Historic Research

The Temple, Abington, Cambridgeshire

FOR cambridge international school

Comprehensive investigation to source historic information relating to a landscape designed by Humphry Repton in circa 1803, including the Red Book he quite possibly produced for the scheme, but which is now lost.

What we did

  • Researched primary and secondary source evidence to locate relevant historic manuscripts, as well as the Red Book for Abington in Cambridgeshire – if, indeed, it was ever produced for Repton’s client, John Mortlock, banker, who bought the estate in the late 18th century – to determine the extent of residual features, and their significance in relation to proposed development


  • What was formerly the North Lodge to Abington Hall dating to the early 19th century, and now Grade II listed, might indeed suggest the hand of Repton in his secondary role as architect, characterised by the Picturesque, and in a style associated with the landscape gardener, amalgamating the rustic and the classical

  • Secondary sources, including several academic biographies on the landscape gardener, concur that, although Repton referred to the estate in his notes, it is now commonly acknowledged that no copy is known – or has yet been found: Repton’s Red Books demonstrated his proposals via ‘before and after’ watercolour illustrations

  • The catalogue holdings of archives and libraries including those administered by the RIBA at the V&A, the Royal Horticultural Society, the Cambridgeshire Gardens Trust, and Barclays Bank were researched.



  • The project is ongoing


  • There may be further scope for archival research in Mortlock’s business and family papers, as well as manuscripts associated with John, Earl of Chatham, who resided as one of a succession of Mortlock’s many tenants at Abington in the early 19th century.




The Temple Abington 2 The Temple Abington 3
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