The surviving wing of the house at Kirkharle

The surviving wing of the house at Kirkharle

Mrs A of Rothbury and Mr A of Durham (no relation) are fixed to the idea that everything the master gardener Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown learnt that was worth learning he learnt at his birthplace, Kirkharle.

Indeed of all the hundreds of great landscapes that he shaped, Kirkharle must be the first port of call for anyone planning to explore the work of the great man during his tercentenary year. Is it just his relationship with Sir William Loraine that should attract us? And what about his parents? If his father was a farmer or bailiff, then who was his mother? All we have, courtesy of Jane Brown, is her name, Ursula (Latin) and his own, Lancelot (mediaeval, rather than plain Henry, or Horace, or Herbert, or Howard). So is there some indication there of education and aspiration on the part of his mother’s parents and his own?

Then we have one other strange piece of information, we know that Brown was baptised in August 2016, yet if he was 67 when he died, he must have been born six months or so earlier. We might judge that this was a woman of a certain strength, where many would call in the vicar within a day or two of the birth in case the child died, she was sufficiently confident to wait.

He was named perhaps after his grandfather, but his siblings had nothing fancy by way of first name.

I leave the matter open, for the further comments of my readers.