The Prophet in his own Country: 3 Repton gardens in Norfolk

A Gardens Trust Repton Festival 2018 Event

Repton logo

Friday 1 June and Saturday 2 June 2018

To mark the bi-centenary of the death of Humphry Repton, the Norfolk Gardens Trust in association with The Gardens Trust is offering a two-day conference focused on Sheringham Hall and Park, Barningham Hall and Honing Hall, based at the Links Country Park Hotel in Cromer.

Our speakers are well known to garden and landscape historians through their books, lectures and consultancy work. Professor Tom Williamson heads the Landscape Group within the University of East Anglia’s School of History, a collection of academics, researchers and research students studying all aspects of England’s landscape, including landscape design. Dr Jon Finch is an historical archaeologist who specialises in landscape, poverty, slavery and commemoration: key themes which intersect and inform much of the C17, C18 and C19. He is a Reader in Historical Archaeology and Director of Studies at York University for the MA course. Dominic Cole OBE VMM, is a Chartered Member of the Landscape Institute with some thirty years’ experience and throughout his career has engaged with the specialist area of Historic Parks and Gardens. He is President of The Gardens Trust and working with the National Trust to produce a Conservation Management plan for Sheringham.

We shall visit three of Repton’s surviving landscapes, two of which, Sheringham Hall and Barningham Hall, were commissions to both Humphry Repton and his architect son, John Adey Repton. At Sheringham this was for a new house and at Barningham a remodelling. Red Books were prepared for all three, but only two, Sheringham Hall and Honing Hall, survive complete. At Barningham Hall, Thomas Mott commissioned both Humphry Repton and John Adey Repton in 1805 to remodel the Hall. A number of watercolours have survived from the Red Book (private collection) which suggest that Humphry was also involved in the design of the park and gardens.

Provisional programme

We begin at 9.30 on Friday morning with registration followed by talks from Professor Tom Williamson, Dr Jon Finch and GT President Dominic Cole. After lunch, we visit Sheringham (own transport) for a guided tour of the park and an opportunity to view Repton’s Red Book in the Hall’s library. A conference dinner and after-dinner talk concludes the day.

At 9.30 on Satuday morning we take a coach to Aylsham and the parish church where Repton is buried. A picnic lunch follows in the park at Honing Hall (weather permitting) and thence on to Barningham Hall, returning to the Links Hotel around 5pm.

Proposal for Honing Hall after Humphry Repton, picture from Peacock's Polite Repository for April 1794

Proposal for Honing Hall after Humphry Repton, picture from Peacock’s Polite Repository for April 1794

Barmingham Hall, after Humphry Repton, picture for Peacock's Polite Repository for June 1809

Barmingham Hall, after Humphry Repton, picture for Peacock’s Polite Repository for June 1809

Barmingham Hall, after Humphry Repton, picture for Peacock’s Polite Repository for June 1809

The provisional cost of the two-day conference (excluding accommodation) will be around £125 for County Garden Trust and The Garden Trust members and £150 for non-members (TBC). This includes the buffet lunch and the conference dinner on Friday, coach travel and picnic lunch on Saturday and all lectures and visits. Delegates will need to book their own accommodation at the Conference hotel: The Links Country Park Hotel in Cromer, NR27 9QH or phone: 01263 838383 and please state you are with the Norfolk Gardens Trust Group.

Rates are, for double rooms: £150 per room per night to include breakfast; single occupancy (in a double room) rate is £95 per person. The Norfolk Gardens Trust has reserved 26 rooms for Friday 1 June 2018 but rooms may also be available for the nights of Thursday 31 May and Saturday 2 June. The hotel rooms are reserved only until 31 December 2017.

Alternatively, delegates can book their own accommodation; a list of possible alternatives within a reasonable distance from the Conference venue will be available in October from the organiser Karen Moore, see below.

The conference booking details and a downloadable booking form will go online in October 2017. 

This event is likely to very popular, so early expressions of firm interest should be sent by email to Karen Moore

or by mail: Karen Moore, Norfolk Gardens Trust Organiser, Point House, Back Street, Litcham, Norfolk PE32 2PA