H IS FOR :
HAMPTON COURT !
"No two gardens are the same. No two days are the same in one garden''
- Hugh Johnson
Now think of Hampton Court and most people think of the beautiful palace and gardens near the river Thames, which King HenryVIII acquired from Cardinal Thomas Wolsey in 1528. By the time he finished developing the palace in about 1540, it was one of the most modern, sophisticated and magnificent in England. It also not surprisingly became Henry's favourite palace.
I am not referring to the palace though but to the castle Hampton Court in Hope-Under- Dinmore and near the river Lugg in the county of Herefordshire. This Hampton Court also has a rich and fascinating history. The estate was a gift by Henry IV to a knight Sir Rowland Lenthall, who fought at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. This gift was made at the time of his marriage to one of the King's cousins Margaret Fizalan. Lenthall built the original quadrangular manor house in 1427.
Last week I touched upon my passion for garden visiting. I did not have room to include the gardens at Hampton Court which we discovered for the first time last summer. We were returning home last July from a rather wet holiday, on a day which was grey, cool and spit spotting with rain. We decided to break off our journey to visit Hampton Court, which I had vaguely heard about but was not sure what to expect. Although there had been beautiful gardens at this spot they had fallen into neglect. In 1994 work began to restore them. Estate masons and carpenters have carefully restored many original structures and inspirational new features have been added. These include water canals, island pavilions, herbaceous borders, a Dutch garden, a sunken garden with a waterfall and a maze which was rather challenging. Umbrellas and mazes are not good partners. There is also an organic kitchen garden.
We were taken aback by our first sight of Hampton Court and the rest of the visit was just as magical. The gardens were absolutely stunning and took my breath away. This is really a garden with the wow factor. Luckily serious rain held off until after we left and now and again the wet stuff held its breath. I imagine that it took some years for the gardens to mature so maybe it was perfect timing for a first visit. We have vowed to return again this year so watch this space for a report on our return. I can't wait !
I'm afraid that my photos of the gardens did not do the subject matter justice. Hover over them with your cursor and click to see them in more detail.
This is my post for ABC Wednesday which is the inspiration of Denise Nesbitt. Don't hesitate but hop over there now and hang round for a while !