Capability Brown Has Arrived!

St+Wilfreds-Kirkharle

St Wilfred’s, Kirkharle. ©Gary Webb 2014

On this day in history, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown (1716 – 1783) was baptised in St Wilfred’s Church, Kirkharle. Set in the rugged Northumbrian landscape, this charming church would be the place of Worship for the Brown family for many years to come.

Lancelot’s record in the register is proudly on show, if a little hard to decipher, and a commemoration plaque clearly makes proud reference to Kirkharle’s famous son.

Capability+Brown+commemoration

Commemoration inside St Wilfred’s. ©Gary Webb 2014

Kirkharle these days appears a peaceful location, frequented regularly by visitors to the courtyard development. The old estate buildings have been adapted sensitively housing boutique shops, arts and crafts workshops and a lovely coffee house and restaurant.

Kirkharle+Courtyard

Kirkharle Courtyard ©Gary Webb 2014

Although much changed from Lancelot’s day, (the hall having been reduced in size to a large farmhouse,) the location holds much magic for those trying to pick up on Brown’s early days – helped in no small measure by interpretation panels illustrating Brown and his achievements.

Capability+Brown+exhibition

I’m certain that Kirkharle would have continued to hold a special place in Lancelot’s heart, indeed later in his career he produced a plan for the estate, which wasn’t actually executed. The plan was discovered some years ago, and has since been recreated much as Lancelot intended, and offers another tangible link that is really special.

Kirkharle+Landscape

New ‘Brownian’ landscape at Kirkharle. ©Gary Webb 2014

Kirkharle, including its courtyard development, St Wilfred’s and the outlying landscape is an incredibly evocative place, and one that I’d recommend for a visit if you’re within range. Look for St Wilfred’s, soak up the atmosphere and dream a little. Walk around the establishing ‘Brownian’ lake, pause beside Kirkharle Burn and listen to the briskly flowing water.

Kirkharle+Landscape

After all this, grab a coffee and ‘Brownie’ in the restaurant, and read the exhibition panels to learn more about the fascinating career Lancelot made for himself, from such humble beginnings. Whilst you’re there, you may want to look for your next Brown location, maybe Wallington just a few minutes away by car?

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About Lancelot Capability Brown

Hello and Welcome to my Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown blog! I thrive on the richness and diversity found within our historic gardens and landscapes and I hope through this blog to paint a picture of Lancelot Brown’s 18th Century world, his landscapes and life. I’d like this blog to spread the Brownian word far and wide, so please join in, suggest post subjects, send in potential articles or links to anything and everything with 'Capability'. I’ll also be looking forward to the Capability Brown Tercentenary Celebration of his birth in 2016, and look forward to an incredible year where the work of Brown can receive more praise and recognition than ever before. I've also launched a Twitter account under the title of @Brown2016 where for the next few years I plan to help spread the word and at the very least play my part in the build-up to a special year for all who enjoy landscape gardening in its true form. All views are my own and do not represent those of any organisation.
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3 Responses to Capability Brown Has Arrived!

  1. way to go! …. with a fair wind in your hair …

  2. Thom Hickey says:

    Thanks. Another good reason to visit Northumberland. Regards Thom.

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