The gardens at Goddards

Explore the four acres of garden rooms on a tour of the private haven of the Terry family and discover the wonderful world of arts and crafts design at Goddards.

Arts & Crafts 

The Arts and Crafts movement in design was a reaction to the excess of Victorian industrialisation and the new notions of a mass market. It grew from a desire to revive traditional craftsmanship and restore simplicity and honesty back to design. 

Designers such as William Morris and Charles Rennie Macintosh wanted to reform the way things were made and rebel against this new age of mass production. The movement’s aims and aesthetics survive to this day at Goddards and can be seen in each element of the garden down to the plant pots in the greenhouse.

George Dillistone 

Another cornerstone of the movement was the relationship between the architect and gardener. George Dillistone worked closely alongside the architect Walter Brierley to achieve harmony between the two components. Constant letters back and forth ensured a marriage of the two disciplines that was to become synonymous with the arts and crafts designs of the day.

What you see now at Goddards is not a major change from 1927 when it was first realised by these two great designers, a testament to its craftsmanship. Where planting schemes have been lost over the years we're working hard to replant and reclaim to in time, get as close to the original plans as is feasible.

Goddards secret garden, a view from the terrace
Goddards arts and crafts garden

The secret garden 

Our first impression of the house is it peeking through the foliage, a secret haven for the Terrys in the centre of York.

The arts and crafts influence is even visible from the first gaze of the garden. The house cuts across the line of the driveway creating our introduction to the asymmetric patterns echoed throughout the garden.  

The unique shape of the chestnut trees lining the entrance was achieved through Pollarding –a pruning system promoting a dense head of foliage and branches, much like the ones that can now be seen at Goddards.

As you approach the house and look down across the lawn, the iconic clock tower at Terry’s chocolate works can be seen over what is now the County Stand at York Racecourse, linking the Terry home to the heart of the Terry chocolate empire.
 

Garden  Rooms 

The gardens are divided into rooms in yet another feature of its Arts and Crafts style. The idea behind the rooms was that of a continuation of the house extending beyond the walls and into the garden. The outdoor rooms similarly to those in the house each perform a separate function - there are  several such rooms including a bowling green, tennis lawn, terrace and rockery.  If you stand on the terrace and look down on the garden you can see how hedges and shrubs provide the structure to these so called rooms.  
 

The herbaceous border running across the back of the house is certainly one of the most spectacular rooms of the garden, coming alive with Delphiniums, Sedums and brightly coloured Rudbeckia blooms in late summer.

The bowling green and tennis lawn were very much used by the Terry family and their guests. It was always a garden to be lived in as well as looked at from the comfort of the terrace. The Terry children were known for racing up and down the gardens on their bikes, speeding down the hill and attempting to get back up to the top in one go!

The terrace anchors the house to the garden. You realise the house sits higher than the gardens which slope away. This allowed the Terrys to look down on their once bountiful rose garden and now allows you to appreciate the garden as Dillistone intended - as a landscape masterpiece.

The rock garden is a haven for wildlife
the pond and rock garden is a haven for wildlife

Take a walk on the wild side 

Walk down into the garden to gauge the change in design and feel and step into another imagination of the Arts and Crafts style. The formality and precision of the borders, hedges and lawns ebbs away and what is left is a much looser and natural display. This style pioneered by William Robinson was considered wild in the Victorian sense, contrasting with the formality and clean lines of the garden rooms seen immediately from the house.

The rock garden  is yet another hidden retreat. Come and experience for yourself this peaceful corner of the estate. It's quite an indulgent feature - the limestone used was carried all the way from outside the city walls at great expense. A status garden and a great area for wildlife - the water of the rock pool is another world in itself. 

A working garden 

The kitchen garden may now only take up part of the lawn but it was once responsible for feeding the Terry household and supplying the kitchens with vegetables and other staples. Now the vegetable patch is a prime example of what can be done with only a small space. Peas, cabbages, potatoes and even James Grieve apples (Noel Terry’s favourite variety) now grow in the newly planted orchard looking out across the racetrack. 

The greenhouse is very much alive and in use. From the exotic to the delicious, step inside to see for yourself the varieties taking seed. You might even find a gardener pausing over a brew and happy to have a chat.