The Garden Guide

Harrington, Lucy

Born - Died : 1581 - 1627

Lucy Harrington, the daughter of Sir John, later Lord Harrington married the Earl of Bedford at the age of 13. He was an invalid and she gained considerable freedom. She bought the Twickenham Park estate in 1608 from Francis Bacon and a new house and garden were built. It was probably designed by Robert Smythson, who made a survey drawing of the house and garden in 1609. In 1617 she moved to Moor Park in Hertfordshire. Smythson certainly drew the plan of the Twickenham garden and also drew garden plans for Ham House and Wollaton Hall. Lucy Harrington was a friend of Queen Anne and a Lady of the Bedchamber. She became (from c1603-20) she was one of the most celebrated women in England: beautiful, talented, charming and vivacious. She performed in masques by Ben Jonson and Inigo Jones. Twickenham Park, and later Moor Park, became a meeting place for poets, writers and wits, including Sir William Temple. The poet John Donne wrote a poem on Twicknam Garden (below). Lucy spent lavishly and died , in 1627 "having no belongings."


by John Donne

BLASTED with sighs, and surrounded with tears,
    Hither I come to seek the spring,
And at mine eyes, and at mine ears,
    Receive such balms as else cure every thing.
    But O ! self-traitor, I do bring
The spider Love, which transubstantiates all,
And can convert manna to gall ;
And that this place may thoroughly be thought
True paradise, I have the serpent brought.

'Twere wholesomer for me that winter did
    Benight the glory of this place,
And that a grave frost did forbid
    These trees to laugh and mock me to my face ;
    But that I may not this disgrace
Endure, nor yet leave loving, Love, let me
Some senseless piece of this place be ;
Make me a mandrake, so I may grow here,
Or a stone fountain weeping out my year.

Hither with crystal phials, lovers, come,
    And take my tears, which are love's wine,
And try your mistress' tears at home,
    For all are false, that taste not just like mine.
    Alas ! hearts do not in eyes shine,
Nor can you more judge women's thoughts by tears,
Than by her shadow what she wears.
O perverse sex, where none is true but she,
Who's therefore true, because her truth kills me.

Gardens designed by Harrington, Lucy