The walled kitchen gardens of Northamptonshire is a subject that has not been researched previously. This is surprising considering the importance of kitchen gardens, both in social and garden history.
Even Country Life, founded in 1897 and renowned for its coverage of country houses and their gardens, glossed over kitchen gardens and before long dropped all mention of them.
Our research includes reference to property sale catalogues, estate and Ordnance Survey maps, estate and national archives, aerial photographs and, crucially, site surveys.
Walled kitchen gardens went into a severe decline in the 20th century for a variety of reasons including labour costs (it was extremely labour intensive to keep such gardens in full production). More recently they have become prime sites for exclusive housing developments.
It may therefore be all the more astonishing to see how many survive at all, albeit often in a somewhat reduced and sometimes forlorn state.
We shall be working our way around the county recording the history of the walled kitchen gardens in our area and recording the information for future generations.
Most of the gardens are privately owned and are not open to the public. Those that are publicly accessible are marked below with an * asterisk. Please check individual gardens for access and opening times.
Some of the (approximately) 27 kitchen gardens we have surveyed are listed below, although others have asked us not to make mention of them at this stage:
Apethorpe Hall, Blatherwycke Hall, *Boughton House, Burghley Park, Caswell House, *Delapré Abbey, Easton Neston, Ecton Hall, Fawsley Park, Finedon Hall, Finedon Vicarage, Glendon Hall, Hothorpe Hall, *Kelmarsh Hall, Knuston Hall, Lamport Hall, Rushton Hall, *Stoke Park, *Sulby Gardens, and Sun Yard/Towcester, Loddington Hall.
Next: Stoke Albany…
We currently have 120 walled kitchen gardens on our list to be surveyed (some of them may only be desk-based research as the properties have now been ‘developed’ beyond recognition), with as many again, and more, on a ‘reserve’ list where we need to confirm (or otherwise) their existence.
One issue we have is that as the majority of sites are what might be termed ‘country houses’ in the sense of a ‘stately home’, and we would be particularly interested to hear of any kitchen gardens attached to smaller houses such as vicarages or manor houses so, if you do know of such a property please contact us at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org