‘If the Bathing House at Norris Castle is in his character and style, we might then ask what Humphry Repton might have made of its location and the location of the other buildings on the estate. On these questions, he had made his opinions clear:

The Castle

“the water is doubtless the leading feature, & the house cd not have been placed farther from it without being more exposed to the western winds.”[1]

norris castle 1928

Norris Castle in 1928

“From a Place on the Sea coast, the Sea is naturally the principal feature, & it becomes an object of consideration how to display it to the greatest advantage; If it were only to be viewed from a Walk or a Seat, our natural love of Prospect, would tempt us to ascend the highest hill, that we might trace the whole range of coast, from Torbay to the Isle of Portland, & contemplate the immense may spread under our feet in every direction: but in a House Convenience should take the lead of every other consideration: & an unbounded range of the most beautiful prospect, will but ill compensate for the loss of that shelter, warmth, & comfort which is not to be found in an exposed situation.”[2]

When considering a position for Norris Castle, Repton would have been concerned to protect it from strong westerlies. He would have approved the choice of site.

Repton recognized and was prepared to reserve any view of the sea until the Castle was entered, as happened at Norris. However it is also striking that the buildings, aside from the Castle: that is, the Landing House, the Bathing House, the Kitchen Garden, the lodge (Fort Norris) were all placed on the boundaries of the estate and this requirement would seem to have taken the lead over every other consideration. Repton would not have adopted this inflexible approach.

The Kitchen Garden

“It is very essential that the kitchen garden shd be as near the house as possible, without being seen from it; & that it shd have a connection with the stables for a supply of manure; yet that walks shd lead to it without being exposed to the heat of the sun in summer, or the power of the west wind in winter. The farm may be more distant; & indeed the farther it is removed from the pleasure grounds, the less offensive will be the dirt & litter which ought to attend a farm, & which ought not to be near the mansion: these reasons have determined the situation of farm & kitchen garden, as far as relates to convenience; but in point of beauty they will also be found to be placed in their proper situations.”[3]

“every one must feel the advantage of having a Garden near the house, provided it is not an unsightly object from it”[4]

“Because they found the kitchen garden immediately under the windows of a house, they thought it necessary to banish it to as great a distance as possible, and in almost every place which I have been called to improve, the first object has been to remove the kitchen garden nearer the house (very often to its original situation) or else to make a fenced walk, and by that means to extend the dressed ground over an uninteresting part of the grounds, solely for the purpose of connecting the garden with the house.”[5]

Norris Farm and Kitchen Garden from Fort Norris

Norris Farm and Kitchen Garden from Fort Norris

Repton would not have recommended the site chosen for the kitchen garden, nor would he have associated it with the farm as happened at Norris. Instead he might have wanted both to be brought closer to the castle so as to make it seem still grander.

If presented with the site as a given he would have ensured that it was linked to the Castle by a pleasure ground and that the pleasure ground had places of interest, such as a dairy, within it. This did not happen at Norris, indeed the Pump House, an entirely undecorated building, was left directly en route between Castle and Kitchen Garden.’ [Notes from the Professor, trans. the Type-Setter]


The Farm Yard

The Bailiff's House at Norris Farm

The Bailiff’s House at Norris Farm

“It has already been observed that the farm yard shd not be too near the mansion, & having no material connection either with the stables or the kitchen garden, it may with propriety be on the contrary side of the house”[6]

“Luscombe is therefore in appearance a large place, because the ground in every direction will be appropriated to the Castle, whose Character requires that it should be ’embosom’d high in tufted trees’ which by partial concealment will encrease its size & consequence: for wherever turrets, or chimneys appear rising out of the wood, the Imagination will fill in the space between them with buildings, which it supposes the wood conceals. This leads to a very material circumstance: Convenience requires that one side of the house should be given up to offices, Stables, Kitchen Garden &c, & beyond those, the Farm yard; & upon the proper arrangement of these,  & their being well connected with other, depends on great measure the comfort of a place: for example, if the Stables & the Kitchen garden were on different sides of the house every load of manure carried from one to the other must either pass the windows, or go by a long way round, by the back road, instead of being there in a few minutes.”[7]

Repton was very concerned with the circulation of the estate. He did not think it essential that the farm yard and kitchen garden be near the great house, but he did want the Stables and Kitchen Garden to be connected, as they are at Norris, and he would have seen the merit of using these buildings to increase the apparent extent of the great house.‘

‘It may perhaps be objected by the modern trim disciples of Brown’s defects, that the stables, barns, garden and other appendages, ought to be removed to a distance; but I can only answer by referring to my own publication, where I have endeavoured to shew the folly of expecting importance in buildings, without extent of appendages, and the absurdity of banishing to a distance; those objects which are necessary to the comfort of a Country residence’[1]’ [Notes from the Professor, trans. the Type-Setter]

Oofy here: Editorial: Norris Norris Norris – Know Harry Seymour’s people, owned the place.

[1] STANEDGE PARK in Radnorshire the property of Charles Rogers Esqr., 1803

‘ [Notes from the Professor, trans. the Type-Setter]

Oofy here: Editorial: Norris Norris Norris – Knew Harry Seymour, who owned the place. Point is. Didn’t employ Repton anywhere else. Write about places he did work.


[1] Plas Newydd in the isle of Anglesey North Wales A Seat of The Rt. Honble the Earl of Uxbridge, 1799.

[2] Luscombe 1799

[3] Plas Newydd in the isle of Anglesey North Wales A Seat of The Rt. Honble the Earl of Uxbridge, 1799.

[4] Luscombe 1799

[5] Valleyfield 1801

[6] Plas Newydd in the isle of Anglesey North Wales A Seat of The Rt. Honble the Earl of Uxbridge, 1799.

[7] Luscombe 1799