Barnsley House is a mellow seventeenth century stone rectory in the Cotswold village of Barnsley, near Cirencester in Gloucestershire. For more than fifty years it was the home of Rosemary Verey, OBE (1918-2001), the legendary garden designer and writer. In 1939 she married David Verey, the architectural historian, whose family owned Barnsley House and in the grounds, she created her own gardens which she first opened to the public in 1970 under the National Gardens Scheme.
As demand grew, the gardens were eventually open six days a week, and among the most visited in Britain.
In 1984 when her husband David died, Rosemary Verey began designing gardens for British and American clients including HRH the Prince of Wales, Sir Elton John, Princess Michael of Kent and the New York Botanic Garden. The gardens display a delightful combination of strong period design and intricate cottage garden planting, together with a carefully considered succession of vistas and colour schemes.
At Barnsley House, Rosemary Verey's famous Laburnum Walk was inspired by The National Trust's Bodnant Garden in North Wales. She is also noted for making ornamental potager gardens fashionable once again. The potager at Barnsley House was inspired by that at Villandry, on the Loire in France. Also Featuring knot gardens, and statues by Simon Verity, Barnsley also has a Gothick summer house and a neo-classical stone temple, which David Verey had moved stone by stone from nearby Fairford Park.
Rosemary Verey's reputation did not begin to spread widely, however, until 1980, when her first book, The Englishwoman's Garden, became a great success. It took the form of 36 short essays about their gardens by well-known women. More than a dozen books followed, among them The Englishman's Garden (1982) and The Garden in Winter (1988).
You might want to stroll through the sunny terraces, formal lawns, ancient meadows and wildernesses to fully appreciate these gardens which remain carefully cared for today.