Capel Manor

This article by Stephen Gilburt was first published by The Enfield Society in newsletter 185, Spring 2012.

Capel Manor has been a horticultural college since 1968 and now has 30 acres of themed gardens, a National Gardening Centre, an Animal Corner, Victorian stables, a shop and a restaurant. The gardens may be visited on payment of an admission charge, from March to October daily from 10 am to 5.30 pm (last tickets being sold at 4 pm) and from November to February on weekdays only from 10 am to 5 pm (last tickets being sold at 3.30 pm). Parts of the Grade II listed 18th century house may be open to the public when special events are being held.

There is a car park for visitors and Capel Manor may also be reached by buses 217 and 317 along the A10 to the junction with Bullsmoor Lane, 10 minutes walk away. For more information telephone 08456 122122 or visit online at (for the college) or (for the gardens).

Illustration 1. South front of Capel House, which was built about 1750 for Mr A. Hamilton. Bullsmoor Lane was diverted away from the house some time between 1754 and 1803.
Illustration 2. The south front porch, with Corinthian columns.
Illustration 3. Capel House in 1804, when it was owned by Rowson Hart Boddam. He had been employed by the East India Company for 37 years, becoming Governor of Bombay in 1784.
Picture courtesy of Enfield Local Studies and Archive.
Illustration 4. In 1840 Capel House was bought by James Warren, who had a tea plantation in Assam, India. The house was subsequently owned by his nephew, also James Warren, from 1869 to 1904. He was a member of the local Board of Health from 1879 and of Enfield Urban District council from 1894. He was involved with Jesus Church, Forty Hill, and was instrumental in the erection of St. George’s Church, Freezywater.
Picture courtesy of Enfield Local Studies and Archive.
Illustration 5. About 1911 James and John Warren, great nephews of the first James Warren, made Capel House their home and remodelled the ground floor rooms in the late 17th century Restoration style, with oak panelling and carving and inlaid floors.
Illustration 6. The last private owner was Col. Sydney Metcalfe, who purchased Capel House in 1932. He established a stud farm and by the time of his death in 1958 had 23 horses. Craigie Warren, one of his prize-winning Clydesdale carthorses, is shown on the 1954 weather vane above the 19th century stables.
Illustration 7. The stables still have their original cast iron fittings, the work of St. Pancras Iron Works.
Illustration 8. The Japanese Stroll Garden combines three styles, a Paradise Garden of water, islands, trees and rocks; a Zen Buddhist Dry Garden of gravel and rock; and a Tea Garden with a thatched gate, waiting bench, water, basin and tea house.
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