During the 1770s Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown did a survey and made plans for Nathaniel Bayly, possibly for Hanwell Park.
Capability Brown's account book records payments from Nathaniel Bayly, and it is thought that it may have been for work at Hanwell Park, an estate of around 113 hectares (280 acres), in Ealing, London, though firm evidence is lacking.
A survey and a drawing
Entries in Brown’s account book (see online) record a payment from Bayly of £3 and 3 shillings (around £4,900 in 2015) for "a survey made, a fair drawing of & taken by Mr Lapidge" and also "£5. 5s. 0d (around £8,200 in 2015) for my own trouble & a journey there". Samuel Lapidge was one of Brown’s surveyors from 1764 and was also his office manager.
Nathaniel Bayly was the MP for Abingdon, and the payment simply lists him as resident at Hanwell, Middlesex. We know he was a tenant on land owned by the Hobbayne's Charity, of which he was also a trustee. Through an Act of Parliament, the charity swapped portions of land in 1775 with Charles and Henry Berners, the owners of Hanwell Park, who wanted to improve the views to the south of their house. The small piece of land that Bayly tenanted was part of that swap. The only other reference to Bayly being in Hanwell was made by a visitor to the area in the mid-1770s who mentioned that this house was one to visit. Bayly returned to Jamaica in 1779 to manage family estates there.
There is no clear evidence that Brown’s survey does relate to Hanwell Park rather than to another property in the area. Early Ordnance Survey maps of Ealing show Hanwell Park, but do not reveal any obvious Brownian features in the landscaping. Another possible, though unproven, link between Brown and Hanwell is that his surveyor Nathaniel Richmond may have worked for the Berners family at Woolverstone Hall, Suffolk.
Hanwell Park today
The house at Hanwell Park was pulled down in the early 20th century and Drayton Manor High School was built nearby on what is now Drayton Bridge Road. The site has largely been developed for housing.
London Parks & Gardens Trust: www.londongardenstrust.org/Brown/WestLondon.htm
Capability Brown's Account book, page 96: www.rhs.org.uk/education-learning/libraries-at-rhs/collections/library-online/capability-brown-account-book