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.

Sherringham Hall and Park Scenery

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IT may appear a bold assertion, to pronounce that Sherringham possesses more natural beauty, and local advantages, and is more capable of being rendered an appropriate gentlemanlike residence, than any place I have ever seen. I must here premise, that I do not estimate places by their measure, or value, each of which may be applied separately to the diamond and the millstone; and, in comparing it with other places, I must confine myself to those which command views of the sea, that being always the leading feature of the scenery of Great Britain, as an island. The most celebrated places of this description which I have seen, are, Mulgrave Castle in the north, Tregothnan and Mount Edgecumbe in the west, and various places in Sussex, and the Isle of Wight in the south; yet, much of the celebrity of these places may be derived from the permission liberally given to have them seen by the public; and, indeed, the boasted beauty of the Isle of Wight is associated with the moving from one spot to the other, and the cheerful animation of its visitors and tourists; for, if we take any one place in that tour, and can suppose it solitary, and divested of this enlivening circumstance, it cannot be compared with the scenery of Sherringham, where the combination of hill and valley, wood and sea views, continually remind us of being in that beautiful little island, without the occasional difficulty of having the water to cross in our return. Much of the interest in the scenery of the Isle of Wight is indebted to the circumstance of its being visited only in summer, when the gay decorations of the gardens, whether belonging to a palace or a cottage, present an assemblage of elegance and comfort, in which Sherringham is at present woefully deficient; but which it is the object of these pages to provide. I recollect, when I first visited the Isle of Wight, a continued series of fine weather, amidst the profusion of roses, and other fragrant shrubs, operated on my senses like a charm, till, on opening a door in one of the most delightful retreats, the sight of cloaks and umbrellas made me exclaim, "Can it ever rain in Paradise?" In considering Sherringham as a permanent residence, and not as a mere summer villa, we must recollect how it may appear in winter.