Garden restoration appeal is launched

PUBLISHED: 07:00 13 November 2020

The broken balustrade around the Countess of Warwick’s lilypond. Picture: THE GARDENS OF EASTON LODGE PRESERVATION TRUST

The broken balustrade around the Countess of Warwick’s lilypond. Picture: THE GARDENS OF EASTON LODGE PRESERVATION TRUST

The Gardens of Easton Lodge Preservation Trust

An appeal for a major restoration project has been launched by The Gardens of Easton Lodge Preservation Trust.

RAF Women's Auxiliary Air Force members at Easton Lodge. Picture: THE GARDENS OF EASTON LODGE PRESERVATION TRUSTRAF Women's Auxiliary Air Force members at Easton Lodge. Picture: THE GARDENS OF EASTON LODGE PRESERVATION TRUST

The Trust wants to restore the balustrade around the Countess of Warwick’s lily pond in the Historic England Grade II registered gardens in Little Easton.

The lily pond within the sunken Italian garden is a key part of the Harold Peto legacy. The Countess commissioned the garden makeover in 1902, when she was planning to spend more time at her estate rather than at Warwick Castle, her husband’s ancestral home.

The restoration project will involve replacing 91 of the 134 balusters, so they can hold up the coping, most of which is still sound.

The restoration will be undertaken by stonemasons from the region, with the balusters turned from hamstone from Somerset, to match the original stone.

Trust members are asking supporters to fund a baluster at £250 each or to donate what they can.

Baluster sponsors have the option of their names being included in a public display about the restoration project.

Despite the impact of the Covid pandemic, the Trust has been able to open several times this year and has saved funds from previous years.

They will match funds raised so the project can be completed in early 2021.

Christine Walkden, one of the new Trustees, said: “The hard work of our volunteers really shows and I am looking forward to seeing this project completed, allowing everyone who uses and visits the Gardens access to viewing the beautiful waterlilies growing in the lily pond, as they would have been seen by the Countess of Warwick in the past.”

During her lifetime, the Countess’ visitors included aristocrats, Trade Unionists and Labourites.

American and RAF airmen and women on the Great Dunmow airfield also enjoyed the gardens.

After she died, the Countess of Warwick’s son left the gardens untended. The gardens and estate were later split and sold.

The Creaseys started the restoration of Warwick House, the remaining wing of Easton Lodge, and its gardens in the 1970s. They started on the restoration of the Italian garden and established The Gardens of Easton Lodge Preservation Trust in 2002 to take on the task, maintain and conserve the Gardens and make them open to the public.

A donation form and the Trust’s bank details for the appeal are on the website www.eastonlodge.co.uk


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