EPSPDE 497 EYWOOD GARDENS SURVIVE THE DEMOLITION
EYWOOD GARDN GREENHOUSE CIRCA 1965…SURPRISINGLY INTACT
What remained of Eywood after the demolition? Over many visits to Eywood I was able to
capture many pictures of the Estate as it still stands to this day. While the grand mansion was
demolished and its’ carcase remains as a downer to anyone visiting Eywood….while this is true,
so much of the Estate remains intact which is remarkable and likely not true for the hundreds of
similar Country Estate mansions demolished ine 20th century.
I have no pictures of the mansion interior except for the picture below which gives a clear
indication of the fine living conditions of Lord and Lady Oxford and subsequent owners of
Just for fun see how many things you would want in your house and make an imaginary bid.
On one of our visits to Eywood, Cyril Griffiths took us to a nearby farm owned by the Edwards
who were loosely connected to our family. Inside their home were very grand pieces of furniture
bought at auction from Eywood. Particularly I remember a huge dining room table that would
take four people to lift and sideboard cupboard to match. Memory could be wrong though.
“What am i bid for these fireplace ANDIRONS?”
“What am I bid for this FINE ANTLERED DEER HEAD?”
“What am i bid for this SIDE BOARD CUPBOURD AND CONTENTS OF FINE CHINA?”
“What am I bid for these PERIOD SIDE CHAIRS?”
“What am I bid for THE STAIR RAILINGS?
“What am I bid for these TWO DECORATIVE URNS?
“What am I bid for THE FINE CARVED FIREPLACE MANTLE?
“What am I bid for the HARDWOOD FLOOR BOARDS?
THE EYWOOD GARDENS
SURVIVING BUILDINGS STILL PRESENT ON THE EYWOOD ESTATE, THIS
EPISODE WILL FEATURE THE EYWOOD GARDENS WHICH ARE INTACT
TO THIS DAY.
It should come as no surprise to readers that our family were more interested
in the Eywood gardens that the ruin of the mansion. These gardens were
where granddad and his ten gardeners provided fresh food for the estate owners…
counted the two horses as gardeners also.
Granddad Edward Freeman could build anything. Trained initially as a carpenter
he decided to change careers and became a landscape gardener. He admired
and emulated Capability Brown who designed much of the landscapes associated
with grand Country Estates like Eywood Court.
Granddad was a smart man. He built his own ‘pin hole camera’ and used it
to capture himself along with his 8 gardeners the youngest of which may
well be the future owner of the gardens.
The men are holding the tools of their trade and even included the garden work
horses. Mom always said that granddad grew a beard to make himself look
older as you can see in his picture below (full suit with watch chain and fob)
Another striking feature of this picture if how nicely dressed are the gardeners.
There is something intangible in the picture….pride.
As head gardener granddad received this house which is described as the gardeners ‘cottage. Really quite a grand home.
Mom, (Elsie Freeman) was born here in 1901. The earlier pin hole photo seems to have been taken beside the cottage which was
surrounded by the high brick walls in the Victorian tradition of estate gardens. Note my wife Marjorie at right bottom.
Large hand painted photograph of mom, Elsie Freeman, taken at Eywood using Granddad’s may have been taken with
pin hole camera. Curly haired doll matches her curly hair. Horse included.
More about this photo at the end of this Episode.
Head Gardener Edward Freeman at Eywood around 1900 . he seems to be laying out
an ornamental hedge characteristuc of formal plantings beyond the brick walled garden proper.
There were many surprises for us at Eywood. Perhaps the biggest and most beautiful were the large rhotodendron plantings which Percy Mills
attributed to granddad. These flowering shrubs are located so they could be seen from the estate mansion. The small lake at Eywood is now
surrounded by these. It was easy to believe granddad had started them but that may or may not be true.
THIS photo of Eywood Court was professionally done I assume. Guessing 1920’s. Note the plantings. Today the ornamental
pool is gone but the small lake remains a little distant from the house. The lake is hidden by masses of rhododendrons .
Grandad’s pin hole photo of Eywood is almost as good as this picture…taken from same angle. So close is the photo
to the professional that I noticed Granddad’s has been used often over the century.
The footpath and cart path from Eywood Court (mansion) to the Eyward Gardens (circa 1965)….path not used much in 1965 but in 1900
this path would have been used often by Edward Freeman and his gardeners. And also by many of the household staff who were
good friends with Edward and Louisa Freeman. So much so that their daughter Elsie Freeman had the Eywood cook, Mrs. Sears, as her
There is no longer a team of 8 gardeners to tend Eywood but Percy made a valiant effort to keep the flower garden in continuous bloom.
Garden home of Mom and family is top left. It is possible to see the formal nature of this part of the gardens with paths leading to a formal
stone decorative piece as centre point. In 1900 these flower plantings would have been weeded constantly and the pathways may well have
been brick lined.
North wall of Eywood gardens with Head gardener;s cottage and greenhouse for nectarines and peaches.
MY brother Eric admiring the nectarine trees planted by granddad around 1900 and still providing fruit in 1965….with
a wooden tag saying “E. Freeman”/
Percy took Eric, Marjorie and I into this glassed greenhouse built so it would have southern exposure and therefore losts
of sunshine. Peaches and nectarines were still grown here on our 1965 visit.
“Look at this boys!” Percy touched a little stick of flat wood.
“What is written here, boys?”
“Says kind of nectarines I guess.”
“Says more than the boys.”
“Your grandfathers name. He built this espaliered home for these nectarines which
normally cannot live in Herefordshire”
And sure enough his name was there.
Not all the greenhouses were in perfect condition as is obvious above. Just to provide the hundreds of glass panes would bankrupt
a banker. This ruin, however, made us feel we were stepping deep into the past. And the rhotodendron softens the shards of broken glass.
A century of greenhouse moisture made this greenhouse untenable except for wild plants. But it has its own mystique.
I would like to close this presentation of Eywood gardens and our grandfather Edward Freeman
with this photo of his daughter Else (Freeman) Skeoch. Not just the photo however.
But look at the frame. Granddad carved this frame from a piece of oak by first making a pattern
using brown paper and then working on the fine decorative touches as he sat beside the
wood stove in his Canadian farm hose on the Fifth Line, Erin Township, Wellington County, Ontario,
Canada. This is the largest he carved but there were such carved frames containing photographic
images of many of his dear friends ‘in service’ at Eywood circa 1900.
Dec. 30, 2021
FREEMAN FAMILY OF LYONSHALL, HEREFORDSHIRE
This picture may be backwards. Unsure which is Edward Freeman. pic circa 1890 (guess)