. The main strategy between 1984 and 1999 was, thus, simplification and maintenance.

After this, the significance of the garden began to be recognised. The head gardener between 1999 and 2015, Alison Green, instigated major works that helped to stabilize and develop the historic garden; she also built up a small body of volunteers. The Statement of Significance in 2006 outlined a programme of work for areas closest to the house, and Green’s research on the garden’s history influenced the planned replanting. She instituted three programmes of structural restoration – tracing and repairing the drains and water systems that feed the ponds, rejuvenating the large rock garden pond, and rescuing the glasshouse and frames.

The Richardson’s of Darlington glasshouse and frames were in a poor state by 2004. Green and the volunteers explored Richardsons’ history; cleared the frames; had the glasshouse chimney stack and brick work repointed; removed, catalogued and stored the glass roof panes and replaced them with heavy duty polythene ‘until restoration funds could be found’; and renovated the glasshouse staging. From 2003 onwards, Green campaigned and fund-raised for full restoration of the glasshouse, which was complete by 2012, when the gardens were fully opened to the public (GGF Greenhouse, Goddards Greenhouse).

Tom Longridge, the current senior gardener, replaced Green in 2015. His first priority was to tackle long-standing issues of rabbit damage and weed control and redefine path edges. Beyond this, he felt the sense of a garden where lost parts were waiting to be recovered (Longridge 2020). Like Green, he used the NT archives to inspire his work. He has also grown the volunteer group which means that as well as improving the garden’s presentation, several large-scale works have been possible.

In 2015/16, the front drive was tackled: overgrown yew and shrubs were cut back and cleared and the chestnut trees that now obscured the view down to the house were pollarded. New planting did not replicate the original Dillistone plan, which had relied on rhododendrons and ericas, neither of which had thrived when replanted in the late 1980s.

The lily pool and its lead statue fountain were restored in 2015; an electricity supply was laid to the fountain and the statue placed again in the centre of the pool.

The paddock was by this stage a ‘huge’ patch of grass with an oak tree (perhaps a legacy of Russell’s recommendation) and two raised vegetable beds at the bottom. Creating an expanded kitchen garden in this large space with no current horticultural interest was ‘in the spirit’ of both the Dillistone garden and the 1930s kitchen garden (Longridge, 2020). The new vegetable garden, with borders and raised beds, was extended to the northern boundary, and hedged. The oak tree was removed, and the remaining area of the paddock turned into an orchard with meadow and bulb underplanting. Produce from the vegetable garden is used in the Goddards café and for ‘sale’ (by donation) to visitors.

The fourth major area of reclamation was the fragrant garden parterre which had been grassed over at some point. Here, all but one of the beds, which would have been in a now heavily shaded area, were recut following the original Dillistone plan. The planting is different, however, to reduce the dependence on annuals, and includes fragrant roses, shrubs (including lavender) and herbaceous plants. Two obelisks that support sweet peas nod to Kathleen Terry’s love of these flowers, although the hunt for the lupin that George Russell named after her continues.

In early spring 2020 the south boundary shrubbery was reclaimed, providing another opportunity to regain space and to consult the original plant lists for inspiration.

Other, smaller-scale changes to the garden since 2015 include the re-introduction of planting to terrace paving and steps (erigeron and thyme), thus softening and loosening the appearance in keeping with an Arts and Crafts approach and contemporary photographs (Figure 15). With no evidence of Dillistone’s intentions for the herbaceous border, replanting by the NT in 1986 was also carried out in keeping with Arts and Crafts ideas, and this has been developed further over the intervening years. However, given the relative lateness of Goddards as an ‘Arts and Crafts’ house, Dillistone may well have followed his own, more contemporary, ideas about colour and planting, as is evident in planting plans for other parts of the garden and also in the flower garden planting at Castle Drogo, which was done more or less at the same time as Goddards (Figure 18).


Goddards lies to the east of the old A64 (at 458953) about 1.5 miles southwest of York city centre, in Dringhouses (Figure 1).


The house and garden are on a site of around five acres (around 2.02 hectares).


The site is bounded to the west by Tadcaster Road (the old A64) and by the house and garden at 23 Tadcaster Road, to the north by what is now the Marriot Hotel, to the east by the Knavesmire and York Racecourse, and to the south by houses and gardens built since Goddards was constructed.


The old A64 follows the route of the Roman road from York to Tadcaster, along a ridgeway of gravel and sands used since Neolithic times to provide a dry route across land to either side (Smith, Reed and Ramsbottom 2010, 1). The Goddards site slopes down from the house, in an easterly direction to the Knavesmire, a flat and wet area of previously common land now used, in part, as a racecourse.

The slope provided the opportunity for relatively shallow terracing immediately below the house and paths down into the less formal, lower part of the garden adjacent to the Knavesmire. A shallow ditch at the boundary with the Knavesmire provides drainage for the lower rock garden pool as well as separating the garden from the racecourse.


Apart from its eastern boundary with the Knavesmire, Goddards is now surrounded by the effects of development in Dringhouses from the 1930s onwards. Despite this, both house and garden retain a sense of seclusion once inside the gateway.

From the Tadcaster Road a relatively narrow drive, planted with alternating pink and white chestnuts, leads from the gate lodge to the house forecourt; a line of hawthorn hedge between the northern drive planting and what is now the car park, indicates the original boundary of 23 Tadcaster Road, before part of it was incorporated into the Goddards site.  The more easterly part of the northern boundary abuts what is now the Marrriot Hotel and is planted throughout its length with trees and shrubs, most of which were planted when the hotel was extended in the 1980s. To the east the site is bounded by the Knavesmire and York Racecourse; the growth of trees on the boundary and within the garden now largely obscures the view across the Knavesmire from the house. The Terry chocolate factory, on the other side of the racecourse, remains visible only from the meadow garden, by virtue of its clock-tower. The main part of the factory building, recently converted into private housing, is obscured by the modern racecourse stands.

The southern boundary is complex. The southern boundary of the drive followed the line of the original access lane to the field on which the house was built and abutted some small fields and farmyards, sections of which were purchased additionally in 1925 and in 1928. The main southern boundary abutted an open field still owned in 1925 by Colonel Wilkinson (see Figure 1). All portions of the southern boundary have been developed since, with houses and their gardens now close to all parts of Goddards’ drive and southern boundary. A service path round the north-west corner of the house, bounded by beech hedging, mostly hides this development.

Entrances and approaches

The original and surviving entrance to Goddards is via the arch between two lodge buildings - one originally the garage for the house and one a cottage for housekeeping staff - where double oak gates give on to the narrow driveway. This is the only point of access to the site, apart from a small wooden garden door onto the Knavesmire, behind the frameyard. It is said that Noel Terry used this gate if he walked to the chocolate factory, which was opposite the house on the other side of the racecourse (GOH Lawrie 2012, 2016).

The small area of land outside the front gates is laid to grass on either side of the drive, with narrow box borders at the feet of the garage and cottage. The original oak posts and chains that separated the grass from the pavement that borders Tadcaster Road no longer exist. Hedging divides the Goddards entrance area from its neighbours at either side. The ground floor of the garage now provides accommodation for the garden team while the upper floor is used as office space. The lodge cottage is let.

The drive is bordered by alternate pink and white horse chestnuts, originally underplanted with rhododendrons and ericas, and backed by yews. The chestnuts and yews survive, as do some elements of rhododendron replanting and new coniferous planting carried out by the National Trust in the late 1980s.

Just before the house forecourt, the drive divides, with the left branch providing access to the service entrance of the house, the glasshouse and what became the paddock and kitchen garden after purchase of 23 Tadcaster Road. The other branch continues on to the house forecourt which is surrounded by yew hedging. Box-edged beds flank the oak entrance door to the house.

Buildings and structures

The House and Lodges

Goddards and attached gateway, terrace and loggia to side and rear [Listed Grade I NHLE: 1256461]
Number 25 [Tadcaster Road] including carriage entrance [Listed Grade II*, NHLE: 1256505]

Walter Brierley (1886-1926) designed the house at Goddards, although his colleague, R. H. Rutherford, was responsible for its execution and many aspects of its internal details after Brierley’s death in August 1926. The house is built of brick in an Arts and Crafts style, with hand-made terracotta roof tiles, leadwork gutters and down pipes and leaded windows. The external house doors are largely of oak. On the garden front a small attached loggia runs at 90 degrees to the main house and leads to a sunroom. The house terrace was originally of brick which was replaced by flagstones and inset cobbles in the 1970s (see below).

The conversion of the building to offices for the NT has had no permanent impact on either the interior or the exterior of the house. Necessary additions to achieve modern fire-resistance standards and office requirements have been achieved without altering the underlying historic structure as it was when acquired by the NT in 1984.

The entrance lodges at the top of the drive entrance from Tadcaster Road are also of brick and hand-made tiles.

The Garden Store

A small brick-built hut at the far north-eastern corner of the site predates the house and is used as a garden store.

Glasshouse, Potting Shed and Frameyard

The brick potting shed with slate tiles is attached to the northern end of the Richardson’s of Darlington glasshouse. The date of construction is not known but the structure is evident on the 1936 aerial photograph. A solid fuel boiler for the glasshouse and hot frames was originally in the potting shed but no longer exists, although its chimney is still in place. The hot and cold frame brick-built structures exist as originally built, although the cold frames no longer have glazed covers and are used as nursery beds. The heating pipes to the hot frames were disconnected at some point (perhaps when the boiler was removed) and there are modern glazed wooden sliding lights over the first section, probably made at the same time as the glasshouse was repaired in the early 21st century (see above). The other sections are open and used as nursery beds.

There is no evidence that the tennis shelter shown on the January 1926 plan (Figure 5) was ever built.

Gardens and pleasure grounds

Although the garden’s hard landscaping and overall structure remain much as on the 1936 aerial photograph (Figure 7) which also shows the glasshouse and frames, and the vegetable garden created on the land bought in the 1930s, some changes have taken place over time.

The 1960s Ordnance Survey map (Figure 17) gives the best idea of the current layout of the garden. The fragrant garden was grassed over at some unidentified point and the rose garden in the 1980s, and the western end of the paddock became a car park when the NT offices were established in the house. A bank of earth was built and grassed to screen the car park from the remaining paddock.

Starting in 2015, a vegetable garden and orchard were created at the Knavesmire end of the paddock. The fragrant garden was recut in 2018/19 to the original Dillistone pattern, with the exception of one bed that would have been heavily shaded by now mature trees. An area of lawn and apple trees at the northern end of the paddock (next to the remaining garden of 23 Tadcaster Road) has become the ‘bee lawn’, where a local beekeeper has hives and meadow planting is being introduced.

In terms of the hard landscaping, very little has apparently changed. In 1971, Terry consulted the architect Francis Johnson about redesigning the terrace where the bricks were subject to repeated frost damage. Flagstones and cobbles replaced all the bricks, but kept the panel formation of the terrace, which Terry liked ‘very much’ (HHC, B 50 U BFJ/316, Letter 19 October 1971). At some point after the 1960s Ordnance Survey map was drawn, a worn millstone was inserted at the end of the paved part of the Long Walk, in the place that the map notes a sundial.

The 1960s map suggests that the path behind the tennis court had disappeared by this stage, but this was recovered in 2000s (Garden Volunteer 2020). Other paths lost sometime between 1948 and 1984 have mostly, but not all, been reinstated.

Terrace and Long Walk

Borders at the foot of the house walls support wisteria and a large magnolia, which are believed to be original plantings, as well as a range of shrubs, climbers and spring bulbs, which are not. Borders along the terrace edges support perennial and annual planting, with spring bulb underplanting in keeping with the spirit of the original planting plans, although Dillistone’s formal blocking of colour on the terraces (Figure 9) is no longer used.

Brick steps with single returns lead from either end of the terrace down to the Long Walk, which runs the full width of the garden front, beginning with a semi-circular stone-paved area at its southwestern end (with a modern stone bench), crossing a halfmoon pond embedded in the brick wall below the house terrace and running into the double border.

The paved part of the Long Walk ends in a circular area with a central millstone. The 1960 OS map suggests this circular area was once the site of a sun dial, probably the one recently returned to Goddards by the Terry family along with other garden statuary. The double herbaceous border - which is backed by yew hedging - ends with an exit to the service drive down to the glasshouse and gives a view of the paddock area (now orchard and meadow).

Bowling Green, Tennis Court and ‘Knoll’

A gap in the hedging in the northeast side of the herbaceous border gives access to the yew-hedged and grassed Bowling Green, which also has an entrance from the lily pool garden. There is a modern stone bench at the northern end of the Bowling Green and a gap in the hedging that leads to the steps down to the less formal part of the garden known as the Knoll, and to the glasshouse and frameyard.

The tennis court is bounded on three sides by yew hedging and at the back by a path. This path was not evident on the 1960 OS map but was recovered in the early 21st century and now moves through a woodland garden with predominantly spring planting. An exit from the tennis court on its northern edge meets the bottom of the stone steps from the Bowling Green.

The ‘Knoll’ area runs between the tennis court’s southern hedge and a path from the rock garden. It is largely planted with flowering shrubs, herbaceous perennials and spring flowering bulbs.

A small mount, close to the frameyard, currently with five mature sycamore and horse chestnut trees, gives a slightly elevated view over the racecourse and towards what was the Terry chocolate factory.

Rose Garden and Lily Pool

Two sets of steps, without returns, lead down from the Long Walk to the sunken lily pool and site of the original rose garden, which was grassed over the in 1980s. The original rose garden planting is shown in figure 19 and its design was used as an example in one of Dillistone’s articles (Dillistone 1938, 16-17,58).

The axial line from the house continues beyond the lily pool with a stone path which originally had borders on either side (Figure 16). This path terminates in the ‘roundabout’, where the service path from the north-west corner terminates and the path down the Red Hill starts.

The ‘Red Hill’

The Red Hill (the southern boundary shrubbery) is planted on both sides with trees and shrubs and provides access to the tennis court and beyond to the rock garden and pools. The Terry family named this ‘Red Hill’ because of the material, remembered as gravel (GOH Lawrie, 2012, 2016), used for the path.

The Rock Garden

Dillistone designed many rock and water gardens and wrote about them extensively (for example, Dillistone, 1913, 1914, 1926). He stressed in his January 1926 letter to Terry the need to avoid any ‘sense of artificiality’ in the rock garden and proposed excavating the length of the area, creating ‘undulating banks’ so that one would go down into the rock garden ‘leaving the southern face boldly constructed with the rock gradually dying away, as it would in nature, into the slopes of the opposite side’. The bold face and gradual entry to and exit from the rock garden are still evident.

The rockwork appears to be of oolitic limestone, although this remains to be confirmed by geological expertise. It is possible that some of the rockwork is of artificial rock but, again, specialist expertise is needed to confirm this. The construction details of two concrete-lined and brick-edged ponds (Figures 12 and 14) are disguised by positioning of the rock, although some brick is now starting to show through. The two connected ponds use the overflow from the lily pond. The water enters via a small rock cascade above the smaller and higher pond, now seen flowing only during heavy rainfall, although a slight drip is usually evident. The feeding pipes for the ponds were traced and restored in the early 2000s; it is not obvious that any pump mechanism was ever installed for the cascade. The higher pond feeds into the lower, larger pond under a stone-slab bridge and the water leaves via a bog garden area that eventually drains to the boundary ditch. Much of the shrub and tree planting in place is original although the herbaceous planting has long since disappeared and been replaced. As in other parts of the garden, modern replanting is in keeping with Dillistone’s original spirit.

Kitchen garden

Although a kitchen garden was included below the tennis courts in the January 1926 plan it is not clear that it was ever created as designed (see Figure 11). Purchase of 23 Tadcaster Road in the mid-1930s allowed the creation of vegetable beds and growing of soft fruit and espaliered fruit trees (presumably along the existing wall) which was important to food production during the Second World War (GOH Lawrie 2012). The development of the modern kitchen garden is described in section 3.3.2.


There is a half-moon, brick pond immediately below the terrace, a lily pool, in what was the Rose Garden, and two ponds in the rock garden. These are the only ways in which water has been used. All are fed, in sequence, from rainwater from the roof of the house. The original and recently restored lead fountain of a cherub is in the centre of the lily pool, pumped via a modern electricity supply.

Books and articles

Blomfield, R. and Thomas, F. I. 1892, reprinted in 1985. The Formal Garden in England. London: Waterstone.

Bowles, E. A. 1917. ‘Recollections of the Gardens at Earlham Hall’, The Garden, April 7: 114-5.

Dillistone, G. 1913. ‘The Designing, Construction and Planting of Rock Gardens (I), The Garden, 15 November, 572. (The first of a six-week series of articles about rock gardens).

Dillistone, G. 1914. ‘The Rock Garden: Its Place in the Garden Scheme’, Country Life, 7 November: 622.

Dillistone, G. 1926. ‘The Rock and Alpine Garden’, Country Life, 20 February: lxxv, lxxvi, lxxix.

Dillistone, G. 1938. ‘Designing the Rose Garden’, Good Gardening, November: 16-17, 58.

‘E.S.’ 1919. ‘Muckross Abbey’, Gardeners’ Chronicle, November 9: 185–86.

Hitchmough, W. 1999. ‘A Visit to Mad Hatter’s Castle’, Country Life, 11 February: 46–49.

Jekyll, G. and Weaver, L. 1927. Gardens for Small Country Houses. London: Country Life.

Mercer, F. A. (ed) 1933. Gardens and Gardening 1933. London: The Studio Ltd.

Smith, E. A., Reed, D. and Ramsbottom, A. 2010. Discovering Dringhouses: Aspects of a Village History. York: Dringhouses Local History Group.

Wood, M. 1996. ‘One Vision’, The Garden, June: 328–31.

Primary sources

Borthwick Institute of Archives (BIA), University of York

ATKB     Records of Atkinson Brierley, Plan No. A 82

              Letters. Unless otherwise referenced, Dillistone letters are from this archive. There is no additional reference where letter dates are given in the text.

Barlow Family of Middlethorpe (Fl. 1698-1852). Biographical History. https://borthcat.york.ac.uk/index.php/dru [accessed 10 February 2020]

JR/1/38                Records of James Russell, JR/1/386

R DRU 78-79       Deeds of the Barlow Family Deposited by Mr R E Drury

Dringhouses Local History Group

Aerial photograph of Goddards, 1936

Goddards Garden Files (GGF), Goddards, York

Garden Reports                               Goddards: Statement of Significance of the Garden

Press Coverage 1991-2010            Undated letter to Yorkshire Evening Press

Garden Reports                               Garden Report 1997, 1998

Greenhouse                                     Goddards Greenhouse

Goddards Oral History (GOH), Goddards, York

Courtney 1992   Interview with Lucy and Cecil Courtney at Goddards, 1992

Lawrie 2012       Interview with Betty Lawrie (née Terry), 19 July 2012

Lawrie 2016        Interview with Betty Lawrie (Née Terry), 1 June 2016

The National Archives (TNA), Kew

C 131/104/25    ‘Debtor: Thomas Clifford, of Aspenden in Herts. [Edwinstree Hundred], Esquire. Creditor: William Birch {Byrche}; a Groom-Porter of the King’s Household.’ (Chancerty: Extents for Debts. Series 1, 1520),

Sp 46/8/fo 44     ‘Miscellaneous Letter and Papers’, 1555,

National Trust Regional Archives (NTRA), York

Copies of Dillistone letters

House at Dringhouses, Goddards, 85 (a), Garden/12

York Property Register, “Goddards” Tadcaster Road, Dringhouses, York. NYK30133, Her Majesty’s Land Registry, 1984

Original Dillistone numbered plans (T 51): /4, /22, / 59, /79, /85, /92, /94

Original plans/drawings not numbered: Detail of Planting Plan for Fragrant Garden, 22nd April 1928; Detail of Rose Garden planting plan, undated and unsigned

York City Archives (YCA), York

DRI/1     Samuel Parsons, ‘The Plott of the Mannor of Dringhouses Lyinge within the Countie of the Citie of Yorke’, 1629.

North Yorkshire Records Office (NYCRO)

ZXW       Stancliffe Family Letters and Papers,

Personal Communication

Garden volunteer, author’s Conversation with Garden Volunteer, 1st March, 2020

Tom Longridge, author’s Conversation with Senior Gardener at Goddards, 20th January, 2020


Ordnance Survey map of Dringhouses, Yorkshire CLXXIV.14 (Fulford: York), surveyed 1889, published 1892

Ordnance Survey 1960 map of Dringhouses. View Shire 3. © Crown Copyright and Landmark Information Group Limited (2021). All rights reserved (1960)


Figure 1. Detail of 1892 OS map of Dringhouses, Yorkshire CLXXIV.14 (Fulford: York), Surveyed: 1889, Published: 1892. Map reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland. Goddards site outlined in red by author.

Figure 2. Detail of Samuel Parson’s 1624 map of Dringhouses (inverted). YCA DRI/1. Goddards site outlined in red by author. YCA DRI/1.

Figure 3. Initial plan for Goddards house and garden by Walter Brierley, June 1925. BIA ATKB Plan No. A 82

Figure 4. Detail of Brierley’s account for Sion House, Thirsk, May 1924. NYRO ZXW

Figure 5. Goddards initial garden plan 14 January 1926, with permission, NTRA T 51/4

Figure 6. Detail of Rose/Lily Pool Garden and ends of Bowling Green and Herbaceous Border, 14 December 1926, with permission, NTRA, T 51/22

Figure 7. Detail of aerial photograph of Goddards, 1936, with permission, Dringhouses Local History Group Archives. Framed area added by author shows entrances to Bowling Green and to herbaceous borders, not carried out as Dillistone had intended.

Figure 8. Detail of Planting Plan for Fragrant Garden, 22nd April 1928, with permission, NTRA unnumbered

Figure 9. Detail of planting plan for West Terrace, 28(?) January 1928, with permission NTRA T 51/ 59

Figure 10. Detail of Rose Garden planting plan, undated and unsigned, with permission, NTRA unnumbered

Figure 11. Pencil sketch of plan for stepped area leading from Bowling Green, January 25th, 1929, with permission, NTRA T51/79

Figure 12. Illustrative plan of rock and water garden, April 20th, 1931, with permission, NTRA T51/85

Figure 13. Plan for area next to greenhouse and frameyard, October 3rd, 1935, with permission, NTRA T51/94

Figure 14. Copy of Terry family photograph during rock garden pool construction, undated. Emailed by Terry family to Goddards, July 2019, after author’s request

Figure 15. Terry family photograph of Richard Terry on the Long Walk, undated, with permission, NTRA unnumbered

Figure 16. Lily Pool, Rose Garden and view beyond, undated, with permission, NTRA unnumbered

Figure 17. Garden layout, detail of 1960 OS map with annotations added by author. View Shire 3. © Crown Copyright and Landmark Information Group Limited (2022). All rights reserved (1960)

Figure 18. Section of recreated Dillistone flower border, Castle Drogo, September 2020. Photograph author’s own


Planning responses

No planning responses found for this application