Aylsham will host the official launch of Repton 200 – a year of nationwide celebrations coordinated by the Gardens Trust marking the bicentenary of the death of Humphry Repton, who succeeded Capability Brown as Britain’s greatest landscape gardener.
Norfolk is where Repton first worked as a landscape gardener, at Catton Park and Sheringham Park, and where he was buried, at Aylsham Parish Church, in March 1818.
To mark the bicentenary of his death, a programme of events celebrating his life and work have been planned in Norfolk and around the country.
Humphry Repton, whose works include Tatton Park and Woburn Abbey, was the successor to Capability Brown and the first to coin the term ‘landscape gardening’.
Born in Bury St Edmunds in April 1752, he attended Norwich Grammar School and trained to work in the textile business but was not successful in the industry.
After trying his hand at a number of careers, including dramatist, artist, journalist and secretary, Repton set himself up as a landscape gardener, and gained work through his social contacts.
He knew Sheringham well, having lived in Sustead, three miles away, for 12 years.
Repton went on to work on estates across the country, producing his famous Red Books which showed his clients ‘before’ and ‘after’ views of how he would improve their land.
The Gardens Trust are co-ordinating the national celebrations, which start in March 2018, and include the Repton Season organised by Aylsham and District Team Ministry, Aylsham Town Council, community groups and Broadland District Council.
Events in Norfolk include a history workshop with Dr Tom Williamson, professor of landscape history and archaeology at the University of East Anglia, a Repton 200 Memorial Choral Evensong, a Humphry Repton Memorial Lecture with Professor Stephen Daniels of the University of Nottingham and a Red Book competition involving pupils from local schools.
Councillor Karen Vincent, member champion for heritage at Broadland District Council, said: “We are lucky as a district to have links to such an important and fascinating figure.
“Repton’s work remains on show throughout the country, with his first work being here in Broadland at Catton Park. “We would encourage anyone interested in one of the country’s most important landscape gardeners to come and help us celebrate his achievements in the spring.”
Dr James Bartos, chairman of the Gardens Trust, said: “Humphry Repton designed around 400 landscapes across the country, many of which remain much-loved historic gardens.
“His picturesque designs featured terraces, gravel walks and flower beds around the house, as well as themed flower gardens.
“Next year will see a host of events celebrating his enduring influence, and drawing attention to gardens which need help to survive.”
To find out more about events in Norfolk for the Repton Season, visit www.humphryrepton.org.uk or follow #Repton200 on Twitter.
Picture: Humphry Repton’s tomb at Aylsham Parish Church