Steane Park Garden in Northamptonshire is all that a garden should be. This stunning garden is located just outside Brackley close to the borders of Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. It is situated adjacent to the site of the old medieval village of Steane, which is mentioned in the Domesday book.
Steane Park Garden is approached via parkland, with an abundance of classic trees and a smattering of wild flowers. The sense of history is strong with a beautiful church, built by Thomas Crewe in 1620 adjacent to the lake and ancient stew ponds. The attractive formal gardens, governed by a stunning copper beech and a classic cedar of Lebanon, leads to a more relaxed wooded area next to the lake, with wandering paths, wild flowers and an amusing folly. The effect is one of rural peace and calm.
Steane Park was once the home of Sir Thomas Crewe, speaker of the House of Commons in the 17th century, who rebuilt the charming chapel of St Peter in 1620 in memory of his wife.
The house that stands now is much smaller than the original, a 16th century property of magnificent architecture that was originally built and may have been designed by Sir Reginald Bray who was involved in the building of Henry VII’s Chapel at Westminster Abbey. He was the half brother to John Bray, the great grandfather of Temperance Bray who married Sir Thomas Crewe. Through the lineage Steane was passed to Henry, Duke of Kent and thence to the Spencer family who sold it off privately in 1890.
When the present owners moved to Steane Park in 1990, the garden was in an extremely dilapidated and overgrown state; the lake had been filled with rubbish and the fishponds were hardly visible. Over the past 21 years they have tried to capture the original glory of the garden, and the fishponds have been enhanced by the addition of a jetty with an attractive seating area. The area between the fishponds is where the previous owner had grown potatoes and this is now planted with trees and wild flowers, whilst the potatoes are now grown in the newly renovated 17th century vegetable garden.
Now the garden houses many unique and fascinating features, including:
Sir Thomas Crewe (or Crew) (1565 – 31 January 1634), of Stene in Northamptonshire, was an English Member of Parliament and lawyer, and served as Speaker of the House of Commons from 1623 to 1625. Sir Thomas Crew married Temperance Bray, daughter of Reynold Bray and Hon. Anne Vaux.
Crewe was a member of Gray's Inn, and a serjeant-at-law. He entered Parliament in 1604 as Member for Lichfield, and was later MP for Northampton (1621–2), Aylesbury (1623–1625) and Gatton (1625). In 1621 he drew attention to himself by defying the King, declaring the liberties of Parliament to be "matters of inheritance". In 1623 he was knighted, and in the Parliament summoned that year (which first assembled in February 1624) he was elected Speaker; he served in that capacity in the two Parliaments known to history as the Happy Parliament and the Useless Parliament. In 1633, he was appointed a member of the ecclesiastical commission. He died the following year.
Crewe's son, John, followed him into Parliament, and was raised to the peerage as Baron Crew in 1661 for his role in bringing about the Restoration.
** – Visiting + Facilities – **
Steane Park Garden is open to visitors from March through to the end of September for private groups of 10 or more visitors. Please contact them for further information. Click here to view a Map of the garden.
Location : Steane Park Garden, Brackley, Northamptonshire NN13 6DP
Transport: Kings Sutton (National Rail) then 4 miles bus or taxi. Bus routes: Buses 132 and 500 pass nearby, check with driver.
Opening Times : see above
Tickets : see above.
Tel. : 01280 705899