The Garden Guide

Book: Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, 1816
Chapter: Fragment XxxIII. Extracted From The Report On Sherringham Bower, In Norfolk, A Seat Of Abbot Upcher, Esq. Situation.

Repton's favourite landscape design project

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Although the local advantages of Sherringham may not be deemed of general interest, yet their consideration has had great influence with me, in the preference I have given it over every other in which I have been consulted. Firstly. It is situated within half a mile of the sea, without being exposed to it. Secondly. It is within a morning ride of the capital of the county, and within an hour's drive of the several post-towns and market-towns of Holt, Aylsham, North Walsham, and Cromer; at each of which are balls and book-clubs, besides the monthly meetings of magistrates, and annual fairs and festivals, where society and amusement may occasionally be had, to vary the monotony of rural life. Thirdly. The soil is delightful for habitation, being neither so light and sandy as to be barren, nor so rich and wet as to make the roads impassable. Fourthly. It is within five or six miles of the sea-port of Blakeney, to the west, and of Cromer, to the east, where those who do not object to the mixed company of a watering-place, may partake of its variety. Fifthly. There is no manufactory near; this, for the comfort of habitation, is of more importance than is generally supposed; manufacturers are a different class of mankind to husbandmen, fishermen, or even miners: not to speak of the difference in their religious and moral characters: the latter from being constantly occupied in employments which require bodily exertion, and their relaxations being shared with their families and friends, become cheerful and contented; but the former lead a sedentary life, always working at home, and seeking relaxation at their clubs, the birth-place and cradle of equality, discontent, and dissatisfaction. Sixthly. There are some who consider that no place can be perfect without water, while others do not consider the sea as water belonging to a place, but as its boundary: in answer to both these fastidious hypercritics, it may be observed, that here two lively brooks flow through the estate; and, that, in a distant recess in the woods, a small pool exists, which might be increased to any size. I cannot help considering Sherringham as deriving a degree of advantage from what some will think the reverse, because they not only look to increasing the value, but the quantity, of an estate. This is bounded by property to the west, that is not to be purchased; and, therefore, like the boundary of the sea to the north, it so far fixes a boundary to our wishes. Men are apt to indulge the vain hope of making all they see their own, like children who cry for the moon, or, like dogs who bark at it.