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Warley Place


By dorjac


Over this last weekend I slipped in a sunny visit to Warley Place. How on earth did it manage to be sunny? I went early to Brentwood so that I could park easily. When I got there it was raining. Changed into walking shoes and set forth. Last time I visited with a group of people. This time I wished to be alone. Looking at something beautiful and romantic. As I chatted at the entrance, the sun came out, and it stayed out. No money to go in, a donation to Essex Wildlife Trust on the way out, and another chat. Lovely daffodils in drifts outside the Haha, and scattered among the trees. Visited the ruins of Miss Willmotts house, just the conservatory remains, and the cellars. Birdsong, moss covered bricky remains of Miss Wilmott’s huge gardening enterprise, with a hundred gardeners!!! She of Miss Willmotts ghost…. a giant Eryngium. There is a very good essay about her on the internet. Looked at the 2 ponds with bird hides, even a boating lake, a rocky torrent. All just faintly left in a riot of only just slightly tamed wildness. They do say a garden is just for the person who cultivates it. Sometimes, like Heligan, the garden is lost and found. This one was lost on her death, and now has faint echoes as nature claims it back. Her beloved bulbs are her greatest memorial, as they flower on over the decades.

This fallen giant on the pathway into the garden represents Warley. It fell in 1987 in the terrible hurricaine. Was left, upended, to get on with it. Now it is a little grove of trees.

This is the mansion that used to be Warley House.

A distant view of City of London, over the daffodils and over the M25, which hums in the distance. The reason why the monks of Barking Abbey owned the site. Why Henry gave it to one of his favourites at dissolution time.

Miss Willmotts memorial to her love for bulbs and narcissi

Where she sat and gazed, in old age, as her once beautiful garden dissolved around her. First world war requisition, debt from trying to run 3 gardens in 3 countries…..reminds me of Miss Havisham. The same story, wealthy, unmarried, dare to be independent in a mans world. Defeated by circumstance, a war , a financial crash, and old age. How she must have enjoyed her salad days!!!!

I wish I could leave something like this for others to enjoy.

These sweet chestnuts are said to be very old. On the edge of the Haha. The green in front of them is a complete carpet of moss

Down at the monks old carp pond a cheeky squirrel defies attempts to stop him feasting off bird food.

Taken from the hide at the carp pond. A long tailed tit, the only way I will get a photo of one.

There was a boat house here once. At the end of a long lake. Further along it is difficult to see there was ever a lake there.

A mossy brick plinth to 15 rows of glass frames, tended by 100 gardeners.

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what a lovely place to visit dorjac,beautifull daffs to. those old trees look a bit spooky dont they, nice pics and love the squirrel to :o))

4 Apr, 2010


They do look spooky those trees. Sanbaz. When spring is sprung they will be all green and the spookiness will be covered up. Unfortunately, unless you are are a member of The Essex Wildlife Trust, the garden is only open from February.....April. The rest of the time it is a wildlife sanctuary open to members only.

4 Apr, 2010


What a wonderful place that must have been in its prime, the house looks very grand. It appears to be covered in creeper/climber now. The Narcissi must be a sight to behold. Loved this blog, thanks.

4 Apr, 2010


Very interesting blog - it sounds a fascinating place to visit and so much to see. Nature is certainly reclaiming its own but I suppose that is the way things go. Lovely photographs and you're right, it certainly has a Miss Haversham feel abnout it. .

4 Apr, 2010


Lovely place! I only visited once when I lived near Brentwood before moving here, but I remember the wonderful swathes of wild daffodills and watching birds and rabbits from one of the hides. Nice blog!

5 Apr, 2010


What an evocative look at times gone by.

5 Apr, 2010


What a beautiful place Doriac. Very sad that it has crumbled but now at least more people can enjoy it and if they have the imagination see it as it may have been. Your photos really give the feel of the place.

21 Apr, 2010


I didn't realise that Miss Wilmott had lead such a busy life, going between three gardens in widespread locations. I thought it was so sad that, in spite of all that effort, Warley Place went into dilapidation. As I worked on debt advice for so many years, after retirement, that was one reason. She could not control her spending urges. The other that she had no family to take over. I read about her on the internet.

21 Apr, 2010

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