Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Garden History 18C Over There - Early 18C English Gardens & Grounds - Brympton in Somerset, England

Brympton in Somerset Leonard Knyff (1652-1722) &  Johannes Kip (1653-1722)  1709 Folio. Copper Plate Engraving 1709 London for Britannia Illustrata Or Views of Several of the Queen s Palaces also of the Principal seats. Detail

Thomas d'Evercy purchased the estate in 1220 from the Chilterne family. The d'Evercy family derived their name from Evrecy, a village near Caen in Normandy. Thomas d'Evercy was part of the retinue of the Norman Earl of Devon, which is the reason he left the family estates on the Isle of Wight to reside in Somerset. D'Evercy represented Somerset & South Hampshire at the first Parliament of England. Following Thomas d'Evercy's death family records are scarce until the time of the last d'Evercy, Sir Peter, who twice represented Somerset in Parliament, under Edward II. The church next to the house, St Andrew's, dates from this period. Sir Peter founded a chantry at Brympton d'Evercy in 1306, endowing a priest with a messuage and 40 acres in the parish.  Sir Peter died in 1325, when the estate was described as "a certain capital messuage, with gardens and closes adjoining." The village at this time consisted of 17 smallholders, & three tenant farmers. In 1343, the estate was recorded as: "..a manor house sufficiently built with a certain garden adjoining planted with divers and many apple trees, the whole covery some two acres" the record notes forty householders all charged to serve their lord as "village blacksmith, drover or domestic servant."

 Sir Philip Sydenham, 3rd Baronet (1676–1739) owner of Brympton at the time of this engraving.

English Heritage tells us that the property subsequently passed through several hands before being sold in 1430 to John Stourton, who acquired it as part of the dowry for his daughter Joan, who in 1434 married John Sydenham.  Joan Sydenham outlived her husband, & at her death the estate passed to her grandson, John Sydenham II. Brympton remained the property of the Sydenham family until 1722; & during this period successive owners rebuilt & developed the medieval manor house. In the late 17C century, Sir John Posthumous Sydenham (d 1696) built a new garden or south facade in a style reportedly influenced by Inigo Jones &  John Webb, & perhaps inspired by similar work at Hinton St George, his wife’s family home. This facade, together with formal gardens comprising a terrace, bowling green, wilderness, & ponds, is shown in an early 18C view by Knyff.