The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening tours by J.C. Loudon 1831-1842
Chapter: Middlesex, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Wilshire, Dorsetshire, Hampshire, Sussex, and Kent in the Summer of 1832

White Hill Chester le Street

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Art. II. Notices of some Country Seats in the North-Eastern Counties of England. By G. W. (Continued from p. 122.) White Hill, near Chester le Street, is the seat of John Cookson, Esq., who succeeded to the estates on the demise of his father, Isaac Cookson, Esq., in 1832. That liberal patron of gardening lived for more than half a century at this delightful place; and to him it is indebted for the many great improvements that were made in it under the management of his indefatigable gardener, Mr. Crossling. The road, for half a mile from Chester le Street to the end of the approach, is one of the most picturesque imaginable: it winds up a valley, occasionally intersected by a considerable brook. The inhabitants of Chester le Street have their gardens tastefully laid out on the sloping banks of this brook, which are called "Bishop's waste;" and are let for the small acknowledgment of a sixpence or a shilling yearly. I have often been delighted, in the summer evenings, to observe industrious mechanics and their families amusing themselves in their little gardens: some engaged in rearing those wholesome vegetables so necessary for the comfort of their families; others trying to excel in the cultivation of auriculas, polyanthuses, stocks, rockets, hollyhocks, &c. I have seldom seen better vegetables, fruits, and flowers grown than in these small gardens; and the only reason I can assign for this is, the desire which each has to surpass the others. The principal objects in the view from White Hill house, which is situated on an eminence, are, the towering steeple of Chester le Street church, and Lambton and Lumley castles. The appearance of the latter is peculiarly grand. The pleasure-ground is suitable to the house, and is well embellished with clumps of various dimensions. The south front and west side are partly covered with a metal trelliswork entwined with China roses, having other kinds budded on them; and a very large arbutus projects from a wall that connects the house and conservatory. A splendid specimen of Araucaria excelsa, which is planted in the middle of the conservatory, is an object of great attraction to visiters.