‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, though unsupported by any evidence, that Humphry Repton worked for a lower class of people than Brown.
Let us take the time to seek out what this evidence might be, beginning with a list of prime ministers from the time of Brown.
- Robert Walpole (1721–42) – neither Brown nor Repton worked for him, so far as we know. Jumped up, nouveau riche, where were his kin at the battle of Hastings?
- Spencer Compton (1742–43), 1st Earl of Wilmington –and Brown worked at Compton Wynyates and Compton Place as well as at Castle Ashby for the senior branch of the family, the Earls of Northampton. Repton also worked at Compton Place. The Northampton title runs back to the 11th century – the family is serious therefore.
- Henry Pelham (1743–54) – Brown worked for Pelham’s brother, 1st Duke of Newcastle, and Pelham married Lady Catherine Manners of Belvoir Castle, where Brown also worked. First knighted in the 15th century, the family merits some attention.
- Thomas Pelham-Holles (1754–56), 1st Duke of Newcastle – Brown worked for him at Claremont.
- William Cavendish (1756–57), 4th Duke of Devonshire – Brown worked for him at Chatsworth; Repton may later have worked at Chatsworth. Another serious family, titled since the 14th century.
- Thomas Pelham-Holles (1757–62; 2nd time) – see above
- John Stuart (1762–63), 3rd Earl of Bute – Brown worked for Lord Bute at Luton Hoo, Cardiff Castle and Highcliffe
- George Grenville (1763–65) – Brown worked for him at Wotton, Repton may have worked at Stowe, not for the Grenvilles but the Dayrells, whose estate has now been incorporated into Stowe’s.
- Charles Watson Wentworth (1765–66), 2nd Marquess of Rockingham – Brown did not work for him, but Repton did work for the family (for William Fitzwilliam, who inherited the Yorkshire estate from his uncle in 1782) at Wentworth Woodhouse and Milton Park.
- William Pitt, the Elder (1766–68), 1st Earl of Chatham – Brown knew him and advised at Burton Pynsent. A family of little distinction in itself, but made great by the actions of the Pitts, Elder and Younger.
- Augustus Henry Fitzroy (1768–70), 3rd Duke of Grafton – Brown worked for the Fitzroys at Wakefield Lodge and Euston. Descended from the crown and hence unimpeachable.
- Frederick North (1770–82), 2nd Earl of Guilford – Brown knew Lord North, and would seem to have advised him when he was living in Bushy Park. Neither Brown nor Repton advised at Wroxton, so far as we know. However Dudley Long North commissioned Repton to work at Glemham Hall in 1791. Lord North was both his kinsman and patron.
- Charles Watson Wentworth (1782) – see above
- William Petty-Fitzmaurice (1782–83), 2nd Earl of Shelburne – Brown and Repton both worked for Lord Shelburne at Bowood and Wycombe Abbey
- William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck (1783; 1st time), 3rd Duke of Portland – Repton worked for him at Welbeck and Bulstrode
- William Pitt, the Younger (1783–1801; 1st time) – Repton worked for him at Holwood Park.
- Henry Addington (1801–04), Viscount Sidmouth – Addington maintained homes at Up Ottery, Devon and Bulmershe Court, in what is now the Reading suburb of Woodley, but moved to the White Lodge in Richmond Park – Repton worked for him at both Bulmershe Court and White Lodge
- William Pitt, the Younger (1804–06; 2nd time) see above
- William Wyndham Grenville (1806–07), born at Wotton , where Brown had worked
- William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck (1807–09; 2nd time) 3rd duke of Portland, see above
- Spencer Perceval (1809–12), Ealing’s only prime-minister, unfortunately assassinated, bought Elm Grove in 1808. Repton worked for Mrs Colin Baillie at Ealing Park, next door. Ealing Park had more extensive grounds than Elm Grove. In fact Ealing Park was also known as Ealing Grove, and has, by some, been identified with Elm Grove. Complicated.
- Robert Banks Jenkinson (1812–27) of Coombe Wood, Kingston, Surrey – neither Brown nor Repton worked here, so far as I know. However the estate had been owned, in Brown’s day by the Spencers, for whom Brown did work.
Hard to pick the better connected then, between Brown and Repton, if one looks at prime ministers alone.’ [Notes from the Professor, trans. the Type-Setter]