Paycocke's - The Garden

The tranquil Arts & Crafts-style cottage garden, created during the renovation of Paycocke's, is a hidden gem. Based on the original design-work of Miriam Noel (who lived at Paycocke's during its restoration), the layout includes the swathes of iconic lavender, a much loved writers shelter and a croquet lawn. Please note, entry to the house and gardens is by pre-booked guided experience only.


History of the Garden

Although you would not know it today the outside space before you has not always been so picturesque.  In the early 1500s Thomas Paycocke may have used it as part of his bustling business yard.  During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Paycocke’s fell into decline and by the end of 1875 the area was almost enclosed with buildings, including maltings, stabling, cart shed and a large enclosed yard.  But it also had ample storage for gardener’s produce and an excellent well planted garden.

The garden’s current layout is, in essence as designed by Miriam Noel in 1904-1910.  Miriam and her husband Conrad Noel were living at Paycocke’s as tenants of Conrad’s cousin Lord Noel Buxton MP.  Miriam was inspired by the Arts & Crafts Movement fashionable at the time and designed the garden in that style.  She worked on her ideas in the Garden Room, loosely dividing the garden’s oblong shape into compartments of varying character.  She also added structural features such as the brick pathways, grid patterned beds and the writers shelter. 

Come and enjoy Paycocke's garden this summer
A view of the garden with Paycocke's house in the background
Come and enjoy Paycocke's garden this summer

The Courtyard

Adorning Miriam’s Garden Room is the glorious Wisteria sinensis.  Believed to have been planted by Miriam it is over 100 years old and frames the Buxton family emblem, pargetted in the plaster above the doorway during the house's restoration by Lord Buxton.  The original brick paving takes two forms and offers two pathways to the garden. 

The Upper Lawn

The upper lawn is enclosed by a wood and metal colonnade draped with roses and clematis.  The larger sloping lawn displays a specimen double white Prunus and in August 2012 this lawn formed the main site of an archaeological dig.

Wander through the rose arbour at Paycocke's
Wander through the rose arbour at Paycocke's
Wander through the rose arbour at Paycocke's

The Main Lawn

The long herbaceous borders which frame the main lawn were given serpentine edges and a gravel pathway in early 2012. They have been planted to display a variety of perennials and annuals.  Several specimen trees may be admired and a number of roses spanning the 500 years of Paycocke’s history can be marvelled as they flower throughout the season.  The native mixed hedge at the end of this compartment provides a living screen with archways at either end to entice the visitor to discover what lies beyond.

The Vegetable Garden & Pond

Here an array of vegetables, fruits and cutting flowers are grown with varieties and themes changing each year.  Harvested crops are often made available for visitors to purchase, and donations all contribute to the upkeep of the garden.  The flowers are cut by volunteers and used to make the house’s floral arrangements.  Garden waste is recycled in the large wooden bins, providing a supply of compost and leaf mould.   Deadwood is stacked to provide homes and shelter for the insects and small animals that use the garden

Beyond the vegetables lies the garden's final feature, a small pond. The pond is a connection to earlier centuries when the House’s grounds extended down to the River Blackwater.  The water would have been a vital resource to Thomas Paycocke for the washing of wool but also in the Victorian era when the back of the house had a brewery. Currently, the pond now forms part of the backwaters of the River Blackwater. 
Our gardening team is made up entirely of volunteers, so get in touch if you would like to grow our excellent team.
The back of the house is white and viewed from the lush green garden with an uneven roofline

Restoring the garden 

See how an overgrown industrial yard has become an Arts and Crafts garden, featuring plants that would have been grown here in days gone by, including medieval dye plants and Edwardian fuchsias.