Cottesbrooke Hall is a beautiful Queen Anne house surrounded by a historic parkland estate. While little is known about the development of the grounds, the formal gardens have been developed over the last 100 years by a who’s who of the garden design world, in keeping with the Arts & Crafts style.
Cottesbrooke Hall was commenced in 1702 for Sir John Langham, the 4th Baronet, being completed in 1713. It is a near perfect example of Queen Anne architecture which remains largely unaltered today, although extensions were added in the late 18thCentury. The Hall is home to the Woolavington Collection; the finest and most extensive collection of sporting paintings in Europe formed principally by Sir James Buchanan, later Lord Woolavington, the great grandfather of the present owner. It is only surpassed by the Paul Mellon Collection in the United States of America.
In 1911, financial pressures forced the Langham family to sell the estate. It was then purchased by Lady Catherine MacDonald-Buchanan, daughter of Lord Woolavington, in 1936 and remains with the MacDonald-Buchanan family to this day.
COTTESBROOKE HALL GARDEN
Cottesbrooke Hall sits within a large parkland setting with far-reaching views extending across the surrounding countryside. The parkland is laid out in a style similar to the English landscape style espoused by Capability Brown. Within the parkland sits the Wild Gardens, planted originally by Lady MacDonald-Buchanan with magnificent species acers, gunnera and wild flowers skirting a tranquil stream.
Closer to the house are formal gardens that have been created since the 1930s by distinguished designers including Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe and Dame Sylvia Crowe. More recently Arne Maynard and James Alexander Sinclair have added their visionary touches. These formal gardens are planted in the Arts & Crafts style with herbaceous borders overflowing with roses and foxgloves, wisteria cascading along walls and perfectly sculpted beech topiary. A statue walk with yew hedges has four fine statues by Peter Scheemakers, originally in the Temple of Ancient Virtue at Stowe. While ancient Cedars of Lebanon add a majestic touch to the utterly charming garden.
Decades of care and devotion earned Cottesbrooke Hall the Historic Houses Association / Christie's 'Garden of the Year' Award in 2000. The gardens are maintained to this standard under the watchful eye of head gardener and passionate plantsman,Craig Rudman, who trained at Kew Gardens. Cottesbrooke Hall is a joy to visit and is a firm favourite of ours at Violets and Tea.
We visit Cottesbrooke Hall on our Great Estate of Derbyshire & the Hampton Court Garden Festival tour in 2021.
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Images © Eliza Ford
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Castle Ashby Gardens
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