Visiting Canons Ashby for the first time in February 2012, we enjoyed a refreshing couple of hours in the Saturday sunshine. This was more of a familiarisation trip than a full visit, as our toddler isn't currently in the most helpful age bracket for visiting historic houses - the words 'bull' and 'China shop' come to mind! We'll hopefully be returning soon where a more comprehensive visit can be enjoyed, including a tour of the intriguing house and gardens as they shoot forth.
|Door Open to Canons Ashby Garden.|
My focus as ever is biased towards
the garden, although my interest always spreads wider to include architecture and social history. Whilst our visit was purely a family outing, I hope the photographs illustrate the general offering the garden had in late February, and its potential for the fair weather months. It's worth mentioning that of the areas we passed through, much of the planting included herbaceous and annuals, and the garden was stripped bare in its winter form.
|Canons Ashby, National Trust, south front.|
There were some nicely trimmed topiary specimens which added much needed structure to the garden, their long shadows being fully appreciated with the low winter sun. There were snowdrops aplenty, some cheerful winter bedding, and the enviable garden walls supported bare stems of nicely trained fruit shrubs. The said walls were richly coloured and dusted with lichen, with a variety of ironwork gates and carved stone finials dating, I'd assume, back to the early 1700's phase of building and landscaping. The stone used in the construction of the mansion was recycled from the priory that previously occupied the site.
|Fruit espalier at Canons Ashby.|
|Vitis vinifera 'Purpurea' at Canons Ashby|
|Shepherd piper at Powis Castle|
Within the garden at Canons, a handsome shepherd, playing his pipe is to be found upon a plinth; this immediately reminded me of similar ones at both Charlecote Park and Powis Castle. Further investigation lead me to understand that the Powis shepherd is believed to have been supplied by John van Nost or Andrew Carpenter, and the Canons shepherd is very similar if not identical to the Powis statue. It turns out that the Charlecote shepherd is is slightly different, and supplied by Edward Hurst, another London based ornament supplier. The common link is the period, when formal and expensive Baroque styled gardens were in demand, and the very best ornamentation was sourced from reputable suppliers in the Hyde Park area of London.
|Church of St. Mary, Canons Ashby.|
The Landmark Trust - The Tower at Canons Ashby
The National Trust - Canons Ashby
Canons Ashby location map