Humphry Repton at Sheringham Park

A portrait of Humphry Repton

Humphry Repton knew Sheringham well, having lived in the village of Sustead three miles away for 12 years.

The Man

He had previously lobbied the government to purchase the Estate for Horatio Nelson's family, before being commissioned by Abbot Upcher in 1812 to prepare a design for Sheringham Park. You can install the 'Humphry Repton at Sheringham Park' smart phone app for free on iTunes & Android.
 

The Main Drive

The 'main drive' was already lined with woodland before Repton intervened. He suggested further planting to darken the woods, thereby ensuring that the visitor would not see too much of the park before reaching ‘the turn’.
 

The Turn

Repton proposed cutting boldly into the narrow ridge of hill, at the turn, to create a point in the main drive where the house bursts into sight ‘like some enchanted Palace of a Fairy Tale!’
 

View from the gazebo

The gazebo is not an original Repton feature but when Repton visited in 1812, the same spot was home to a signal station. Offering extensive views of the coastline, the lookout was in use during the early 19th-century when the threat of a Napoleonic invasion was very real.
 

The Sheringham Red Book

Humphry Repton (1752-1818) was commissioned to produce a design for Sheringham Park in 1812 by the new owners Abbot and Charlotte Upcher. He presented the design as one of his famous Red Books written in his own hand and illustrated with watercolour sketches of his proposals.
 
This short video explores the main features of Repton’s design using images of the original Red Book.
 
 

His career

Repton saw himself as a visiting consultant, providing a design in one of his trademark 'Red Books' but leaving the implementation of his design to the clients themselves.
 

The commission

Repton was introduced to Abbot Upcher by his son William, a local solicitor, who handled the sale of the Sheringham Estate to the Upcher family. Repton described their relationship as a meeting of congenial minds.
 

Repton and the National Trust

The National Trust now looks after a number of sites including Hatchlands with connections to Humphry Repton. They give an indication of the variety and geographical scope of his commissions.