Iford Manor - History and Facts | History Hit

Iford Manor

Lucy Davidson

09 Aug 2021
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons / CC / Flickr: The Patio Garden

About Iford Manor

Iford Manor is a manor house and estate in Bradford-on-Avon with Grade I-listed gardens.

History of Iford Manor

The land on which Iford Manor stands today was recorded in the Domesday Book, but the manor’s history starts to become more fully recorded around the 14th century, when it was purchased by the Horton family, who became powerful and wealthy players in the wool trade of the time. Iford Manor contributed to this, acting partly as a workshop or factory for wool and textiles in the 15th century while the family also lived there.

Various alterations, extensions and improvements were made to the manor and grounds over the coming centuries by its various owners, including the Chandler and Gaisford families, but it was when Harold Peto purchased Iford Manor in 1899 that one of most dramatic and beneficial changes occurred.

An architect by trade, Peto had grand ideas for revamping Iford Manor’s garden, which he implemented over the coming years, using his knowledge of garden design acquired from his global travels, as well as planting some of the specimens he had brought back from faraway lands. Italian and Japanese influences were particularly prominent in the gardens and Peto incorporated numerous features throughout, including fountains, sculptures, columns, a courtyard and a pavilion.

Iford Manor today

The Cartwright-Hignett family have owned Iford Manor since 1965 and have restored the gardens over the years. Much of Peto’s innovative work remains in place today and the gardens are a huge attraction for visitors from around the area and far beyond. Three miles of footpaths leading around Iford Manor let visitors explore the estate, and the setting was also one of the key locations in the 2020 film ‘The Secret Garden’, starring Julie Walters and Colin Firth. The site is also used for various events, including live music concerts, supper clubs, and evening champagne tours of the gardens.

Getting to Iford Manor

Iford Manor is in Bradford-on-Avon, two miles south-west of the town centre. The nearest rail station is Avoncliff, just over a mile away. It is around 20 minutes from the city of Bath by car.

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