Monday 21 November 2022

While the weather outside is frightful....

While the weather outside is frightful let's go somewhere delightful shall about the classically inspired gardens of Stourhead in Wiltshire?

Under normal circumstances this type of heavily designed and landscaped gardens is not to my personal taste. However, this one is the work of Henry Hoare II, one of the so-called "Gentleman Gardeners" [which I'm guessing translates as he had the ideas, but got others to do the work for him] in the 1740s. He was heavily influenced by the Grand Tours of Europe and this shows in the pantheon, the palladian bridge [after the 16th century architect Palladio] and the temples to Apollo and Flora. The later addition of the heavily restored medieval Bristol Cross [built in 1373] in 1765 seems rather at odds with the other garden statuary, but it had been moved a couple of times around Bristol and was basically causing a nuisance. Rather ignominiously it ended up being taken apart and the pieces stored in the cathedral for two years. Eventually Hoare was offered it by the Dean and we all like a freebie don't we😆

Stourhead underwent further changes when it passed into the hands of Henry's grandson Richard. He put his stamp on the place by removing some features and planting an extraordinary 90000 trees in 13 years. He is also noted as a pelargonium fanatic. In its heyday he grew 600 varieties and even now the estate grows a slightly more modest 100 types. By 1946 the house and gardens had been passed over into the care of the National Trust and it was awarded a listed graded 1 status by the Registered Historic Parks and Garden of Special Historic Gardens in 1987.

Sadly our time was all too short here as we were travelling back from Cornwall and just breaking our journey. Should we pass by again I'd like to make time to visit the house.



  1. Now that is spectacular - must put that on the 'to visit' list (if only to see that cross - it is a bit like Charing Cross is it not?)

    1. Yes that's how Charing Cross got its name I believe. Arilx

  2. I always say that I'm not mad keen on landscaped gardens but when I look back at photos of places I've visited I am awed by their manicured perfection. Love the bridge reflected in the water! xxx

    1. This one is well thought out and very atmospheric. It's been used as a film location I think. Arilx


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