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Heveningham Hall (c) John Fielding

CAPABILITY BROWN IN SUFFOLK

In a celebration of rose bushes, hedgerows, apple trees, lush grass and all things horticultural we also look at one of ‘England’s greatest gardener,’ Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown's involvement in some of the gardens in Suffolk.
Euston Hall (c) Ashely DaceCapability Brown designed sections of the grounds at Euston Hall in The Brecks
Photo (c) Ashley Dace
Capability Brown was born in Northumberland in 1716, and at age 25 went on to work at Stowe House under William Kent, one of the acclaimed gardeners of the day, and a founder of the new style of English landscape garden. A year later Brown was appointed Head Gardener at Stowe, earning just £3,500 a year in today’s money. While at Stowe he was permitted to design gardens for the aristocratic friends of Lord Cobham, the owner of the house. Brown’s new English style made him highly sought after among the landed gentry, and by the 1760s he was earning the equivalent of £740,000 a year designing some of the most famous gardens in the country.
 
Among them were the gardens at Heveningham Hall, a palatial Georgian estate near Framlingham, Suffolk. Built in its present form between 1778 and 1780, Heveningham Hall would have been one of the last estates Capability Brown designed gardens for before his death in 1783. Few of his plans were implemented at the time, but more than two centuries later, work began to restore Heveningham Hall’s gardens and fulfill Brown’s original plans, including the creation of a chain of lakes stemming from the River Blyth. 
Heveningham Hall (c) Adrian S Pye

The gardens at Heveningham Hall have been restored to Capability Brown's original designs
Photo (c) Adrian S Pye

Brown was also commissioned to design gardens and waterways for the 3rd Duke of Grafton, the then Prime Minister, at Euston Hall near Elveden, Suffolk. Between 1769 and 1783, Capability Brown was consulted on numerous occasions, his influence being felt most in the small lakes and rivulets that created an idyllic waterscape within the grounds. In 2012 these lakes, sluices and weirs were restored.
Capability Brown designed a series of waterways at Euston Hall
Aside from Redgrave Park, a site now sadly converted to arable farmland, Capability Brown’s touch can be felt at one other site in Suffolk: Ickworth House. This extraordinary Georgian Italianate palace and gardens stands in the village of Horringer near Bury St Edmunds, and when first built was unlike anything that had been seen before; the house, with its grand rotunda, was described by some as a ‘stupendous monument of folly.’ It’s unclear how much involvement Brown had at Ickworth Hall, although history tells that he did visit, and was paid the sum of around £700. 
Ickworth House The National TrustCapability Brown was paid £700 for his mysterious work at Ickworth House

FEELING GREEN-FINGERED?

If you’re keen to explore more of Suffolk’s green spaces, don’t miss the 14 Gardens You Should Visit This Summer, and make sure to tell us all about your experiences via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!