In recognition of Capability Brown's stunning contributions to the landscape of England, a number of sites have achieved protected listed status with Historic England.
New to the National Heritage List for England - known as the List - is Stoke Place in Buckinghamshire, an amazing survivor on the outskirts of Slough and an important example of a Capability Brown pleasure ground, designed during the height of his career in the mid-1760s. Stoke Place is one of a cluster of three Brown sites in the area, along with Stoke Park and Langley Park which are already on the List. Providing the setting for the Grade II listed house the large lake is the most noticeable trademark Capability Brown feature, and was the centrepiece of the pleasure grounds. The designer revolutionised garden design by removing formal planting in favour of an idealised ‘natural’ landscape. Stoke Place was developed and extended in the early nineteenth century.
Another new addition to the List is Peper Harow Park near Godalming, Surrey which was landscaped by Brown in the 1760s to emphasise the grandeur of the near-contemporary Grade I listed Peper Harow House designed by eminent architect Sir William Chambers.
Today, Peper Harow Park still largely reflects the original design Brown intended and several trees survive from Brown’s time, which are now over 250 years old. It is likely that Brown was responsible for ‘sculpting’ the River Wey here so as to enhance the natural topography and enhance the principal view from the house. The park is also home to a cricket pitch which held one of the first ever recorded cricket games in 1727.
But know that more than Genius slumbers here...
Wilderness House at Hampton Court Palace has been upgraded to Grade II* to reflect its importance as the home of Capability Brown during his time as Master Gardener to George III. Wilderness House dates back to around 1700 and is largely unchanged within - a rare survival. Brown is credited with planting the Great Vine at Hampton Court in 1768, the largest grape vine in the world.
The Wotton Underwood landscape in Buckinghamshire has been upgraded to Grade I to celebrate it as an outstanding example of an eighteenth-century country house landscape. Following recent research and analysis by The Gardens Trust, our understanding of this important landscape has increased and is helping to inform restoration work. The landscape was shaped by a number of high-profile designers of the day, including Capability Brown. Home to the separately listed Grade I house, the grounds are full of man-made picturesque details including a large lake, islands, bridges, a rotunda, pavilion and grotto.
Brown’s final resting place is the churchyard of Grade I listed St Peter and St Paul Church, Fenstanton, Cambridgeshire where he was buried in February 1783. The exceptional medieval church has been re-listed to recognise its connection to the great designer who became Lord of the Manor of Fenstanton when he acquired the Manor house from the Earl of Northampton, a mark of his worldly success. “But know that more than Genius slumbers here” reads a memorial inside the church; one line of an epitaph written by the poet, the Rev William Mason.
The walled garden at Charlton Park, Wiltshire was first listed in 1951. Since then further research has shown that it is highly likely to be a design by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, who visited Charlton Park in 1786 and proposed a new walled garden. The List entry has been amended to reflect this.
Other sites re-listed to celebrate Capability Brown’s national importance include:
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