The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening tours by J.C. Loudon 1831-1842
Chapter: From London to Sheffield in the Spring of 1839

Manly Hall

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Manly Hall, or Thick Broom, near Shenstone, the Seat of- Manly, Esq., is a new place in a beautiful well-wooded situation, with a house in a mixed style of baronial Gothic, by Mr. Trubshaw. The general effect of the exterior at a distance is good, and the work is admirably executed in stone. We had not an opportunity of examining the details of the exterior, nor the interior of the mansion; but we went through the stable offices, which are very complete. What we most admired about the place, next to the natural beauty of the situation, which is very great, is the manner in which two terraced lawns in front of the house are arranged and planted. The worst part of what has been done by art on the grounds is the approach, which crosses a meadow on an embankment, and then a "deep cutting" is made to conduct the road through a hill, thus giving it the character of a common public road between one town and another, instead of an elegant approach to a villa. Had the road been carried across the meadow inclining considerably to the right, and on the natural surface instead of on an embankment; and been then carried round a hill covered with natural wood, gradually rising as it advanced through the wood towards the house; an approach would have been formed of singular beauty, and one which would not have shown the view obtained from the lawn front of the house before entering it, as is the case with the present line of road. The gardener at this place excels in grafting, and has inserted the pendulous-branched ash on the common species at considerable heights; one we believe exceeding 40 ft. high. The grounds here are rich in native plants, especially those which grow in woods and moist places. We found Cardamine amara, Veronica, Anagallis, and various others. The architectural student will find Mr. Humphreys's opinion of the house in the Architectural Magazine, vol. v., on which account we say nothing here on the subject; but we cannot help expressing our surprise that our esteemed and intelligent friend, Mr. Trubshaw, should have produced so bad an interior in the entrance lodge. There is a great want of simplicity in the arrangement, and of light, in the stairs, besides other points open to fair criticism.