Burg Altena, Germany
Carew Manor and Dovecote
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The remains of the Beddington Orangery wall
A view of the north face of the remaining wall.

This fine piece of decorative brickwork can be seen on the lawn to the east of the house. The north side, which can be seen from the house, is divided into 9 sections by pilasters. These, and the door at the east end of the wall, have been beautifully made: the bricks have been fitted together as closely as possible and have then been carved or rubbed smooth. At the beginning of this century the door opened into a lean to which was built against the south side of the wall. This was an adaptation of an earlier arrangement. In 1874 the Orphanage Committee had "directed that the roof of the Orangery should be converted ... so as to form a lean to" and in 1877 "Mr Curray's plan for altering the shed (the old orange house) and adding thereto to provide stabling for one horse and for drying and storing earth for closets etc was approved." The remains of the lean to and the fireplace and chimney can still be seen on the south side of the wall. It is often said that the first oranges in England were grown at Beddington during the reign of Elizabeth I. This is certainly untrue, as there are occasional references to plants in England in the Middle Ages. However, Francis Carew, who owned the house in the Elizabethan period, may well have been the first person to grow them on a large scale, and his orange house may have been the first structure of this type in England. The first known reference to it is on the 10 January 1608, when a man called Sadler was paid to sweep snow off it. Francis was then in his 70s, and it is unlikely that the orangery was new: he may well have bought the trees when he was in Paris in 1561 and 1562, when he acquired trees for himself, and also helped to buy plants for Elizabeth's minister William Cecil. There are a number of scattered references to the orangery in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries which give us some idea of what it looked like. In 1700 Evelyn said that "the oranges were planted in the open ground & secured in winter onely by a Tabernacle of boards, & stoves , removable in summer...". In 1691 an otherwise unknown J Gibson reported that the house was above two hundred feet long and that most of the trees were 13 feet high. In 1652 a carpenter was paid 60 for a new orange house probably really an extension of the existing one and there were also payments for mending and enlarging the iron stoves which were used for winter heating. The original orangery was therefore a wooden structure, and there is no mention of either brickwork or a wall. The first Baronet built a brick wall around the original trees and the existing Orangery wall is the northern side of this. There was a temporary wooden roof which covered the trees in the winter. The oranges are said to have died in the winter of 1739-40 and the southern wall of the orange house had been demolished by 1820 leaving only the existing wall.





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