By Susie Kearley
It’s a beautiful sunny day in September when we visit Sheringham Park on the North Norfolk coast. This beautifully landscaped estate has a stately home at its centre. Huge mature trees tower over our heads and pretty bushes line the route towards the house and gazebo. We’re too late in the season for the blooming rhododendrons, but it’s still a stunning place for a walk on a warm autumn day. Views stretch for miles across the coast and countryside. Artists are painting the scenery using water colours on canvas.
We gaze across the lawns towards Sheringham Hall with its tall pillars and grand appearance. Signs to the gazebo lead us up steep steps to a viewing point on a hill.
In 1811, Mr Abbot Upcher saw the park’s potential to be transformed into a grand estate with a family home at its heart. The coastal landscape already had some interesting features, and there were opportunities to reveal hidden treasures and unveil secrets of the past. So he purchased the estate, then commissioned Humphry Repton to remodel the park in a style suited to 19th-century gentry living. He wanted something exquisite to show off to his friends and important visitors.
Repton came up with a number of design concepts before the final design was agreed. The completed work was a masterpiece, which helped to establish Humphry Repton’s reputation as a master landscaper. Sheringham Park today, is among the best preserved and most complete examples of his work.
Sheringham Hall was built between 1813 and 1816, because Abbot and his wife, Charlotte, felt that the existing farmhouse was unsuitable for use as a family home. They commissioned Humphry Repton’s son, John Adey, to design a new manor, and planned to move into it during the summer of 1817. However, Abbot developed a fever, which after a long period of illness, eventually killed him in 1819.
Charlotte lost interest in the project and didn’t want to move into the house on her own, so it wasn’t occupied until 1839, when the couple’s eldest son, Henry Ramey, moved in with his new wife. Successive generations of the family managed the Sheringham estate, broadly sticking to Repton’s original design principles.Buy Now