The Garden History
Mrs Edna Howarth instructed renowned Lakeland garden Designer Thomas H Mawson to design the gardens at Langdale Chase. The 1897 OS Map provides an indication of the layout and landscapes which incorporates the design of Mawson.
Thomas Hayton Mawson was a garden designer, landscape architect and town planner, born in Scorton near Lancaster. First working in the building trade for his father, he then moved to London to work for a nursery where he gained experience in landscape gardening. In the 1880’s he moved back north, marrying wife Anna and settled into their family home in Windermere.
Along with his two brothers, he set up Lakeland Nurseries in Windermere. The successful venture allowed him the opportunity to turn his attention to garden design.
Graythwaite Hall, an estate on the western shore of Windermere, further south than Langdale Chase, was Mawson’s first commission. The gardens at Graythwaites shows his hallmark of using his architectural and horticultural skills to emphasize the strong association between built form and landscape. He went on to design several gardens in the Lake District including; Rydal Hall, Holehird, Brockhole, Holker Hall and Langdale Chase. He also worked internationally, including the gardens for the Peace Palace at The Hague.
Mawson at Langdale Chase
In her book Thomas Mawson: Life, Gardens and Landscapes, Janet Waymark writes how the gardens at Langdale Chase were ‘aimed at producing status and amenity, rather than floral display’. She continues to explain how ‘the oaks which lines the carriage drive in the front were preserved, giving dignity to the house. At the back, a steep drop to the lake was smoothed into a gentler slope which was planted with rhododendrons and azaleas for spring colour. Steps were made leading down to the paths through shrubs, roses and a water garden where Edna Howarth, her daughter Lily and their guests could enjoy flowers of summer. Visitors could delight in the views of the Langdales and watch the yachts on the water while strolling along the newly made gravel paths round the lake. There was tennis and croquet on the lawn below Mawsons balustrade terrace.’
Waymark goes on to mention that ‘during Edna Howarth’s ownership, Langdale Chase, with its grounds well suited to entertaining, became a social centre, hosting garden parties and a fashionable annual Chrysanthemum Tea’.
Mawson’s influence is still visible today, the prominent terrace and Mawson steps that lead guests down to the lawn, along with the bridge crossing the stream. Our garden plans are therefore sympathetic to the work of Thomas Mawson.