Research and Recording

Tribute to our friend and colleague Adrian Jackson

Adrian Jackson
20 October 1946 – 25 December 2016

Sadly, our friend Adrian Jackson passed away on Christmas Day 2016. The news has come as a great shock to the members of the Buckinghamshire Gardens Trust as he had attended our annual Christmas lunch just a few days earlier and many of us spoke to him then. He was talking about his plans for 2017 and how he was getting fit after a recent infection in his knee; he was a keen cyclist and was itching to get back on his bike. Adrian was a very active member of the community in Aylesbury old town where he was involved with St Mary’s Church and he was a trustee of The County Museum.

He signed up to the Research & Recording project when it was first getting off the ground. When we decided to apply for HLF Lottery funding, he was most helpful, answering our queries about the application as he had made one previously for one of the numerous events he was organising. He participated in the initial training sessions at Green Park, Aston Clinton and St Katherines Parmoor and was very much a hands on member of the group, always studying the site in great depth.

He was teamed up with Clare Butler and together they took on the task of writing up the report for St Katherine’s as well as contributing photographs and text to the pilot dossier for Green Park. At this point we were still learning and Adrian made time for return visits to Parmoor to clarify points. Adrian and Clare went on to complete work at Winslow Hall and laterly Hillesden. Sadly his contribution diminished in the last year following the separation from his wife and health issues.

Adrian had connections with various other organisations; a glassblowing studio and a fine art business in London, Art in Action, a green woodworking place in Nottinghamshire, and the ‘Incredible Edible’ outfit in Dunstable, no doubt many others too. He was also an avid follower of racing yachts and in November he travelled to France for the start of the Vende Globe Race! It seemed he was constantly travelling, to the exasperation of Clare, frequently emails and photos would be sent from somewhere warm, however he always kept in touch.  He certainly led a very full and active life and he will be greatly missed by us all.

Claire de Carle, January 2017

Four more sites added.
Chetwode Manor, a modern garden originally created for Mrs Ruby Fleischmann, a  former Chairman of the National Gardens Scheme, surrounding a sixteenth century, and later, manor house and associated buildings, in an elevated position facing south, and with impressive views.
Nearby Chetwode Priory, with gardens and a small late‐20th century park for a mid‐19th century country house on the site of a previous house. Most of the present garden layout was developed during the mid‐19th century from 1833, incorporating some earlier features, but garden creation continues.
Wendover Manor, now a school, it features the remains of a typical garden, pleasure ground and small park for a Chiltern manor house rebuilt in the 1870s to a design by George Devey with associated gardens. The key surviving ornamental period is the late C19, including mature trees, a walled kitchen garden and modest parkland.
Woodrow High House, is a typical early/mid-19the century country villa landscape, with 18the century origins, in a Chiltern setting comprising formal and informal gardens and pleasure grounds and a small park, including a fine collection of ornamental trees and a grotto. (July 2016)

Two more sites added.
Poundon House, with a garden initially laid out by renowned ‘Arts & Crafts’ designer Thomas Mawson, and Woodlands Park, near great Missenden, an early nineteenth century villa and park, spanning part of Grim’s Ditch. (June 2016)

A new overview of our research and recording project,
and our research sites to the end of 2015.

You can read the latest news (end of 2015) about our project in an offprint from the latest issue of Records of Bucks Vol.56, (May) 2016, by clicking through on the link above. It includes useful summaries of the sites, and some illustrations. (May 2016)
Records of Bucks is produced annually by the Bucks Archaeological Society.

Seven more sites added to our Research and Recording Project;
Barton Hartshorn, Boarstall Tower, Denham Grove, Heatherden Hall (now better known as the home of Pinewood Studios), Little Halings, Richings and Rignalls. (April 2016)

Have a look at our latest research projects
(updated February 2016)

Research and Recording Project
(update March 2015)
Claire de Carle, project co-ordinator writes:

It is now two years since we launched the HLF funded Buckinghamshire Gardens Trust Research and Recording project and we now have a group of twenty trained volunteers who are currently working on sixteen sites across the historic county.

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Virginia Hinze was recruited to train the volunteers at a number of sessions during 2013/14, these were held at Green Park/Aston Clinton and St Katherines, Parmoor (right). During the training our team learnt how to observe and interpret a site, and a method for writing up their research to a standard format.

This was then backed up by visits to Hughenden Manor and Aylesbury Cemetery lead by Dr Sarah Rutherford (formerly of English Heritage) who has been a dedicated mentor to the team throughout the project.

An important part of our research is to be able to identify different sorts of trees, and we have therefore held Tree Identification Walks at Christ College (left), Oxford, and Hartwell House.

The availability of OS maps is another important tool for the researchers and for this we were fortunate to have considerable assistance from Julia Wise at the Bucks County Council Historic Environment Records.

Our volunteers also need other interprative skills to carry out their own research before visiting a site, and to help with this familiarisation sessions were held at the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies in the Local Studies and Archive Rooms (here is Claire de Carle at work in the CBS).

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Once the training was complete,  our volunteers working in pairs with guidance from Sarah Rutherford chose a site they would like to research. We have over 350 to choose from, many of them are already listed on Parks & Gardens UK, so as you can see we will be busy for quite some time.

They set about obtaining all the necessary information and maps, including drawing a boundary map, which was then sent to the owners of the property along with a letter politely requesting permission to visit the garden and record what remained of historic interest. Having completed these tasks the lengthy process of writing up commenced.

The first sites were always going to be the most challenging and our grateful thanks go to all who have stuck at it, and have now recorded more than sixteen sites. It has not only been about hard work we have had a lot of fun and enjoyed some lovely teas (Parmoor),  and lunches, including a welcome bowl of hot soup at Charles Boot’s home, Park Lodge, on a very wet day at Hartwell. Many thanks go to Rosemary Jury for organising all of the outings.

DSC02399 (1)As the pilot project with lottery funding comes to an end, we are now seeking funding, by applying to various horticultural trusts, to keep the project running for the next two to three years as we have only just touched the surface of the wealth of un-registered gardens in Buckinghamshire.

Claire de Carle presenting the completed report to Lady Parmoor in the walled Garden at St Katharine’s.

If you are interested in joining our exciting
and worthwhile project, please contact:
Claire de Carle (project co-ordinator)

Research and Recording Project report
Autumn 2014 (edited March 2015)

There are over 500 gardens of historic interest in Buckinghamshire and most are listed on the Heritage Environment Record, however there is very little detail available to the wider public about these sites. This prompted the Buckinghamshire Gardens Trust to launch a project to enable us all to better understand historic gardens. Dr Sarah Rutherford (Vice Chairman of BGT) was instrumental in getting the project off the ground with support from Verena McCaig, Linden Groves and Virginia Hinze, who was recruited to carry out the training of volunteers. We were also spurred on by a rousing speech that Brian Dix made at our annual Christmas lunch in 2012 during which he stressed the importance of garden recording.

I was asked to co-ordinate the project, and we started by recruiting volunteers from our existing membership and invited them to an initial meeting at the end of February 2013 at Hartwell House Spa. The volunteers were very enthusiastic and brought a wide range of skills and experience to the group, we built the group up over the next few months and we now have a team of seventeen dedicated researchers/recorders. Sarah and I spent most of the summer of 2013 planning how we were going to execute the project and also how we might finance it. We could not expect the Trust’s funds to cover all the expenses and local authorities were not forthcoming. It was therefore decided that we would apply for a ‘Sharing Heritage’ HLF grant. I could have not managed this on my own and was grateful for all the assistance from the BGT volunteer team; we finally submitted the bid at the beginning of October. Just before Christmas 2013 we heard that we had been successful and had been awarded just under £9,000 to add to the £1,000 provided by the BGT. So 2014 is proving a very busy year for the BGT as we start the pilot project with 15 gardens in the Wycombe District of the county.

We have already held a number of training sessions, two at the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies, these familiarised the group with the research material that they would need for each garden before visiting the sites. In the autumn Virginia lead two training sessions at Green Park (formerly Aston Clinton House). Buckinghamshire County Council has owned the site at Green Park since the early 1960’s; the house had been demolished prior to this in 1958. It use it as a conference/training centre and has constructed a number of accommodation blocks and sports facilities, including a gymnasium on the footprint of the house. The site was a good choice for training as it is fairly extensive (around 26 acres) and has an interesting history and substantial archive as well as significant evidence on site.

The park dates from the mid eighteenth century when Gerard Lake, 1st Viscount Lake (1444–1808) was Lord of the Manor, he carried out considerable planting and building work. The property came up for sale in 1849 and was purchased by the banking family, the Rothschilds; they already owned several estates in the area, including Mentmore, Halton and Waddesdon. Sir Anthony Rothschild and his family used Aston Clinton as their country residence. Sir Anthony set about major alterations to the house and grounds, transforming it into an elegant mansion set within delightful pleasure grounds, as would be expected of the home of a family of their stature.

During the training we un-covered considerable evidence of the formal gardens: a balustrade with urns that encircled the front garden and would have formed a turning circle for the drive, a quartered parterre with Portland stone steps, a bridge with balustrades underneath which was a fairy glen, formed from a natural spring and planted with ferns, a wellhead/fountain, clumps of specimen trees and several entrances and driveways. These all caused excitement and much discussion amongst the group when we returned to the classroom to learn how to write up our findings based on the format of the EH Register of Parks and Gardens, now the Historic England Register of Parks and Gardens. [NB this is the best available link at present, March 2015].

We held a third training day at a very different venue St Katharine’s, Parmoor near Frieth (owned by the Sue Ryder Foundation). Reports have now been written for both sites, with boundary maps to show the area of historic interest, and statements of significance for both sites.

It is very encouraging to hear that the dossiers produced for both sites have already been used by the Council planning archaeologist to inform applications made at both sites.

The pilot scheme is now being extended to include other vulnerable sites in Bucks.

If you are interested in joining in our team of researchers/recorders,
please contact Claire de Carle