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Sheringham Park

Enjoy the Repton 200 Season

March 2018 marks the 200 year anniversary of the death of one of Britain’s greatest, and original Landscape Gardeners, Humphry Repton.

Humphry Repton was born in Suffolk in 1752 and attended Norwich Grammar School before training to be a textile merchant, which was a popular trade in Norfolk at the time. After he was married, he set up his own business in textiles but failed miserably at this!

He then decided to move to Sustead near Aylsham in Norfolk and tried his hand at a number of jobs; dramatist, artist, journalist and secretary. Again he could not make a success of these professions and so when his long-time friend James Edward Smith encouraged Humphry to look into gardening, he suddenly had an inspiring idea.

Humphry realised that he could combine his skill of sketching with his knowledge of gardening to create unique landscape designs, and with this coined the term ‘Landscape Gardening’. After the death of Capability Brown, Humphry Repton became the next person to dominate English gardening and used his contacts in the upper class to spread the word of his new business.

Humphry’s first paid commission was Catton Park in Broadland, Norfolk in 1788.

Success was consistent after this with Humphry going on to prove his talents at many Norfolk sites such as Sheringham Park, and throughout the UK at many country houses and parks, including Tatton Park , Wembley Park and Kensington Gardens.

Sheringham Park rhododendrons

As a talented artist he also went on to produce detailed watercolour illustrations with explanations of his plans for each garden, for his clients. These became known as ‘Red books’ and clients would be charged by Repton for these plans, with many clients going forward with the plans and hiring Repton to carry out the work and some of the four hundred plans never becoming a reality.

As time went on, Repton widened the scope of his business by offering architecture as part of the package to clients when he began working with John Nash in the 1790s, and then later with his two sons, George Stanley and John Adey Repton. John went on to do various architectural works both in the UK and abroad.

Finally in 1818, after many years of disability following a serious carriage crash, Humphry Repton was laid to rest in Aylsham at St Michael‘s Church, where an impressive grave stone still stands for him today. He is buried as requested outside the church in a small garden, and with him lays his wife Mary and fourth son William, who lived in Aylsham for many years. Humphry’s grave stone reads an epitaph that he wrote: “Not like Egyptian Tyrants consecrate Unmixed with others shall my dust remain But mold'ring, blending, melting into Earth. Mine shall give from and colour to the Rose And while its vivid colours cheer Mankind, Its perfumed odours shall ascend to Heaven.”

Humphry Repton
To celebrate this gifted British Landscape Gardener, Aylsham District & Team Ministry with multiple members of the surrounding community and Broadland District Council have come together to create the Repton Season for Spring 2018.

There will be festivities around the subjects of art, horticulture, and life in Norfolk during the Georgian era which Repton lived through. There will also be information and images capturing Repton’s legacy through the parks and gardens that he designed and how many have survived to be enjoyed by visitors today.

To find out more about the Repton Season event, look out for events on Visit Norfolk’s what’s on page and www.humphryrepton.org.uk or follow the Twitter hashtag: #Repton200

Humphry Repton's grave

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