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The Grange Gardens

The Grange gardens were lovely at the beginning of the 1900's as can be seen from the postcard dated 8th August 1917 showing the rose gardens with the orangery beyond. There are still people in Rothley who remember these gardens, especially when they were open once a year for a Garden Fete hosted by Colonel and Mrs Abbot Robinson who lived at The Grange from 1894-1946 and 1950. It was then sold to the Barrow Rural District Council as offices and the garden went into gradual decline. Mrs Abbott Robinson was an artistic gardener and a channel was formed from the Rothley Brook as a water feature, ponds built and paths laid out. She also kept exotic birds that were allowed into the gardens during the summer and even in 2012 these are remembered as macaws that were liable to peck you.

In 2012 there are still the remains of this once beautiful garden but the woodland no longer has its paths so is a home for wildlife. The Cider Press escaped the garden thieves in 2006 but the Millstone and Lions did not. The Cider Press now forms the centrepiece of the formal garden to the rear of The Grange.

The half moon pond has been restored and in March 2012 the frogs or newts are eagerly awaited! The oblong pond is still overgrown in the woodland but the lilies still grow. This larger pond was most likely used for trout with water levels being maintained by the water used for powering the organ in the parish church next door.

Ron Stokes, whose Mother used to work at The Grange at the time of Mr and Mrs Abbott Robinson, remembers spending many hours in the gardens especially around the brook with its otters and water voles. The old bridge over the channel was known then as Polly Parrot Bridge and the channel called the Trout Stream.

When I moved into an apartment in Clare Court in July 2011 my view was over the lawns to the half moon pond and I vowed to restore it. This was done with the help of Steve Mitchell, Anita Armstrong and Richard White and I cannot thank them enough for digging out brambles and stumps, not to mention the day when Richard helped me to bucket the gunge. In April 2012 the water is clear, the Marsh Marigolds are growing, the pond weed in for amphibians and it is now ready for its new lease of life.
Marion Vincent
Natural History Heritage Warden for Rothley

Side view of The Grange showing how lovely the gardens were in 1917. At the foot of the sundial is a stone lion which was later moved to the back of the house when this area was put to other uses.

When The Grange was sold to the builder Wm. Davis a Landscape Design Statement was prepared by Ian Stemp Landscape Associates under reference 05/1550/2 dated 24th May 2005.

Looking across the rear gardens in April 2002 towards Rothley Brook. This is the other side of the 1774 building shown above. The stone lion, with another, is shown between the gap in the yew hedge although now uncared for.

Still looking towards Rothley Brook over the rear gardens. Ancient Wellingtonia Tree to the right. April 2002

Looking over the rear gardens towards Rothley Brook. The old concrete Barrow RDC computer building to the left. The Cider Press used as an ornament between the Yew bushes and the stone lions in the gap in the Yew hedge further right. April 2002

Looking to the Barrow RDC concrete computer block. A medieval burial site was discovered when an archaeological survey was carried out as a condition of the sale to William Davis, builders. Clare Court is now on this site. April 2002

Looking towards Rothley Parish Church over the Barrow RDC computer block. The stone lions can be seen in the foreground. These, like other artefacts, quietly disappeared before the sale to William Davis and around the time that the archaeological survey was carried out. April 2002

Looking to the rear of The Grange with an ancient oak and a mass of daffodils. This was taken in April 2002 and the daffodils are still blooming in profusion in 2016.

This beautiful Blue Cedar was one of the specimen trees in The Grange garden and photographed in April 2002. To the right is a large, oblong lily pond and a sturdy stone table with a millstone for the top. The millstone was yet another artefact which disappeared at the time of the archaeological survey

The millstone table and lily pond in April 2002

Another specimen Blue Cedar in April 2002

The outline of these beds with the grass 'rays' can still be seen in April 2012 with this photo being taken in April 2002. There is a lovely half-moon pond just out of sight to the right.

A view of the Blue Cedar trees in April 2002 with the Wellingtonia to the left.

Just to the right of the Blue Cedar trees is an Oak shown in the photograph taken in April 2002

The Wellingtonia with Willows. April 2002

The same view as above in February 2007

The garden extended through woodland with stone-lined paths creating a woodland walk with bluebells. April 2002

The Wellingtonia has a girth of 6m and recorded as Tree 35 in the Ancient Tree Survey of Rothley. April 2002

A car park was created on the boundary with Fowke Street and shown above in April 2002. In 2012 it is part of Temple Court.

The rear garden in September 2005

The rear garden in September 2005

The ornamental Cider Press looking overgrown in unkempt gardens to the derelict Grange. September 2005

This private gate gave the residents of The Grange access to the Rothley Parish Church without having to go by the road. July 2006

The gate above took you over a private road to the Old Vicarage into the side gate of the churchyard. July 2006

Rothley Brook to the right and the channel on the left made into a water feature and a trout stream to the Grange gardens. Roy Stokes remembers the trout from his boyhood. The canal cutting was originally formed as a requirement of the Enclosure Act of 1782. Photo taken April 2002

Rothley Brook from The Grange and Playing Field. April 2002

The original stone bridge over the channel created to give access to the field beyond. This was re-built when The Grange was sold and work started on the site. The old bridge was still there in February 2007. Many years ago it was called 'Polly Parrot Bridge' recalls Roy Stokes who knew the gardens as a child.

The new bridge in July 2008

Looking from the old bridge down to the water feature in the channel. April 2002

View of the water feature in the channel. April 2002

The water feature in February 2007

Looking to the old bridge, known as Polly Parrot Bridge, over the channel. Water feature beyond. February 2007

The channel created from Rothley Brook and part of the water feature close to the stone bridge. Photo taken February 2007

The oblong lily pond in 2002

The oblong lily pond in a very neglected state. September 2005

Impossible to see the oblong lily pond. Totally overgrown with ivy, brambles and tree saplings. July 2008

The half-moon ornamental pond. July 2008. Surrounding paving covered by ivy, brambles and saplings.

The pond was emptied of black gunge in September 2011. It was also full of pieces of Swithland slate from the surrounding paths.

The pathway around the pond was cleared of vegetation and stumps. September 2011

The half moon pond under restoration. September 2011

Soon ready to be filled again. September 2011

In August 2012. The frogspawn is now producing frogs, the pond weed is healthy and pond snails have been introduced. The Marsh Marigolds have flowered and the floods in July which engulfed the pond have had no effect. Tadpoles were rescued every day and returned to the pond.

A paved area to the side of the hal moon pond was also cleared of vegetation and saplings. Work in progress September 2011

The paving and front wall with the half moon pond over the wall. September 2011

Looking to The Grange on the right and Clare Court to the left. September 2011

Looking from the half-moon pond in 1965. The lion heads were removed/stolen like so many of the ornamental features in this lovely garden.

The half moon lily pond is in a semi-secluded area beyond the lawns. September 2011.
The Wishing Well Pond is to the right beyond the railings.

The Wishing Well Pond was also cleared of gunge and is now home to a smooth newt. Pond weed and snails were introduced to encourage wildlife and it was quite a thrill to see that a newt had taken up residence. It even survived the July floods when this pond was engulfed by water.

The Wishing Well Pond. August 2012.
Called so because its description cannot be traced but there are two indents in the 'skirt' suggesting an overhead structure.

The ponds were under water. July 2012

The Half-Moon pond was well under water and tadpoles were being rescued. July 2012

The Wishing Well Pond was well submerged. July 2012

The Japanese Garden with Bamboo, Japanese Knotweed and blossom trees was to the left in the woodland. 2011

There was a Japanese Garden in the woodland close to the water feature in the channel. September 2011

Remnants of the Japanese Garden. September 2011

Remnants of stonework in the Japanese Garden. September 2011

A herb garden was created in Clare Court, close to the Parish Church, and every hole dug revealed oyster shells. These were greatly enjoyed by the Romans and this area is very close to a known site. June 2014

Looking to Rothley Church. Clare Court being built on the site of the medieval burial ground. July 2008

View over the lawns to The Grange on the left, Saxon Court and Temple Court to the right. March 2012

The daffodils still blooming in March 2012

March 2014

March 2014

The Cider Press in its new home at the rear of The Grange. July 2008

Gina, from Saxon Court, by the Cider Press. September 2013.

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