Keys to the Past

Hardwick Park, Sedgefield (Hardwick Park, Sedgefield; Sedgefield)

Engraving of Hardwick Park c.1787 by John Bailey
Engraving of Hardwick Park c.1787 by John Bailey

Hardwick Park. c.1856.
Hardwick Park. c.1856.

The former Lake bed looking towards Hardwick Hall. October 2001
The former Lake bed looking towards Hardwick Hall. October 2001

The former Lake bed looking towards the dam. 2001
The former Lake bed looking towards the dam. 2001

Sedgefield, Hardwick Park © DCC 2007
Sedgefield, Hardwick Park © DCC 2007

Hardwick Park and Garden is a splendid example of a mid 18th century planned landscape close to the village of Sedgefield in the south-east of County Durham. The Garden was created by John Burdon, the son of a Newcastle merchant and business man in his own right with interests in saltpans on the Tyne and coal mines in East Durham. Around 1750 he began to lay out some 40 acres of fashionable gardens composed of temples, follies and grottoes all set around the central feature of a 17 acre lake. Burdon employed some of the finest architects of his day and the principal buildings and park layout are attributed to the London architect James Paine.

Buildings arranged around the lake represented both gothic and classical forms of architecture and were in the order to be visited on a walk around the lake as follows. The Gothic Seat, The Bath-house, The Bono-Retiro and lake cascade, The Temple of Minerva, The Serpentine Bridge, The Statue of Neptune, The Gothic Ruin and finally the Banqueting House.

Over the following 200 years, the Garden and attached 19th century Parkland has been in a steady decline. By 1900 the lake had been drained and the last half of the 20th century saw the collapse and in some cases demolition of several of the fine buildings. Despite this, the structure of the Garden has remained intact and unaltered by later fashions in landscape design. Hardwick today is something of a sleeping beauty and a national treasure, as the only known garden almost exclusively designed by James Paine, and as an unaltered example of 18th century fashion and practice.

Restoration of the Park was begun in 2001 by Durham County Council with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Reference number:D2526
Historical period: Georgian (1714 to 1830)
Victorian (1837 to 1901)
21st Century (2001 to 2100)
Legal status:Registered Park or Garden of Historic Interest
  • National Heritage List for England Entry Number: 1000730



See also:
Source of Reference
Local History of Sedgefield


Disclaimer -

Please note that this information has been compiled from a number of different sources. Durham County Council and Northumberland County Council can accept no responsibility for any inaccuracy contained therein. If you wish to use/copy any of the images, please ensure that you read the Copyright information provided.