This month we celebrate Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown’s 300th Birthday. Born in Kirkharle parish, Northumberland, Brown was baptised on the 30th August, 1716. To celebrate his anniversary, we look back over his career and the history that he has with Stoke Park.
As a successful landscape architect, Capability Brown’s exceptional work was favoured by many prestigious figures. Such career achievements included; an undergardener to William Kent at Stowe, Royal Gardener for King George III at Hampton Court and also, being commissioned by Lady Cobham following the inheritance of the Manor House at Stoke Poges. When drawing up plans for Lady Cobham’s estate, Brown embarked on inspirational visits to Stoke Park where this marked the beginning of the legacy he has left here today.
Brown’s designs were based on two guiding principles; comfort and style. He was determined to make his work complement the needs of every grand house as well ensure the landscape looked elegant and coherent in its existing setting. This ideology could evidently be seen when he designed large scale plans for the grounds at Stoke Park in 1750.
When John Penn built the mansion in the 1790's, Humphry Repton was employed to retain and improved the landscape architecture created by Capability Brown. Despite Repton’s modifications, a particular part of Brown’s famous work still exists today. The lake that forms the western boundary of the grounds of the Manor House, dividing the golf course and the memorial gardens is iconic to Brown’s work. He design 5 existing pools to be joined together to create the river-like lake.
Today, we continue to relish the work of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. The Heritage Walk provides our guests with the perfect opportunity to explore Stoke Park's beautiful country gardens and parkland, including the Repton Lake and Bridge. A map can be found online or picked up from the entrance to the mansion or pavilion.