Court & Gardens
Welcome to Madresfield Court, an iconic country house situated in the beautiful surroundings of the Worcestershire countryside. Steeped in rich heritage and surrounded by captivating landscapes, Madresfield Court offers a truly fascinating experience for all visitors.
For over 900 years, Madresfield Court has been the ancestral home of the Lygon family and today this magnificent country house, home to the 28th and 29th generations of the family, allows visitors to immerse themselves in a unique journey through time.
Discover its fascinating architecture, its extensive collections of ceramics, paintings, and antique furniture, learn about the influential figures who lived here and the pivotal moments that have shaped its existence. From the dramatic Staircase Hall to the breathtaking beauty of the Chapel, every space has its own unique story to tell.
After your tour around the house, step outside and enjoy the sixty five acres of gardens and grounds that surround the house. Take a leisurely walk along the mature avenues of oak and cedar trees, and explore meandering paths through the wild flower meadows.
First and foremost a family home, Madresfield Court is not just a glimpse into the past but also a living entity that thrives today. From exclusive guided tours to special events, there are various opportunities to engage with this remarkable estate. Immerse yourself in the rich history of the Lygon family and witness first hand a legacy that has been preserved for nine centuries.
Go to 'Visit' to find practical information, including visiting hours, ticket prices, and upcoming events. Or come and stay in one of our recently refurbished holiday cottages see 'Stay', eat the delicious estate produce at our new restaurant in Malvern (Madresfield Butchers and Grill), and make Madresfield your base for exploring the beautiful Malvern Hills AONB.
Madresfield Court is first recorded as a moated Great Hall in the twelfth century and was owned by the de Braci family. Amongst the many fascinating Court records is a deed dated 1280 which records William de Braci as living at Madresfield and it is from him that the current family is directly descended, a span of some 29 generations.
The façade of the house shows two distinct periods of brickwork – 16th and 19th centuries - and a stone above the door commemorates the 16th century alterations.
Dated 1593 it was in fact found by the 7th Earl amongst a pile of rubble at the back of the house and installed in its present position. The massive oak doors with no outside door handle is testimony to the fact that the house has never been unoccupied in all those years.
It has certainly never been bought or sold, passing by descent to this day.Learn more about the history of Madresfield
The 5th, 6th and 7th Earls were largely responsible for the creation of the house as you see it today. However, the 6th Earl did not restrict himself to enlarging the house. The garden was originally about 4 acres immediately surrounding the house. By the time he had finished, it covered 69 acres.
Under the guidance of William Cox, Head Gardener at Madresfield for 40 years, the framework of the garden was laid out, based on three avenues of oak, cedar, and Lombardy poplar, interspersed with a variety of specimen trees and flowering shrubs.
In addition to the formal gardens and lawns, a Pulhamite Rock Garden was created, an arbour of pleached lime trees was established and the kitchen garden was re-sited.
Like his father before him, the 7th Earl did not confine himself to improving the house. He was a keen and knowledgeable gardener. As soon as he succeeded to the title, he created a maze; it was planted in English yew, egg shaped and covering about three-quarters of an acre.
The design was reputed to have come off the back of a Boy’s Own comic.
Next to the maze (which today has sadly perished, and is now under reconstruction), he planted an herbaceous border which has now been replanted with a double border of irises and peonies. In the centre of the Iris Walk is a sundial reminding us “that day is wasted on which we have not laughed”. In the spring the gardens are carpeted with daffodils, fritillaries, bluebells, and other wildflowers, with new plantings of rhododendrons, acers and other specimen trees.
The most distinguished gardeners to work at Madresfield were William Cox, appointed in 1842 and William Crump who succeeded him in 1883. Cox raised the Madresfield grape here and in 1868 it was awarded the much-desired First-Class Certificate by the RHS.
Its vines still drape the Court walls to this day. Crump came to Madresfield from Blenheim and raised two new apples, the Madresfield Court and the William Crump, a cross between the 'Cox's Orange Pippin' and 'Worcester Pearmain'.
Soon after it was first exhibited, it received an RHS first class certificate with Crump himself being awarded the Victoria Medal of Honour in Horticulture in 1897.
Mr Crump was well-known for pedalling around the garden on his tricycle. Everything needed to supply the house was grown in the kitchen garden and when the family moved up to London these goods were sent up every day by train.