The Garden Guide

Corsham Court

An Elizabethan house (1582), altered and given a park in the eighteenth century. Lancelot Brown designed the park and, with Nash and Bellamy, altered the house. Brown retained the great avenue and designed a sunk fence, an oval lake and a Gothic bath house. Repton produced a Red Book for the estate but it has disappeared and the work was not executed. Corsham's rose garden and round pond are, however, Reptonian in character.
Photograph ©
Photograph ©
Photograph ©
Photograph © Gareth Morgan


Capability Brown was employed during the 1760s to enlarge Corsham House and lay out the gardens and parkland. He built the Gothic Bath House and enclosed the garden with a ha-ha. He planted the avenues and made plans for the 13-acre lake which was not dug out until nearly 40 years later by Humphry Repton who was subsequently employed by the Methuen family to consolidate Brown's work and carry out new planting schemes.
Repton was not an architect and he worked closely with John Nash who re-fashioned the North Front of the house and carried out various embellishments to the existing facades.
The formal gardens have a distinctly 19th century feel and Lady Jane Dorothea (wife of the First Lord Methuen) was a particularly keen gardener and came to Corsham 1810. The Victorian influence of later years introduced species and themes most closely associated with that era, although thankfully without detriment to the layouts and plantings of the previous century.

Plants of note

A number of fine ornamental trees surround the Elizabethan mansion. Some of which were planted by Capability Brown. The Great Plane now has a circumference of over 240 yards. The lily pond garden is surrounded by Indian Bean trees and there is a young arboretum to the North. During the Spring a fine display of bulbs and daffodils grace the garden, while beautiful and unusual orchids abound during the early summer. The gardens are particularly noted for the collection of magnolias and the famous yew hedge which surrounds the gardens to the west.

Corsham, Wiltshire, England, SN13 0BZ

Late March to September. Daily except Monday and Friday (but open Bank Holiday Mondays). Open 2pm to 5.30pm. Also open winter weekends 2pm to 4.30pm (closed in December).

House & Garden Adults: £7 OAP / Group: £6 Child: £3 Garden Only Adults: £2.50 OAP: £2 Child: £1.50 RHS members free entry to gardens and discount to house. HHA members free

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