Good News! Yule Mausoleum

Good News! Yule Mausoleum

Following the HGT request for designation at Hanstead House, Bricket Wood in 2013, the Yule Mausoleum in the garden was given a Grade II Listing. The sculpture is particularly fine and following an article in 2013, in Mausolus, the magazine of the Monuments and Mausolea Society, a descendant of the sculptor has just contacted HGT with evidence of Philip Lindsay-Clark as sculptor. Lindsay-Clark did many fine memorial and church sculptures, including one in St Bonaventure, Parkway, Welwyn Garden City. Historic England are now adding this information to their description, which is currently:

Architectural interest: in a period in which most monuments were produced by commercial masons whose output was fairly routine and derivative, the highly individual character of this mausoleum is conspicuous in its originality, aesthetic quality and high quality execution.

The full listing entry can be seen at

Beach Huts in Hitchin?

Beach Huts in Hitchin?

The last remaining Detached Gardens in Hertfordshire – which have been called Inland Beach Huts – are threatened by proposals from HCC for housing on them.


This would be a disastrous loss of a unique piece of our garden heritage and HGT has already alerted Historic England, Herts HER and others who can help save them.. 


A local group, Gaping Lane Historic Gardens Association, successfully applied to have them Registered as a Community Asset. They invited  HGT to work with them to put the case for community garden use – as at Hill Close Gardens in Warwick – and  to save these gardens, NOT allotments, from the bulldozers. 75% of the gardens have already been gobbled up by Samuel Lucas School and its playing fields.


More details of Detached Gardens and the Park Piece (now Gaping Lane) ones can be found via the links below and details on the Hill Close Gardens here



Detached Gardens


Gaping Lane Detached Gardens


Statement of Signficance for Gaping Lane Detached Gardens

Progress at Panshangar

Tarmac issued a statement in January 2017 stating that their ‘key aim is to ensure that we maintain and conserve the historic Repton landscape’.

In 2016 the HGT instigated a campaign to save the Lower Broadwater – a key feature of the landscape designed by Humphry Repton in Panshanger Park near Hertford. An overwhelming response – from local people to national heritage bodies – caused Tarmac to first pause and then change their excavation plans. A key factor in their decision was the discovery – in the Panshanger estate accounts in the Hertfordshire Archives at County Hall – that Repton himself was on site in September 1800 to supervise the final levelling of the ground around the new lake.

Panshanger Park needs you!

Panshanger Park needs you!

Stop Tarmac Destroying Repton’s Broadwater. Please Act Now.

Humphry Repton advised the 5th Earl Cowper on the design of his new Panshanger Park in 1799. The tree-covered valley sides and the sinuous Broadwater that winds its way through the western end of today’s park are the result of Repton’s vision for the park, set out in his Red Book for Panshanger which is now in the Hertfordshire Archives at County Hall. His plan (below) shows how the little river Mimram was to be diverted to the north side of the valley below the house and in the autumn of 1799 sixty labourers were hard at work digging
out the base of the new Broadwater to create a much wider river meandering through the meadow on the valley floor.

Immediately below Panshanger House (the red square marked C on his plan) Repton planned an island to hide the weir which separated the upper and lower reaches of his Broadwater. The island and weir are still there today. Repton described the view to the East with ‘the water going off in a long strait reach to a considerable distance, which is contrasted by the view towards the West where the great bend of the water is the leading feature’.

This next painting is Repton’s vision of the view across the ‘great bend of the water’ from the south side of the valley towards his proposed new mansion.

The above plan and this painting are taken from Repton’s Red Book for Panshangar [HALS DE/P/P21]

Tarmac and its predecessors have been extracting gravel from Panshanger Park for many years with permissions granted initially in the 1960s, then updated in the 1980s and, most recently, in 2003. The importance of the park as a beautiful landscape designed by Humphry Repton was recognised by English Heritage (now Historic England) in 1987 who awarded it Grade II* status for its ‘exceptional national historic interest’. This should have led to greater protection of the Repton design, but shamefully it did not.

This aerial photograph shows the large expanses of water that have been created in the valley as gravel has been extracted over recent years. Repton’s Broadwater at the western end of the park has been retained more or less intact but now Tarmac proposes to destroy the lower Broadwater by breaching the narrow strip of land between it and the lagoon they have already created to the south.Is it really worth destroying part of our national heritage in order to extract a few more tons of gravel?

The Hertfordshire Gardens Trust thinks not and is campaigning hard to protect what remains of Repton’s vision. Please join us and send your views to the Tarmac Estates Manager at

Gobions Wood

Gobions Wood

The Research Group has undertaken surveys of Gobions Wood at Brookmans Park. Within this lovely wood lie the earthwork remains of a famous eighteenth-century garden designed by Charles Bridgeman for Jeremy Sambrooke and laid out in the 1720s. Visited by many notable people, including Queen Caroline, the garden was one of Bridgeman’s most significant designs, and was considered by Horace Walpole to represent an important stage in the development of the ‘landscape’ style.

Exciting new evidence about the layout of the garden came to light with the discovery of a plan in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. An article assessing the significance of the plan, written by Tom Williamson and Anne Rowe, was published in the journal Garden History in 2012. Here are some photographs of the Research Group hard at work in Gobions Wood on two gloriously sunny spring days in March 2012.