The Garden Guide

Book: Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, 1816
Chapter: Fragment Xi. Beaudesert.

Beaudesert architecture

Previous - Next

A large massive pile, worthy of the rank and antiquity of its possessors, has been placed on the verge of the forest, a royal demesne and free warren, with paramount rights over the surrounding country: but, though built in a forest, it is evident, from its name and style, that it was not meant to be situated in a desert, the haunt only of wild beasts: on the contrary, it was to be a desert beautified-un-beau-desert; rendered habitable with all the elegance, magnificence, and comfort, of which it was capable. We must, therefore, look back to the reign of Henry VIII., when this mansion was presented to the family. It was at that time surrounded, not only by wild scenery of the forest, but by the animals which then made forests terrible; such as stags, boars, and wild cattle: to which might, perhaps, be added the uncivilized human beings, against whom some decided line of defence was absolutely necessary. This was the origin of those court-yards and lofty terrace-walls observable in old pictures of places of this date: so few of these now actually remain in our modern days, that I rejoice to find it the wish of the noble proprietor of this noble pile to restore its pristine character; and, if we are to retain any part of the grandeur of the mansion, we must not surrender its outworks. Although the same motive for defence no longer exists, yet the semblance must be preserved, to mark the limits betwixt the gardens, or pleasure-grounds, which belong to man, and the forest, or desert, which belongs to the wild denizens of the chase*. *[In the architectural arrangement of such parts of the following plan as require a knowledge of ancient forms, I am happy to have the advantage and assistance of my ingenious friend, John Shaw, Esq.]