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

Hampstead Park

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Hampstead Park, formerly Hampstead Marshal, Earl of Craven, adjoins, as we have just observed, Benham Park, and, in the language of landscape-gardening, appropriates the whole of its scenery. The most remarkable part of this park is an elevated situation, where, on a piece of table land, a magnificent palace was commenced by William Earl of Craven, in 1662. The legend of the place is, that this palace was erected by the first Earl of Craven (well known for his gallantry in the wars under Gustavus King of Sweden) for the daughter of James VI., the widowed Queen of Bohemia, to whom, it is said, he was privately married. This earl inherited great wealth from his father, who was a citizen of London. It was for this same queen that the magnificent gardens of Heidelberg were planned, and partly executed, by Solomon Caus, one of the most celebrated architects and engineers of his time. In his published plans of the Heidelberg gardens (Hortus Palatinus Heidelbergï¾µ, &c., 1620) is a design for an orangery, with the idea thrown out of heating it by steam. In all probability, this orangery was the largest then in Germany. It is a remarkable circumstance, that, though these two magnificent places were formed for the Queen of Bohemia, she never enjoyed either of them. She was driven from Heidelberg, by her first husband's defeat at Prague, before the gardens there were finished; and she died the very year after the palace of Hampstead Marshal was commenced. The Earl of Craven never married again, and, after his death, his titles and estates went to a distant relation.