Today, Angelyn Schmid shares with us her research into that fiendishly clever barrier which was often found within the grounds of English country estates, the ha-ha. By use of a ha-ha, the view from the manor house would be over an unbroken rolling green sward, but any cattle, sheep, or other animals which were grazing on the other side of the ha-ha would be unable to approach any nearer the house. Angelyn’s article will give you other important details with regard to a ha-ha, should you wish to incorporate one into an upcoming story.
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Diana’s country estate of Northam Park has a ha-ha. Somewhat like the dower house at Lavenham Court, in Georgette Heyer’s marvelous Talisman Ring:
It was a sixteenth-century house of respectable size, approached by a short carriage-sweep. Its gardens, which were separated from the Park by a kind of ha-ha, were laid out with great propriety of taste, and some very fine-clipped yews, flanking the oaken front door, at once met with Miss Thane’s approbation.
I mentioned this landscape feature in an earlier post because it figures largely in the book preceding Diana’s story entitled Notorious Vow. You cannot jump one in a side-saddle. Trust me on this. If you have, please comment and share your experience.
In Diana’s story, this barrier that separates the immediate grounds of the mansion from the outlying agricultural fields is not immediately apparent from the house. The architect of the estate’s landscape features tried to incorporate the beauty that is Leicestershire into a working farm so that its master, the earl of Northam, could enjoy the glory of his property without being reminded that it was the rents collected from labor and cultivation that made it all possible.
© 2011 – 2014 Angelyn Schmid
Originally posted at Angelyn’s Blog
Posted at The Beau Monde by permission of the author.