The Garden Guide

Book: Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, 1816
Chapter: Fragment XxII. Of Aspects And Prospects.

Wallwood House, Leytonstone

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FROM A REPORT CONCERNING THE SITUATION FOR WALLWOOD HOUSE, TO BE ERECTED ON A PROPERTY IN THE PARISH OF LAYTONSTONE, ESSEX, BELONGING TO WILLIAM COTTON, ESQ. NOTHING is more common than for those who intend to build, to consult many advisers, and to collect different plans, from which they suppose it possible to make one perfect whole. But they might as well expect to make an epic poem, by selecting detached verses from the works of different poets. Others take a plan, and fancy it may be adapted to any situation; but, in reality, the plan must be made not only to fit the spot, it ought actually to be made upon the spot, that every door and window may be adapted to the aspects and prospects of the situation. [The lease, which stipulated that the house was to be rebuilt within the next four years at a cost of at least £4,800, was assigned in 1815 to William Cotton, the philanthropist, son of Captain Joseph Cotton of Walnut Tree House. (fn. 361) In 1816 the vestry consented to Cotton's inclosure of part of the forest, bringing the Wallwood boundary on the north-east up to the present (1968) Whipps Cross Road. (fn. 362) In 1817 Cotton purchased Wallwood House with 39 a. from the Crown. (fn. 363) The new house was erected in 1817-18 to the designs of John Walters on a site northnorth-east of the old house; the contract with the builder, Thomas Cubitt, specified the use of Ipswich facing bricks and the best Portland stone. (fn. 364) It was a severely plain square building of two storeys with a pedimented portico on double columns on the north-west entrance front; the principal rooms faced south-east on the advice of Humphry Repton. A lower L-shaped wing, which may have incorporated older work, adjoined the main block on the southwest. It is known that some out-buildings of the former house and the kitchen garden had been retained. (fn. 365) William Cotton died in 1866; his son Sir Henry sold the estate in 1874 to John Griffin, who mortgaged it the following year. (fn. 366) Development plans, first laid before the local board in 1883, (fn. 367) were delayed by a boundary dispute with the adjoining Fillebrook estate, and by 1890 only six buildings were erected in Colworth Road. (fn. 368) By 1893 the Imperial Bank, Ltd., now the mortgagee and itself in liquidation, was in possession of the estate, which was sold in 1894 by the London Joint Stock Bank to Ernest Edward Rayner. In the same year Rayner sold Wallwood house with 5 a. to Thomas Ashbridge Smith. The Wallwood Park estate was then laid out on the remainder of the property. (fn. 369) T. A. Smith occupied Wallwood House until about 1921; the house was demolished shortly afterwards. (fn. 370) - Victoria County History History of the County of Essex: Volume 6]