Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown worked at Stoke Park, near Stoke Poges, Slough, Buckinghamshire for Anne, Viscountess Cobham in 1750s in one of his earliest independent commissions.
In 1729 Stoke Manor was inherited by Anne, Viscountess Cobham, whose father, Edmund Halsey, had bought it in 1724. When her husband, Lord Cobham, died in 1749, Lady Anne moved from Stowe in north Buckinghamshire to Stoke Park.
As part of her programme of improvements, she employed Brown to modernise the grounds. Brown had recently set up business on his own following ten years as Head Gardener at Stowe, working for her late husband, Lord Cobham.
Brown created a serpentine lake from a chain of five rectangular ponds, flanked by a landscape park centred on the Elizabethan manor house.
Viscountess Cobham died in 1760 with no heir, at which the estate was sold to the Hon Thomas Penn, Lord Proprietary of Pennsylvania, eldest surviving son of William Penn, founder of the American province named after him.
Penn employed Nathaniel Richmond during the 1760s to draw up plans for general alterations and improvements to the park, but little is known about his exact input. Penn died in 1775, and his fifteen-year-old son John inherited Stoke Park.
In the early 1790s John commissioned Humphry Repton (1752-1818) to make improvements to the park, at the same time as a new house was being built by Robert Nasmith at the centre of the park to supersede the old manor house.
Humphry Repton's Red Book containing details of his suggestions, dated June 1792, did not suggest major changes within the park, except a new garden feature, 'a highly polished garden scene’ and pleasure ground, to the west of the new house but this was not created until c 1808.
A golf course was laid out by H S Colt in 1908, and in 1911 parts of the park were sold for housing. Today Stoke Park is a five star country club, spa and hotel.