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Lamport Fields and the Japanese Gardens

Stowe Landscape Gardens



Location

Lamport Fields and the Japanese Gardens are the most easterly and the latest additions to Stowe gardens. The area is bounded on the west by Hawkwell Field and on the east by the ha-ha. The Japanese Gardens lie at the southern end, east of the Palladian Bridge and enclosing the most easterly extension of the Octagon Lake.


Buildings and Monuments

A Map of Lamport Fields


History

Before 1823 this area was outside of the estate and was part of the parish of Lamport. The Survey reports that the manor of Lamport was divided, one half following the same descent as the Stowe manor and the other in the ownership of the Dayrell family. The Dayrells lived in Lamport Manor House, located just to the northeast of the Palladian Bridge, in the 18th Century. Earl Temple wanted to purchase the land because it adjoined the area near both the Palladian Bridge (which had had its eastern wall removed in the early 1760s) and the Gothic Temple. Though Earl Temple was not able to purchase the land, he evidently persuaded the Dayrells to let him landscape it at his own cost during the years 1762-1765.

In 1823 Henry Dayrell died, and his heir, Captain Richard Dayrell RN, sold the estate to the First Duke of Buckingham and Chandos. The Survey suggests that Captain Dayrell most likely kept the manor house and its gardens for himself until 1838, when he sold them to the Duke as well. Work began on a new cascade, east of the Palladian Bridge, that corresponded with the work being done to enlarge the Octagon and erase its formal contours completely.

In the early 1840s the area known today as the Japanese Gardens was fenced off and landscaped as a rock and water garden. In 1848 when the Duke was declared bankrupt and a sale was conducted, the sale catalog was published with this description of the area:

on that side of the gardens adjoining this [Palladian] bridge, formerly stood an ancient Manor-house belonging to the Dayrell family: it was pulled down about ten years ago and on the site of it and its gardens and ponds a large enclosure has been made, for an ornamental plantation of rare and curious shrubs; and a menagerie for the reception of rare animals and aquatic fowl -- this part of the grounds being well supplied with water. This beautiful spot was converted into its present picturesque appearance of hill and dale, rockwork and waterfall, by the scientific genius of Mr. Ferguson, the present gardener at Stowe.
Lamport Lodge was also built in the early 1840s, and adjoining it are the Lamport Park Gates. Bevington describes the Lodge as a gothic building and the gates as a triple entrance with brick piers and iron gates.

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John D. Tatter, Birmingham-Southern College, jtatter@bsc.edu