Island Pavilion, Croome Park

Record ID:  73213*0 / MNA143346
Record type:  Monument
Protected Status: Registered Park or Garden, Listed Building: Grade I
NT Property:  Croome Park; Midlands
Civil Parish:  Croome D'abitot; Malvern Hills; Worcestershire
Grid Reference:  SO 8789 4464
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Summary

Bath stone ashlar garden temple, square on plan, located on island within Croome Park's lakeside garden area. The pavilion dates from the 1770's, but excavations in 2000 proved the island itself dates to 1747-52.

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Monument Types

  • GARDEN TEMPLE (Mid 18th C to Late 18th C - 1760 AD to 1778 AD)

Description

Bath stone ashlar garden temple in the form of a c 3.5 m cube with hipped slate pyramid roof, located on island within Croome's Lakeside Garden. Three solid walls, each plain and undecorated externally, with open southern façade containing two Corinthian columns and corner Corinthian piers below entablature with decorative frieze depicting drapes and punchbowls and modillion cornice. Capitals are of Portland stone. Interior contains rectangular Coade stone freize on each of the three walls; centrally is depicted the Aldobrandini Marriage, griffons and tripods to the sides. The central wall also contains two circular plaques of Pyrygion shepherds (Kelly A, 1990 p 74). A flat, open, grassy area fronts the pavilion to the south. James Wyatt is tentatively attributed with its design by the Listed Building's register while English Heritage's register credits Capability Brown and other sources, including the National Trust's leaflet, names Robert Adam as the designer. The building has been dated at c 1800 in the Listed Buildings Register but the Coade stone plaques are known to date from 1778 and it is thought that they were installed some years after the temple's original construction (Vol 1, Appendix 10). Archaeological Comments - Site:73213*0 The Island Temple is in a relatively good condition, appearing to be solid and secure but with some small cracks in the frieze, walls and columns. There is a substantial amount of internal staining on the walls where water has penetrated and although the roof has been replaced in recent years there is a large damp patch appearing on the also replaced ceiling. The internal walls are covered with grafitti. The decorative features (Coade stone plaques and Portland stone capitals) are well preserved.

The Island was subject to a intensive investigation in the summer / autumn of 2000 to provide detailed records of the fabric of the Pavilion before its restoration; record changes and developments that may have taken place since it was first built; ascertain the nature and extent of any insitu deposits and clearly identify the approach and substance of the path network across the island. The following details are extracted from the project report [SNA62233]. The results of the investigation provided a detailed picture of the construction of the Pavilion and subsequent repairs to the footings and steps of the building, but also produced some surprising results, including the identification of undisturbed geology proving that the island was a natural feature, created by the excavation of channels around it when the serpentine lake was created and the discovery of an early red brick path which predated the construction of the pavilion itself. In addition all phases of the pebbled paths running from the western to eastern bridges were revealed and recorded [pref ref 73330*3].
From the excavated material it appears that during the period 1747-1752 the Serpentine Lake was partially created by John Phipps, and certainly extended north and south by Capability Brown as part of the major landscape design of c. 1752. Shortly after the first, red brick built phase of the driveway, was constructed. During the 1770’s the Island Pavilion was constructed by Robert Adam resulting in ground preparation identified by the earthworks at the rear of the temple, the levelling of the ground surface and the foundation cut. After the construction of the Pavilion, the next phase of activity saw the cut dug to facilitate the laying of lias limestone hard core and the path. This activity was clearly later than the brick and pebbled path as the lias hardcore of not only abutted the brick path but also respected its alignment. It was also around this time that the footings of lias limestone blocks were inserted at the base of the Pavilion to provide a firm foundation for the steps of the monument. The Pavilion was now complete with a uniform pebbled path snaking between the two bridges and opening out directly in front of the monument.
After numerous years of wear, weathering and perhaps vandalism the steps up to the Pavilion were broken and removed. Attempts were made to repair and reinstate a flight of stairs identified by two distinct phases of concrete adhering to the side of the floor of the Pavilion. However, this was unsuccessful and so a hardcore foundation composed of lias limestone fragments mixed with red brick and oolitic limestone was deposited with the sole aim of raising the ground level to provide access into the pavilion. This hardcore was then covered with a layer of pebbles thereby providing a new raised path to make the Pavilion once again accessible. [SNA62233]

The General Accounts [SNA63905] provide documentary evidence for work undertaken at the pavilion during the 1770s. The first entry dates to Michaelmas 1776 "Paid John Thomas for forest stone for steps for the pavilion at lake 27 Sept 1777"and Jos Stephens was paid in the Lady Day 1777 account for stone work for the pavilion. Entries continue in the Lady Day 1778 account with payment made to "…Mr Farley a bill for bath stone for the pavilion and piers 15th May 1779" and also "Paid Robert Newman stone mason for building ditto 24th May 1779".

References

  • SNA62220 - National Trust Report: Jonathan Gill, Christopher E Howlett. 1997. National Trust Croome Park Historic Landscape Survey: Background and Historical Development. Volume 1.

  • SNA62233 - National Trust Report: Cleary, R. 2000. Croome Park Archaeological Assessment, The Island Pavilion.

  • SNA63209 - National Trust Report: Tempus Reparatum Archaeological and Historical Associates. 1996. NationalTrust Archaeological and Landscape History Survey: Croome Landscape Park.

  • SNA63905 - Document: Agent and Lord Coventry. 1773-1784. Croome General Accounts Lady Day 1773 to Michaelmas 1784.

  • SNA66230 - National Trust Report: National Trust (No author). 1998. Croome Park A Gazetteer: of the Park, Buildings, Statuary, Land Form, Engineered Structures & Archaeological Finds. 1 of 1.

  • SZK1260 - Monograph: D Stroud. 1975. Capability Brown. 2.

  • SZK2253 - Monograph: M Cousins. Croome Court.

  • SZK2896 - Monograph: A Kelly. 1990. Mrs Coade's Stone.

  • SZK6657 - Article in serial: Bolton, Arthur T. 1915. Croome Court, Worcestershire: The Seat of the Earl of Coventry, April 1915.

  • SZK8115 - Collection: English Heritage. 1984. Register.

  • SZK8153 - National Trust Report: Jonathan Gill, Christopher E Howlett. 1997. National Trust Croome Park Historic Landscape Survey: Archaeology and Architecture Volume 2. 2.

Designations

Other Statuses and References

None Recorded

Associated Events

  • ENA4173 - Field Survey, Historic Landscape Survey, Croome Park
  • ENA4187 - Field Survey, Archaeological Assessment of the Island Pavillion, Croome Park

Associated Finds

None Recorded

Related Records

None Recorded