18th and early 19th-century parkland associated with Hotham Hall, incorporating features originally part of the grounds of North Cave Manor House.
The manor of Hotham was purchased in 1719 by the Burton family, who probably built Hotham Hall soon after. An estate at North Cave, which adjoined the Burtons’ estate to the south, had belonged to the Metham family since the Middle Ages. In 1773 Sir George Montgomery Metham, having recently landscaped the grounds around his manor house, sold this estate to Robert Burton, thus extending the grounds of Hotham Hall. In 1865 the Burtons’ Hotham Hall estate passed by marriage to J.C. Clitherow (d. 1865) who devised his interest on a cousin, Edward Stracey, who assumed the name Clitherow. He was succeeded by a nephew, J.B. Stracey-Clitherow, who left the estate to his stepson who took the name Clitherow. He in turn left the estate to his daughter, Juliet Carver. (Allison, VCH Yorks IV, 23-4) Hotham Hall, then occupied by Juliet’s daughter and her husband, was put up for sale in 1984 and was purchased by the present owners. (Hull Daily Mail, 18 Oct. 1984) Other land was retained by the Carver family including the North Cave manor house site and the associated lake, these having been incorporated into the grounds of Hotham Hall in the late 18th century.
Early history of the site
North Cave Manor House
The Metham family had a manor house and land at North Cave from the Middle Ages. The house stood to the east of the parish church; Manor House, formerly Manor Farm, stands on the site of the associated outbuildings, and probably incorporates the former brewhouse. In the late 17th century the house is recorded as having 26 hearths or fireplaces, one of the largest in the East Riding, and it no doubt had a formal garden of some sort, however small. (Neave, ‘North Cave Manor House’). In 1628 Thomas Metham had been granted the right to enclose 500 acres at North Cave for a park but chose not to do so. (Neave, Medieval Parks, 56). When Sir George Montgomery Metham inherited the estate in 1763, he found the manor house standing in the middle of ‘what deserved the name of a bog’. (Young, Six Months Tour, i, 166)
A manor house was recorded at Hotham in the 16th century; Manor Farm in Main Street probably marks the site. After purchasing the manor of Hotham in 1719 the Burtons built a new house, Hotham Hall, on land south of the village. (Allison, VCH Yorks IV, 117) There was no parkland at that date.
Chronological history of the designed landscape
The grounds of North Cave manor house were landscaped by Sir George Montgomery Metham, owner 1763-1773. His estate was sold to Robert Burton in 1773, who incorporated the grounds of the manor house into those of Hotham Hall, where a small park may have existed since c. 1720. Further improvements at Hotham Hall in the early decades of the 19th century included additional perimeter planting.
18th century: North Cave manor house
When Sir George Montgomery Metham took over the estate at North Cave in 1763, he began to create a landscape which included a lake and plantations. The agricultural writer Arthur Young visited North Cave in 1768 and gave the following account:
My first excursion was to Cave, the seat of Sir George Montgomery Metham.... Sir George assured me, that when he came to his estate, he found his house in the middle of what deserved the name of a bog; the ground all very flat, the offices nosing every window of the mansion, and all in the midst of an open country, with not an acorn planted. His designs are not yet complete; but what is done, gives a very pleasing specimen of judgement and taste. Behind the house is an agreeable sloping fall, down to a very fine irregular sheet of water, the banks of which are weaved in the truest taste, with a just medium between the slight trivial bend (which looks like an old streight line turned into a waved one) and the strong, bold, and sudden indentures which should ever be surrounded with natural woods, or wild unornamented ground; a grass-walk waves along the banks, which, is close shaven, and kept in neat order, and this is bounded by a thick plantation; so that the whole being in the stile of a pleasure-ground, no other plan of forming the water would have had so great an effect. The head at the great end of the water appears at present full in view from both sides; but Sir George designs to give the corner opposite to the house a sweeping wave around the new plantation, which will take off the effect, and be a great improvement; when the new plantations get up, the other end will be quite hid, and the whole have no other appearance than that of ornamented nature. Adjoining are many new plantations, sketched with much taste, with zig-zag walks through them in an agreeable stile; a paddock is paling in around the whole, which will be well surrounded with wood. In a wood where there was once only a paltry stream, Sir George has made a beautiful lake, and instead of being totally open to every wind, he has disposed on all sides numerous and thriving plantations. (Young, Six Months Tour, i, 166-8)
In April 1773, having spent extensively on improvements at North Cave, Sir George was forced to sell the estate, which he had mortgaged, to his friend and neighbour, Robert Burton of Hotham Hall, whose grounds adjoined to the north. The deed of sale refers to the ‘capital messuage or mansion house in North Cave aforesaid wherein the said Sir George Montgomery Metham now dwells with the stables coach house and dove house and other offices, buildings, gardens, plantations and pleasure grounds to the same belonging’.
Burton almost certainly pulled down the house within a sport space of time, and reused some of the materials, for example to build the stable block at Hotham Hall. Part of the hall site at North Cave now lies within the churchyard, which was extended in 1863 and 1900. (Neave, ‘North Cave Manor House’)
18th century: Hotham Hall
Most of the land associated with the Burtons’ house, Hotham Hall, actually lay in North Cave township. Hotham Hall was built c. 1720, and it seems likely that a small park would have been laid out around the same time. The marriage settlement of William Burton junior, drawn up in March 1751, refers to a several ‘closes and grounds’, the names of which generally correspond to those on a plan of 1813 when they were clearly part of the park, although used for grazing. (ERALS, DDHH/2/29/2; DDHH/4/6/47).
The earliest plan of the area is dated 1766 and shows the allotments made when North Cave was enclosed the previous year. (Copy of plan at Giggleswick School) Although the area south of Hotham Hall marked ‘The Park’ on the mid-19th century Ordnance Survey plan lies within North Cave, rather than Hotham, township, most of it is not included on the 1766 plan, presumably because it was all old enclosure belonging to Burton that was being used as parkland. What the 1766 plan does show is a small area of old enclosure belonging to Burton that may have formed the southern section of an early 18th century park (included on the plan simply because it adjoined open-field land that the commissioners were dealing with). The southern boundary was where the ‘Old Fish Pond’ was shown in 1855. This took the formal of an elongated rectangle or canal, a feature often found in parks laid out in the early 18th century. The ‘canal’ is not shown on the 1766 plan, which was drawn simply to show the enclosure allotments, but was on the first detailed plan of the grounds of Hotham Hall (1813) and may well have been constructed in the early 18th century.
Further south, between here and the large, irregular fish pond associated with the manor house at North Cave, was a large block of open field land awarded in 1765 to Robert Burton. This adjoined the land belonging to Sir George Montgomery Metham that Burton was able to purchase in 1773, enabling him to extend his parkland as far south as the Methams’ old manor house, which he demolished.
One of Burton’s first actions after purchasing the Metham estate must have been moving the Beverley road, which divided the lake and grounds of North Cave manor house from the block of land he had been awarded at enclosure, to its present position further south. The Beverley road is shown in its old position, north of the lake, on a map of 1772, just before Metham sold his estate.
Once the road had been moved there would have been an uninterrupted view from Hotham Hall southwards across the park as far as the lake created by Sir George Montgomery in the 1760s. (Neave, ‘North Cave Manor House’)
A plan of the grounds of Hotham Hall in 1813 probably shows the work carried out by Robert Burton before his death in 1802. (ERALS, DDHH/4/6/45) East of the hall is the lawn, and beyond that the lake with cascades. South of the hall were the three closes that separated it from the lake formerly associated with North Cave manor house. The first two closes were old enclosure (Furtherby Ings and Espin Close), but the third, Babbs Croft, measuring just under 21 acres, was part of the former open field land awarded to Burton at enclosure in 1765. The use of dashed lines between these closes and in the area north of the hall, in contrast to the solid lines dividing other closes, must indicate the extent of the park and pleasure grounds at this date. Plantations had been laid out along the eastern side of the parkland. North-east of the hall lay the kitchen gardens and hothouse.
A deed dated 1822 gives the names of various features within the grounds, including the Lawn near the Pond, the Walk to the Pavilion, the Walk to the Cascade, the Pavilion Pond and the Cascades. (ERALS, DDHH/2/17/2)
Early-mid 19th century
Robert Burton died in 1802, and bequeathed his estate to his grandson’s brother, Robert Christie Burton. It is not clear if the latter undertook any of the improvements shown on the 1813 plan, or if these were all the work of his predecessor. In 1822 Robert Christie Burton’s sister Sarah and her husband Henry Peters (who took the additional surname Burton) succeeded to the estate. Plans made c. 1823 to alter and extend the house were not carried out, but some additional landscaping may have taken place. (Map evidence shows that the plantations on the northern boundary, for example, came between 1813 and 1855.) Sarah and Henry remained at Hotham Hall until 1845 when they retired to Devon. (Neave, ‘Hotham Hall’)
The mid 19th-century OS plan shows the completed landscape. (OS plan 1855). The park is wide at the northern end, narrowing towards the south. To the north of Hotham Hall a plantation (Orchard Plantation) that runs along the edge of Harrybeck Lane marks the boundary. (The landscaping to the north of the lane is associated with a different property, Hotham House.) There are further plantations on the eastern edge of the park (through which runs the beck), including Coombs plantation in which a summerhouse is marked. At the southern end lies Fish Pond Plantation, part of the 1760s landscaping associated with North Cave manor house.
There are several water features, including the main lake and cascades, a small pond in front of the house, the long, regular ‘Old Fish Pond’, and the large pond to the south created in the 1760s. Features to the north-west of Hotham Hall include hot houses and an ice house.
Hotham Hall was usually let to tenants from about 1850 until Edward John Stracey-Clitherow inherited the estate in 1869. When it was advertised to let in 1850 reference was made to the pleasure grounds, gardens, hot-houses, ice-house, kitchen garden and about 140 acres of grass land. The house was leased the following year, but the lease terminated after only three years. When a new tenant was found in 1854 he insisted that three poplar trees adjoining the hall be removed. (Neave, ‘Hotham Hall’)
Stracey-Clitherow carried out a certain amount of planting after inheriting the estate in 1869. These included 2 Wellingtonias in 1873, 3 more Wellingtonias and other trees in 1877, and 2 mountain ash, 2 horse chestnut and 1 sycamore in 1880. All these were planted to the north of Hotham Hall. In 1882-3 he planted areas near the brook and summerhouse, perhaps an extension of or replanting in the area known as Flora Plantation. (ERALS, DDHH/4/6/47)
Hotham lies about 26 miles south-east of York, and 10 miles south-west of Beverley. Hotham Hall is at the southern end of Hotham village and its grounds lie between the hall and North Cave village to the south.
The present area of the parkland and the gardens is about 100 acres (40.5 ha). At its greatest extent c. 1910 the parkland, gardens and boundary plantations covered about 210 acres (85 ha).
The park as mapped in the late 19th century was bounded by Orchard Plantation, Beck Clump and Hillside Plantation to the north, with Coombs Plantation on the eastern boundary, and the lake or fish pond and associated plantations near the site of North Cave manor house to the south. On the western side the boundary ran north from Nordham to the kennels north-west of Hotham Hall, deviating in the middle to take in an extra block of land that bordered Hotham Road.
The grounds of Hotham Hall lie on the lowest edge of the west facing scarp slope of the Yorkshire Wolds. The land is virtually flat but with some undulations mostly between 15 m and 20 m AOD. There is a slight rise south to north and more particularly towards the east up to 25 m.
The bedrock is a mixture of mudstone, shales, thin beds of limestone and siltstone (Scunthorpe and Charmouth Mudstone Formation). The surface deposits through much of the parkland are silts and clay (Glaciolacustrine Deposits Devensian) with blown sand in the north west corner.
East Riding Landscape Character Type 11: Yorkshire Wolds: Jurassic Hills Farmland, subsection 11A West Facing Open Farmland. The parkland is set in open farmland to the east and west, with the parkland of Hotham House and the village of Hotham to the north, and open farmland and the eastern edge of the village of North Cave to the south.
Entrances and approaches
A road runs through the former parkland of Hotham Hall, linking the villages of North Cave and Hotham. Beginning opposite Park Street in Hotham, runs south passing between the old kitchen garden and stable courtyard of the hall. At the southern end there is a lodge which stands at the top of Church Lane in North Cave, near the north-west corner of the lake or fishpond. It was built c. 1870, soon after J.E. Stracey-Clitherow inherited the estate. The grey brick building with slate roof has dormers with half-hipped gables. (Pevsner & Neave, Yorkshire: York & ER, 625) This replaced the lodge marked on the 1854 OS plan.
Hotham Hall Listed Grade II*
The hall was built for William Burton c. 1720. The core, built of local limestone, is a two-storey, five-bay, double-pile house with attics, with a Westmorland slate roof. Two-storey, three-bay pedimented pavilions were added to each side in 1772. The west pavilion was demolished in 1871, when a white brick service wing was added. (Pevsner & Neave, Yorkshire: York & ER, 484)
Stables Listed Grade II*
North-west of the house stands a stone stable block set around an open courtyard. Above the carriage entrance is a cupola with ogee lead roof with weathervane. Some of the materials, including the 1683 datestone, were brought here from North Cave Manor House when it was demolished in the 1770s. (Pevsner & Neave, Yorkshire: York & ER, 484-5).
Gardens and pleasure grounds
The pleasure grounds are still dominated by the lake with cascades to the east of the hall.
On the 1813 plan there are three enclosed gardens north of the hall. The largest, measuring over an acre, has a large hot house on the south side; to the east is another small enclosure, measuring less than ¼ of an acre, marked as garden. The third, garden enclosure, measuring just under ½ acre, is north of the stable courtyard, and has a greenhouse associated with it. (ERALS, DDHHH/4/6/45)
A sale of plants in 1857 following the death of the tenant of Hotham Hall, Major Arkwright, included heliotropes, fuchsias and camelias together with pear, plum, peach, nectarine and fig trees. (Hull Packet, 5 June 1857)
The largest of the three gardens survives. When the house was put up for sale in 1984 the walled garden was described as a very productive market garden with extensive greenhouses and workshops. (Newscutting cutting from Hull Daily Mail, 1984) The walled enclosure, with derelict greenhouses, survives but is no longer associated with Hotham Hall. The former ice-house is close by.
Park and plantations
The area north of the hall and west of the large lake with cascades is still parkland, with plenty of trees. To the south and west the former parkland, which has a few scattered trees, is now under cultivation. The southernmost close (between the Old Fish Pond and the large pond near North Cave church) was probably never planted; no trees are shown in 1855. It would have used for grazing. A small strip of land separating it from the lake is pasture.
The areas of plantation remain more or less as mapped in the late 19th century.
Northern Lake with Cascades
This was almost certainly part of the landscaping carried out in the late 18th century, and is marked on the map dated 1813.
Small Fish Pond
The small, regular shaped fish pond in front of Hotham Hall, shown on the mid 19th century OS plan, survives.
Old Fish Pond
The long, narrow canal-shaped pond may have been made after the Burtons built Hotham Hall in the 1720s. It is now described on maps as a drain.
Southern Fish Pond or Lake
This lake was created by Sir George Montgomery Metham in the 1760s, and in the later 19th century had a boat house. The beck runs alongside the southern edge of the lake.
Books and articles
K.J. Allison (ed.), Victoria County History, Yorkshire E. Riding, IV, 1979
D. Neave ‘Hotham Hall and its Owners’, unpublished typescript notes, 1975
D. Neave & D. Turnbull, Landscaped Parks and Gardens of East Yorkshire, 1992
S. Neave, Medieval Parks of East Yorkshire, 1991
S. Neave, ‘Manor House, North Cave’, unpublished house history, 2012
N. Pevsner & D. Neave, Buildings of England: Yorkshire, York and the East Riding, Penguin Books, 1995
A. Young, A Six Months Tour through the North of England (1769)
Hotham Hall estate records (East Riding Archives and Local Studies) [ERALS], DDHH
Hull Daily Mail
Plan of North Cave in 1766 showing enclosure allotments (original at Giggleswick School)
Grounds of Hotham Hall in 1813 (ERALS, DDHH/4/6/45)
T. Jefferys’, Yorkshire, 1772 & 1775
Ordnance Survey plans 1855-2012