Henry Avray Tipping (22 August 1855 – 16 November 1933) was a French-born British writer on country houses and gardens, a garden designer, and Architectural Editor of Country Life magazine for 17 years. And excitingly he was involved with Brinsop Manor House and Estate in his 50s.

His main interest was gardening and garden design and he was recognised as one of the leading authorities on the history, architecture, furnishings and gardens of country houses in Britain. His garden designs were in the Arts and Crafts style, and he was a friend of Gertrude Jekyll, Harold Peto and Edwin Lutyens. His gardens were characterised by divided compartments with sculpted yew hedging, topiary birds and animals, long grass bowling greens, lush planting and wild areas. He liked the pale early blue Aster thomsonii in big groups and he was an early user of the fast growing evergreen Lonicera nitida for hedging. He liked long beds of one thing, the sedum walk for autumn or the lavender walk for July for example.

Tipping never married and when he died, he left his house and entire fortune to his special adviser, the head gardener who had cared for him in older age. In return, at Tipping’s request the gardener destroyed all Tipping’s private papers apart from just one diary! I wonder what he had written in them.

We can still see Henry Avary Tipping’s influence at Brinsop as not much has changed in the gardens since his day. His restoration of Brinsop Manor House began very early in the 20th century by which time both house and garden were in very poor condition. Hugh Astley and Lady Sutton were responsible for the extensive restoration of Brinsop Court between 1911 and 1913 all overseen by him.  In the garden, a huge pergola was built across the causeway between the moat and the large pond and a 1918 photograph shows a group of flamingos in front of it – must of been quite a sight. On Brinsop Court’s south side, a paved area and raised rose bed were introduced and beyond the moat, curved steps led down to a new lawn. A paved parterre with formal beds was created within the courtyard, with statuary and topiary. A 1998 sale catalogue includes photographs indicating that the garden is little altered from Tipping’s plan, although the pergola and flamingos have now gone!

There is something very endearing about the gardens here at Brinsop Court which aren’t too formal, yet have a maturity about them that gives them their special quality.

Come and see for yourself.

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