“It is open to question whether any other garden the world over contains features of such peculiar interest” – The Strand Magazine on Lamport, 1900
The Hall is set in approximately 10 acres of tranquil gardens, the result of over 450 years of love and dedication, enclosed by a spacious park. Although their size and location are the same as when they were first laid out, their design has been strongly influenced by the interests and tastes of successive owners.
Sir Thomas entrusted the development of the gardens to his land agent, Gilbert Clerke, while he was in Europe between 1676 and 1679 and the surrounding banks and large wrought iron gates survive from this time. One of the main changes of the 18th century was in 1750, when Sir Edmund planted box edgings to seven groups of shrubs. Later in the twentieth century Lord Ludlow would remove all but one in the far corner which Sir Charles had enjoyed as a retreat and now encloses a summer house.
It was the keen eye of Mary, Lady Isham in the 1820s and later the passion of her son Sir Charles, which gave the gardens their present layout. Sir Charles planted the Irish yews to make the Eagle Walk, so called because it then led to a cage of eagle owls. He also created the Italian garden in front of the Drawing Room windows and planted the climbing wisteria which still thrives today. Sir Charles’ pride and joy however was his remarkable rockery. Rising like a ruined castle and 24 feet tall, Sir Charles populated it with miniature figures – the world’s first garden gnomes. The only remaining original is on view in the Hall.
Today the gardens include extensive herbaceous borders and shrubbery walks containing some rare and interesting plants, providing year round interest. The walled cutting garden was replanted in 2010 and is full of unusual tall perennial plants, many sourced from Piet Oudolf’s nursery. Thought to be one of the largest cutting gardens in England, a vibrant array of colour and variety of plants are intersected by gravelled pathways. Hidden doors and relaxing benches are to be found.
To the south-west of the Church lies the corner spinney which has been brought back to life with the restoration of the paths and a summerhouse. The planting has been carefully chosen to complement the masses of snowdrops and other bulbs and to remain in keeping with the essentially wild nature of the woodland garden.
If you are interested in the history of the gardens, why not join one of our garden tours? The Lamport Hall Preservation Trust has done much to restore the gardens, and there are now some 80 different bird species and 22 species of butterflies which visit the gardens and surrounding estate. The tour will guide you through four centuries of changing garden fashions and the tales of those who shaped the gardens. Whether it’s veteran gnomes, Victorian eccentrics, three-seater outdoor loos or a wealth of towering plants, Lamport offers a fascinating example of an historic garden.
First Wednesday of every month, 2pm.