The Embroiderers’ Guild was delighted to be a partner with the Capability Brown Festival and created 46 unique textile exhibitions at venues across the country. Their next Capability Brown inspired exhibition will be at Chatsworth in Derbyshire.
In 1775 Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown created a small-scale landscape park in a coastal setting around a fishing lodge, Boarnhill Cottage, since extended to become Cadland House.
The banker The Hon. Robert Drummond acquired a series of land holdings from 1772 that became the Cadland Estate, between Hythe and Fawley on Southampton Water. Capability Brown and his son-in-law, architect Henry Holland, who were both customers of the bank, were commissioned to design a new house and park on Southampton Water, and a fishing cottage with pleasure grounds on the Solent shore. The work is thought to have been done in around 1775.
A bound folio contains the architectural drawings for both the original Cadland House and Boarnhill Cottage and lays out the scheme for the pleasure grounds for the Cottage, a fishing lodge, which was 5 kilometres to the south of Cadland House. It shows how Brown scaled down his successful formula for a landscape park, with sheltered walks, clumps, scattered trees and perimeter belt to fit the 3.2-hectare (8-acre) site.
Seaside walks and views
In the plan, Boarnhill Cottage is shown surrounded by plantings of trees and shrubs, with the shingled areas of the seashore forming part of the scheme. From the east of the house a path leads from the lawn into an area of shrubbery below light woodland. This is the beginning of the circular walk providing a series of unfolding views that is the main feature of Brown’s design. Raised areas of planting offer shelter along the route, while breaks in the wooded shrubbery offer glimpses of the sea or the ornamental lawn.
The path turns to the south to form a terraced walk carved into the bank overlooking the beach. On the plan this is called ‘The Sea Bank with a Path of Gravell amongst the Furze Bushes etc'.
From the southern end of the gardens the coastal pathway turns to the north and loops back to the house by way of ‘A Path or Walk under the Hedge with Shrubs and Plants that will Grow’, indicating Brown’s care for the difficult planting conditions. This takes the walk through a flat area of lawn, with clumps of trees, bordered by a strip of shrubbery.
The walk continues through a flat area of lawn, dominated by one large and one small clump and single specimen trees in front of the main shelter belts. A flower garden, divided into quarters, is shown on the plan to the south west of the main walk; it is no longer in use.
The present Cadland House
The thatched Boarnhill Cottage designed by Henry Holland in the cottage orné style (Wikipedia) caught fire in 1785 and was rebuilt with a new slate roof. Holland added a new Palladian front and wings to the cottage in 1803. More changes were made in the 19th century when the cottage became a dower house for Lady Elizabeth Drummond; the stable block and the walled kitchen gardens were added.
In 1916 there was another severe fire and the house was not rebuilt until 1935. Cadland House and 1,500 acres on Southampton Water were taken for Fawley Oil Refinery in 1945 and it was then that Boarnhill Cottage was renamed Cadland House.
The gardens and their wooded backdrop have to survive the effects of the dry, acid soil and strong coastal winds. The restoration of the pleasure grounds by Hal Moggridge to the original Brown plan, drawn by Jonathan Spyers, began in 1983. After extensive damage during the storms of 1987 and 1990 there has been a major programme of replanting. The estate continues to be owned by the Drummond family.
Historic England list entry: www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1000280
Cadland House: www.cadland.co.uk/cadlandhouse/
The Hampshire Gardens Trust research website carries research summaries. Full research reports are deposited at Hampshire Record Office and are catalogued as HGT [name of site]: www3.hants.gov.uk/archives.htm. Any other enquiries should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.