The history of Uppark's gardens

Uppark’s landscape setting has changed very little through the centuries - woodlands to the north, open parkland falling away to the south. By contrast, its garden is young; having been largely changed and re-created throughout the years, as new owners took residence and changed the land surrounding the house to fit their tastes and the style of the day.

Tankerville’s formal garden

In 1690c, the 1st Earl of Tankerville surrounded his new house with a series of rectangular courtyards, and walled gardens planted with formal parterres and straight rows of trees. The approach was from the east between two service blocks. This design may have been the work of the royal gardener George London, who also worked on Hampton Court Palace gardens and Dyrham Park.

Lord Tankerville's original plan for Uppark
Tankerville's plans for Uppark house and garden 1695

Sir Matthew’s Garden

When Sir Matthew Harry Fetherstonhaugh took on the estate in 1747 he began to redesign the house and the gardens including commissioning a new plan for the garden and park (thought to be attributed to ‘Capability’ Brown) with broad lawns and serpentine walks in the surrounding woodland.  The two service blocks from Tankerville’s time were demolished and two new service wings were added buildings were put in – the stables to the west and a laundry and greenhouse to the east. It is thought that Sir Harry Matthew was also responsible for the installation of the Gothic Seat in 1760.

18th-century carved Gothick seat in Uppark's gardens
18th-century carved Gothick seat in Uppark's gardens

Sir Harry and Humphry Repton

Landscape gardener, Humphry Repton likely came to Sir Harry Fetherstonhaugh’s notice in the early 17th century, through his friendship with the Prince of Wales.  He produced one of his famous Red Books of garden designs for Uppark, creating a more grand approach to the house through a set of golden gates, through an avenue of trees leading to the house and his Tuscan portico. It is believed that Repton was also responsible for the game larder by the East Pavilion and the Dairy at the far end of the Stables. 

Humphry Repton
A portrait of Humphry Repton