- Burton Park House across the pond, photo © Jon Combe
- Burton Park mill pond, photo © Jon Combe
In 1758 Lancelot 'Capability' Brown was paid £200 for his work at Burton Park for owner Richard Biddulph.
The only hard evidence that Capability Brown worked at Burton Park is a payment by Richard Biddulph of £200 (more than £350,000 in 2015) to Brown’s account at Drummond’s Bank on 26 July 1758. Brownian features at Burton Park include the lakes, a ha-ha (sunken wall) and clumps of trees in the parkland. The estate is a site of about 140 hectares (346 acres), including 4 hectares of formal gardens, lying about 3 kilometres (1.8 miles) south of Petworth, West Sussex.
The park at Burton surrounds the house on all sides. To the north and north-west there were areas planted with parkland clumps, as shown on a map by Gardner and Gream of 1795. To the north-east lies Black Pond, with a fringe of trees and the adjoining Black Pond Copse.
Grassland slopes down to Chingford Pond to the south and south-east of the house and gardens, and there is a dam at the western end. This feature appears on the 1795 map, fringed by trees and mature woodland, so may also date from Brown’s time at Burton Park.
The ha-ha at Burton Park is shown on the tithe map of 1837, so may have been part of Brown’s design for the gardens and park. A gravelled walk runs along the top of one section of this structure.
Burton Park today
Landscape designer Humphry Repton (1752-1818, Wikipedia) also worked at Burton Park and produced a Red Book for the estate in March 1798. He was involved with plans for a new house, as the Tudor mansion had been destroyed by fire.
The current Burton House dates from around 1828 and is listed Grade I (Historic England). In the 1940s the house, gardens and southern section of the park were sold to a school and have since been converted for private housing. An area of the north-eastern section of the park is a nature reserve managed by the Sussex Wildlife Trust (see website).
Historic England: historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1001208