It was a chilly and drizzly evening when we met at Benington Lordship for our AGM in early September. Thank you to all who attended. It was an honour and a real pleasure to be elected as your next chairman. There have been two lovely people previously in this role, Bella Stuart-Smith and Roger Gedye, who will be very hard acts to follow. Sadly, I knew Roger for so short a time, but I sincerely hope that together we can build on his legacy. I have a lot to learn and I am looking forward to increasing my knowledge of the Trust and its work and meeting many more members in the future. This year has been very strange for all of us – who knew what holding a meeting via Zoom meant before the summer? For me, and I suspect for you too, our gardens have been our life-line over these past months. As a committee, if circumstances allow, we hope to plan a complete programme of talks, visits and walks for us all to enjoy next year.
We do hope you have stayed well, enjoyed the weather and your gardens and managed to remain positive in these strange times.
HGT would by now have visited our first garden in Essex and been on the first walk to Forty Hall. If you are missing these and a fix of other gardens, we have organised something slightly different and new for our members.
We now have some pages here on the website for photographs of members’ gardens or a favourite Hertfordshire view that you have encountered on a walk. To view our gardens, click on the Parks and Gardens link above. You will then see in the drop-down menu, a link to Members’ Gardens.
If you would like to offer photographs of your garden which you would be happy to share with other members, please send digital images to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send a maximum of six in the first instance.
Here is a link to the National Gardens Scheme website www.ngs.org.uk where some members have done a virtual tour of their garden in place of opening to the public.
With best wishes,
The Executive Committee
Here is the text of a letter The Gardens Trust and the Hertfordshire Gardens Trust have sent to East Herts Council Planners.
Recently HGT, following research by Anne Rowe and Tom Williamson were successful in having henry VIII’s great pond chain along the Hunsdon Brook recognised as a national Scheduled Monument. This should give it, and its setting, the greatest protection. We are therefor very concerned about the plans for this development which totally ignore the wealth of heritage assets in the area. Hunsdon Park, in particular merits much further detailed examination, lying as it does, between the Ponds and Hunsdon House (formerly the great Tudor Palace where Henry VII’s children were brought up in part)
Plan Details: 3/19/2124/OUT on https://publicaccess.eastherts.gov.uk/online-applications/
Text of Letter:
We have grave concerns that the many key heritage assets in this area will be harmed by this development. The documents in this application do not give sufficient information on specific measures to address light, noise, and traffic pollution on the heritage assets and indicate that the key parkland setting rising eastwards from Lords Wood will be destroyed.
The parkland lying between Lords Wood and Hunsdon House was part of the great Tudor parkland, further details of which can be found in Rowe, A Tudor and Early Stuart Parks of Hertfordshire. The ponds in Lords Wood, now a Scheduled Monument, are closely stylistically related to European Renaissance water features of the time, such as at Pratolino, at a time when Henry VIII was introducing renaissance culture into England. The parkland, formerly Pond Park, provides the setting for Hunsdon church, visible from the ponds area and is depicted in an 1546/47 portrait of the future Edward VI by William Scots, and is also the setting for the ponds which are now the SM.
To the south of the site lies the important 18th century park and house of Briggens, and the park of Stanstead Bury, all nationally designated by Historic England. To the west of the site lies Olive’s Farm, purchased by Henry VIII as part of his Hunsdon estate, whose land overlooks the Pond Park. To the North of the site lies Hunsdon Park and House.
The setting of all these heritage assets will be affected by the layout of Village 7 on the rising ground north of the A414. The setting of heritage assets is a key part of their significance as detailed in both the NPPF and in the Historic England the Setting of Heritage Assets (GPA3.2). Heritage assets are an irreplaceable resource and should be conserved in a manner appropriate to their significance (para 184), and when considering the impact of a proposed development on the significance of a designated heritage asset, great weight should be given to that asset’s conservation (para 193).
HGT, on our behalf, commented on the heritage significance of the Gilston Area including Village 7, during the Local Plan process and we also commented (2nd July 2019 – see attached) on the wider Gilston application 3/19/1045/OUT.
We consider that further consideration must be given to ways of mitigating the detrimental effect of the proposed development upon the various heritage assets. We would like to see the development removed entirely from the Pond Park section.
Stop Harlow North: https://www.facebook.com/STOP-Harlow-North-Campaign-151589618240500/
William Wilkins and Humphry Repton at Haileybury 1806‐1810 edited by Toby Parker and Kate Harwood
The Study Day organised by HGT at Haileybury in 2015 presented new information about the construction of the East India College and its Landscape.
These Proceedings of that Study Day, with some additional papers, provide new insights to both the buildings and Repton’s landscape and his considerable involvement in the site as well as the importance of the College as innovative in concept, design and execution.
To order a copy of this book please send your name, address and a cheque for £14.00 (to include p&p) made payable to
Hertfordshire Gardens Trust to:
HGT, 78 Broadstone Road, Harpenden, Herts AL5 1RE
Please send queries to : email@example.com
A report commissioned by The Gardens Trust written by Katy Layton-Jones with the assistance of others including Kate Harwood of HGT. Please download a copy: Uncertain Prospects: Public parks in the new age of austerity
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.