John Webb and the outdoors

spring in the walled garden

Beyond the house, Thomas Anson II set about redeveloping the parkland and gardens. He was spurred on by a flood on the River Sow in February 1795 which destroyed many of the original Rococo park features.

Between 1799-1805 landscaper John Webb was employed to repair the terrible flood damage and to create a ‘naturalistic’ parkland design more in keeping with Thomas' taste. Webb set about digging a new channel for the River Sow in 1804, creating an island on which you can now see the arboretum.

Ben Wigley combines photography with drawings and paintings

A Lost Paradise?

‘A Lost Paradise?’ is a poetic, visual journey through Shugborough’s parkland, taking you back to the tumultuous night of the great flood of 1795.


Webb established new plantations to create stunning views and vistas through the parkland. He then created three new carriage drives, to make sure visitors to the estate could enjoy an elegant approach with extensive views across Shugborough. 


The Walled Garden.


You can still enjoy Webb's walled garden on your visit. This garden was state of the art, designed to grow the finest quality produce for the tables of both the family and wider household. The garden included a large gardener’s house, with attached glasshouses for plants and flowers, together with a vinery, fruit stores, bothies and more

This garden became a centre for education for budding horticulturalists. William Pitt described the gardens as "an academy for the study of horticulture in which young men entered without pay to develop their skills and knowledge".


The result of this huge endeavour was the creation of an estate and landscape which combined beauty with utility and reflected contemporary ideas of ‘Improvement’. With the survival of many of its components, our estate remains a highly significant example of this period in agricultural history and landscape design.