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

Hedsor House Garden

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Hedsor House, Lord Boston, stands by itself, unconnected with offices or architectural appendages, on the top of a high bank on the one side of an extensive park; and, at a distance, strikes a stranger as a most dreary object. We hardly know any country seat that conveys so distinctly and impressively the idea of pride and poverty. We believe this to be the very reverse of the real state of the case; but we think it right to state what our first impressions were. Hedsor House is situated on the brow of the same bank as Cliefden, but it is most unfortunate in its approaches, which are steep to a degree that is scarcely tolerable. The evil might be remedied most readily by lengthening the road, for which there is ample space. The parish church is in the park, close to the approach road. We noticed that all the tombstones were laid flat, and the surface kept as level and smoothly mown as a lawn. This looks like the exercise of undue influence over the poor; for surely all who bury in this churchyard would not wish to have the gravestones flat, if they were allowed the free exercise of their will. It was, however, surrounded by a hedge, which is something better than the churchyard at Arley, the seat of Lord Mountnorris, near Kidderminster, where all the tombstones were buried in the night-time by his lordship, the boundary fence thrown down, and the whole levelled, and united with the lawn. This we mention on the authority of the late Mr. Mowbray, curator of the Manchester Botanic Garden, who was his lordship's head gardener at the time alluded to, and carried the work into execution. Thus much we must say of Hedsor, that it was in excellent order and keeping, with the exception of the walks being sunk and the edges harsh. There was little attempt at display in respect to flowers, or rare or curious plants; but, what we think a great deal better, there was a general spirit of neatness and order which pervaded the whole. We only saw the exterior of the kitchen-garden, the head gardener being from home. [Editor's Note: Hedsor House is near the Cliveden Estate and is now used (2005) as a venue and conference centre].