An Estate Agent’s Quandry

The last time I moved house I quickly learnt the shorthand needed to translate estate agents’ sale particulars and manage my expectations. Some features were invariably downplayed whilst others, including the prospective new garden, were exaggerated and so I learnt that ‘glorious views’ promised little more than a glimpse of the countryside from a bedroom window. However, in 1928 when local estate agents were asked to find a tenant for Lincoln Hill House, just to the south-west of Ross-on-Wye, they adopted the opposite strategy.  Happy to describe the typical Regency villa garden as ‘well timbered and in splendid order’ with ‘Lawn for Tennis and Croquet, very fine walled-in kitchen garden, herbaceous borders, flower beds’  they must have feared that potential tenants would be discouraged if they went into more detail. This surely must explain why a one hundred feet long stone ramp disguised as a curtain wall decorated with blind arrow slits leading to a lookout tower was described as a ‘long avenue walk terminating in brick built tower house, from which good views are obtained over the surrounding country.’  I usually shy away from the term garden folly, but on this occasion nothing else will do for a garden feature that is said to have been constructed for an invalid Admiral who wanted a viewing platform with disabled access from which he could watch river traffic on the Wye and provide employment for veterans of the Crimean War.

 Jane Bradney


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