We recently joined with Friends of Historic Essex to help the Essex Records Office try to secure a Repton watercolour for the benefit of the County, called '‘A Panoramic Sketch of the Views from the Site proposed for Riffham’s Lodge’ at Danbury. On the day we were sadly out bid but, "well done" to those who quickly got involved, responding at very short notice.

RESEARCH The Repton watercolour mentioned above was an unusual commission for Humphry Repton. Old Riffhams at Danbury was inherited by John Robert Spencer who decided not to alter the old manor house but build a new mansion on a nearby hilly site and asked Humphry Repton to advise on the siting of the house. In 1815 Repton produced the watercolour signed by H & JA Repton.and made notes beneath each section of the watercolour: the first ‘Landscape Lingwood Common from the study window towards the east the centre section is inscribed ‘From the principal living room window south east and from other windows towards the south, grass and arable land belonging to the proprietor and the foreground a lawn with terrace and flowers’. The final section is inscribed ‘View from the drawing room towards the south and west, foreground flower garden and open grove’. It has been speculated that John Adey may have provided plans for the new house, which was built as suggested. Riffhams remains a family home and has spectacular views into the valley and up the opposite hill.

ESSEX GARDENS TRUST AGM Saturday 14th October 2017. Barnards Farm Gardens, West Horndon, Essex, CM13 3LX

Our day will begin with the AGM and following this, there is the opportunity to explore the 22 hectare landscaped gardens occupied by a significant collection of sculpture by international artists such as Elizabeth Frink and Antony Gormley; the fruit on the National Collection of crab apples should be looking spectacular. Following lunch, at 2.30 pm the international garden designer Xa Tollemache will give an illustrated lecture entitled A garden well placed: a designer's harmony between house and garden.

You are welcome to bring guests with you to enjoy these gardens, lunch and afternoon lecture. Your booking form is with the AGM notification. 


A vacancy exists for a Newsletter Editor and there are opportunities to help with our research of the county's historic garden landscapes. For more information, please contact Jill Plater on telephone 01277 352867.

Can you help with refreshments at our AGM? If so, please contact Michele Freeman on telephone 01206 560557.


It is with great sadness we announce the death of former Chairman and life member Gareth Gunning who passed away on Sunday 23 July 2017. Gareth was one of the dedicated founding members of the EGT without whom the Trust would not exist today. We extend our condolences to his widow, Ros, and family. News from ESSEX GARDENS TRUST Edition 2 - SEPTEMBER 2017


Theme: Gardens and landscapes through time


AGM at Barnards Farm, with afternoon LECTURE given by XA TOLLEMACHE, garden designer of the recently opened Global Growth Vegetable Garden at RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Essex and her own garden at Helmingham Hall, Suffolk.

Please use the booking form enclosed with your AGM notification papers.

SATURDAY 18 NOVEMBER 2017 LECTURE: PAINSHILL, the restoration story

CHERRILL SANDS, garden historian will explain how this beautiful 18th century pleasure garden has been restored using plants contemporary with its creation by the Hon. Charles Hamilton. We will find out about the crystal Grotto, once again a sparkling centrepiece and the last great project the rebuild of the Temple of Bacchus due for completion in 2017.


SIMON CRAMNER, Operations Manager, National Trust Hatfield Forest will talk to us about the fascinating history of this SSSI and National Nature Reserve at the heart of our county, including the latest discoveries of its associate with Lancelot Capability Brown. Simon will also provide an insight into how the NT meets the challenges of managing this precious, but much visited site, and the lessons that they are providing to other ancient forests around the world.

SATURDAY 24 MARCH 2018 LECTURE: COPPED HALL, bringing the gardens back to life

ALAN COX, Chairman and co-founder of the Copped Hall Trust will enlighten us about the history of the gardens, their destruction and the bringing back to life of the many aspects of the Grade II* listed landscape including the Orchard House and the Walled Kitchen Garden.

All of the above lectures are being held in Room UO6 at Writtle University College, Main Building, Lordship Lane, Writtle, Essex, CM1 3RR

Members £5.00 Guests £7.50 (complimentary refreshments and free parking).

To book any of these lectures, send your cheque, (made payable to ESSEX GARDENS TRUST), to Michele Freeman, 36 Chitts Hill, Lexden, Colchester, Essex, CO3 9ST.

At the AGM, our programme of visits for 2018 will be announced. Full details will then be available on our website, face book page and in the January 2018 Newsletter.