Weekend of events for 300th birthday

Jon Monks walk - Kirkharle.
Jon Monks walk - Kirkharle.

A weekend of celebrations is taking place to mark a very special anniversary for one of Northumberland’s most famous sons.

The bank holiday weekend will see a host of events taking place to mark the 300th birthday of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, who was born at Kirkharle.

Burton Constable and Capability Brown

Capability Brown

Burton Constable and Capability Brown Capability Brown

Brown was probably England’s greatest landscape designer and changed the face of 18th century England, designing country estates and mansions, moving hills and making flowing lakes and serpentine rivers, a magical world of green.

Brown himself walked to school from Kirkharle to Cambo every day, a distance of five miles, and the landscape, through which he walked, stimulated his imagination. He began his gardening career under Sir William Loraine at Kirkharle, but his dreams of limitless landscapes in ‘an image of heaven’ had to wait until he moved south some 23 years later, establishing his considerable reputation and making his fortune.

He was baptised at St Wilfrid’s Church in Kirkharle on August 30, 1716.

And it is there, and in Kirkharle itself, where celebrations will begin this weekend to bring to a climax events that have been going on throughout the year, and across the country, to mark the anniversary.

Alexander Armstrong

Alexander Armstrong

Throughout the weekend there will be a festival of 18th century flowers at St Wilfrid’s, with entry by donation.

On Friday night there will be an evening concert with television presenter and entertainer, Rothbury-born Alexander Armstrong, another Northumbrian who has carved an illustrious career for himself, who will pay tribute to Brown. This event, however, has already sold out.

On Saturday another well-known North East historian and broadcaster will give an entertaining talk and presentation.

John Grundy will talk about Brown, his Kirkharle life and the extent of his influence on English landscapes. It will be held in the marquee, in the Barn at 7pm. Limited tickets are available – £20 each. To book, email dvdprsgeorge@aol.com or call Kirkharle Coffee House on 01830 540362.

The Duke of Northumberland with the commemorative stamp featuring Alnwick Castle.

The Duke of Northumberland with the commemorative stamp featuring Alnwick Castle.

On Sunday, at 11am, a service of Holy Communion and thanksgiving for the life and works of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown will take place in St Wilfrid’s Church, conducted by The Rt Revd Christine Hardman Bishop of the Newcastle Diocese.

And on Monday there will be yet more celebrations with a traditional church fete.

Running from 2pm to 5pm it will include displays of traditional crafts, games and pony carriage rides. Time Bandit, Mr Brown himself, will be available to guide visitors round the courtyard. Entry is £5 per car.

Events to continue the celebrations will take place for the rest of the year at Kirkharle.

For more information, events and timings, visit the website at kirkharlecourtyard.co.uk/capability-brown/2016-celebrations/