History

The beginnings of Hanbury Hall

Beautiful front of Hanbury Hall © Dennis Gilbert

Beautiful front of Hanbury Hall

From the Norman Conquest onwards, the Hanbury estate was within the boundaries of the Royal Forest of Feckenham.

Feckenham's royal status was lost in 1629 and local families like the Vernons bought up land to increase their own estates. The building of the Hall started in 1701 and was designed - we believe - by William Rudhall.

Magnificent additions by Thomas Vernon

An assembly of the gods © John Hammond

An assembly of the gods

The lasting legacy of Thomas Vernon (1654–1721) includes the wall and ceiling paintings that he commissioned Sir James Thornhill to create.

These depict the story of Achilles and, having been recently restored, are Hanbury's crowning glory.

Further changes by Emma Vernon

Emma's drawing room © Dennis Gilbert

Emma's drawing room

Most notable were the changes made by Emma Vernon (1755–1818) who, after inheriting Hanbury aged 16 in 1771, used her fortune to alter the sitting room and drawing room.

When Emma eloped with the local curate, her husband Henry Cecil closed the hall and sold all of the furniture.

The original gardens by George London

Dougharty plan of the garden c.1710

The gardens, commissioned by Thomas Vernon, builder of Hanbury Hall, were designed and completed in 1701 by George London, in the very formal style of the time. They included the parterre, fruit garden and wilderness.

Changing garden tastes in the 1770s

South side of house before the restoration c. 1950

Emma Vernon swept away the formal gardens. She favoured up-to-date fashionable 'natural' gardens, inspired by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown. The photo shows how dramatically this differed from the intricate London design.

Later additions to Hanbury gardens

The orangery at Hanbury Hall, with citrus fruit displayed out the front.

The orangery and lawn appeared later. Practical aspects including an ice house, walled garden, orchard, and mushroom house were also created in order to sustain Hanbury - these additions were invaluable to produce food.

Re-creating the parterre © National Trust

Re-creating the parterre

How we restored the garden

Funding was secured in the early 1990s for the restoration of the gardens.

Plans, maps, paintings, archaeological and geophysical techniques were used to gain a better idea of position and scale to produce the garden you see today.

The fruit of the gardeners' labours © Alice Eddy

The fruit of the gardeners' labours

The parterre: our jewel in the crown

The completion of this garden project resulted in a huge increase in Hanbury's public profile. Visitor figures started to increase dramatically.

The jewel in the crown is the magnificent parterre, which looks impressive all year round.

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