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Recording historic features at Lupton's rare Italianate garden

— 23 Jan 2018


South West Archaeology and volunteers recording features


Tagging, recording and relocating fallen remains


Uncovering stock piled features lost to nature


Sorting carved stone edgings for storage


Condition of steps and balustrades to upper terrace


Tagged features carefully reloacated to safe storage


Historic photograph of garden design (Source unknown)


Wightwick and Veitch's 1841 garden design

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We have recently been working on an archaeology recording project at Lupton House - a Grade II* historic building set in beautiful parkland on the outskirts of Brixham, Torbay.

Designed by Wightwick in 1841, the garden is a rare survival of an Italianate garden in Devon with unusual and innovative features and a planting scheme designed by nurseryman James Veitch, the Veitch’s are an important part of Britain’s horticultural history including establishing the Chelsea Flower Show.

Working alongside South West Archaeology, the Lupton Trust and volunteers, the team have been co-ordinating the in-situ recording, tagging, photographing of fallen remains and removal of vulnerable features to safe storage for future reference and repair.

During the day-long process earlier this month, approximately 140 pieces of fallen remains were recorded and relocated, including bathstone balustrading; pilaster cappings; and approximately 25 linear metres of carved stone edging, defining the edges between paved walkways and originally planted beds, currently lawns.

Martin Sturley-Hayes, Jonathan Rhind Architects associate director, who assisted with the work said: “The archaeological recording project provides an important insight into the detailing, construction and current condition of the fascinating geometric design of balustraded walkways, radiating paths and planting and a fountain; an unusual project and one we’re thrilled to be involved with.”

The condition of the carved stone features and paving in the garden have been deteriorating for some time, with potential neglect and damage caused during the house’s numerous uses.

These uses have included the property being requisitioned by the US military in 1939; transformed into Lupton Hotel in 1946; and a period as Gramercy Hall School for boys in 1972. The house remained empty between 2004-2008 and was taken on by the Lupton Trust in 2009.

Current works are jointly funded by the Lupton Trust and Historic England. Discover more about the Lupton Trust here.

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