Thames Tributary River Mole - Painshill South
The Mole continues to flow north west and forms the southern boundary of Painshill Park Painshill
The square covers some of the southern area of Painshill Park
Post to the west Chatley
Post to the north Painshill
Post to the south Hatchford Park
Post to the east Cobham
Painshill ParkThe park was designed and implemented by Charles Hamilton 1704-1780, fourth son of the Duke of Abercorn, and probably financed by borrowing from Walpole. It was laid out on what was barren heathland. Hamilton made it a pleasure garden as a series of three dimensional pictures altered by surprises and illusions - a garden of the mood as you moved on. In many of the 1953 follies were being destroyed by a timber company. The park has since been opened and restored by a Trust. Some of the earliest rhodedendrons in this country are here and one of the largest cedars of Lebanon in Europe.
The Lake. This is an artificial lake built above the level of the river Mole and originally fed from the Mole through an elaborate network of locks and adits. Dug to resemble Alpine scenery and designed so that it could not all be seen at once- It changes shape and size with every vista. There are a number of decorative bridges, going to an island with bracken, and a jagged tufa arch. The grotto occupies two islands and there is an arbour, an arch and other pieces of stone
The island is cut in two by the water with the bridge on the old part of the lake. The lake is now self sustaining through rainfall.
The Grotto is built across two islands in the lake to look like a rocky outcrop. It was vandalised by soldiers during and after the Second World War and later lead was stolen from the roof leaving it to collapse. It is thought that the Grotto was designed by Hamilton and built by Joseph Lane. The water around the grotto was pumped from the lake in the 18th century by an Archimedes screw which would have been turned by hand. It first entered a tank from which it cascaded into the two alcove pools. It then flows into the rocky pools on the floor and is then returned to the lake. The grotto walls are made of brick from Hamilton’s own brickworks and faced with limestone held in place with metal rods. The illusion of a crystal grotto is done with plaster stalactites covered with crystals of gypsum, calcite, quartz and fluorite. The lower walls are covered in clinker stone to represent stalagmites. In the 18th the floor would have been covered with fine, sand and shells.
Chinese Bridge – rescued from dereliction and rebuilt
Vineyard. Created by Charles Hamilton on the south facing slope and replanted in the late 20th it now produces white, rose and sparkling wine which is sold locally.
Woollett Bridge. William Woollett produced contemporary drawings and paintings of the park, an elaborate haphazard tufa bridge.
Cascade, restored in 1987. Designed to be hidden by the curving design of the lake the water flows in 5 or 6 streams over mossy rocks and boulders and oak trunks.
Chinese Peninsula. A zigzag path opens out to lawns and borders. The larger lawn is planted in the mid-18th style with serpentine border edges and those shrubs from around the world which would have been available to Hamilton. The stud flower bed in the lawn, has Europe and North America plants with a central specimen tree
Ruined Abbey. The abbey was the last of the follies to be created, to conceal the remains of Charles Hamilton’s brick and tile works which partly financed the whole project., when the park was put up for sale in 1772. Surprisingly large, it was built as the focal point of the gardens. In 1953 it was 'almost invisible' in the trees. It is two stories high with three sides to each half of hexagonal Gothick towers with pinnacles at the corners. The towers are joined by a curetain wall with arches. It is in brick and originally covered in Roman cement -and rooms inside the towers.
Mausoleum. A replica of a Roman triumphal arch meant to remind one of the transience of material things. Built as a ruin, its surroundings were supposed to give a mood of 'melancholy'. On each side of the arch is a door going to room lined with niches