Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Thursday, 28 July 2022

The Chatsworth Parterre revealed

As in several recent years with long dry summers lost landscape features created by past generations have revealed themselves through the patched grass as foundations or as evidence of lost pathways

At Chatsworth the South Lawn has yielded up the details on site of the parterre lad out for the  first Duke of Devonshire in 1699, but turfed over only thirty years later. Drawings exist of the intricate design but now there exists additional physical evidence as to the exact form of the design.

This re-emergence at Chatsworth is set out by the BBC News site at Drone footage reveals hidden 17th Century garden which includes a video with the drone footage about the feature.

The Chatsworth parterre is also discussed in a Mail Online article about several such parch marks indicating lost garden features or foundations. This article looks at new evidence from this summer at Gawthorpe Hall, Mottrsfont Abbey. at Polesden Lacey and Powis Castle. It can be seen at Heatwave reveals historic features at National Trust properties

At Chatsworth there is talk of possibly doing a temporary recreation of the parterre in future years. I think I would be inclined there and at Gawthorpe to see a permanent reconstruction of the former arrangement of paths and planting.

1 comment:

John R Ramsden said...

The snag with the former flowerbed pattern, and layout and variety of plants, is that it needs literally a small army of gardeners to keep it in shape, planted, weeded and neatly trimmed, whereas the way it is now the Duke himself (quite possibly) can charge up and down on a sit-on lawnmower and in an hour or two mow the whole lawn unaided!

In his place, I would plant orchards of rare varieties of fruit trees all over the lawns, and keep a few sheep browsing on them to trim the grass. What would remain lost in Baroque elegance would be gained by much-needed horticultural variety.

John R Ramsden