Croome is a restored country park and house. It was commissioned in 1751 after the 6th Earl of Coventry inherited the estate. The Coventry family got their money through political links. The house is now empty and partially restored. One of the rooms, the saloon, was where King George III was entertained by the 6th Earl of Coventry.
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Croome Park’s landscape was the first complete landscape (667 acres) designed by ‘Capability’ Brown. Commissioned by the 6th Earl of Coventry, it made Brown famous as well as introducing his unique garden design style to England. Most of the work was done in two phases between 1751-6 and 1762-6. The park buildings and structures are by Brown, Robert Adam and James Wyatt. The pier gates marked the entrance to the pleasure grounds along the carriage drive. A monument to Capability Brown was added by Coventry after Brown’s death.
The ornamental lake and river were created from a bog area. Village houses were moved, Croome Court was rebuilt, and follies were constructed. Plants from around the world were brought in to complete the design.
A medieval church was demolished and another, St Mary Magdalene, built on a new site (Robert Adam designed interior) in the grounds.
A temple greenhouse, designed by Robert Adam in 1760 housed the collection of exotic plants as well as served as a folly. The grounds are dotted with statues. The figure called the Druid is late 18th century and is of Coade stone, a manufactured material.
The dry arch bridge was first designed to allow visitors to walk to the lakeside underneath a carriage drive. The archways were added by Wyatt. The lake lies at head of ornamental serpentine river. The island pavilion and restored wrought iron bridges were designed by Wyatt. A grotto once had semi-precious gems attached. A Coade statue is of Sabrina, goddess of the river Severn.
The grounds, with 45,000 trees and shrubs, underwent a 10 year restoration which was completed in 2006. There are 400 acres of wildflower meadows. There are walks in the extensive grounds.
High Green, Severn Stoke
Six miles west of Pershore and south of Worcester
Tel. 0 1905 371 006
Open: Jan-mid Feb and Nov-mid Dec, weekends, 10am-4pm; house 11am-3.30 same months and days; mid-Feb-end Oct, park, shop, tea-room daily, 10am-5.30pm; house, Wed-Mon, 11am-4.30pm
National Trust property except church is Churches Conservation Trust; parking; shop; 1940s style canteen; picnic area; children’s play area
Photos © by Barbara Ballard