Northumberland First World War garden to open under National Gardens Scheme

Falloden Hall will open its gardens to the public during the last weekend of June to mark the anniversary of the First World War

Falloden Hall, near Alnwick
Falloden Hall, near Alnwick

A century ago it is likely that a particular Northumberland landowner spent time lost in thought in his garden.

The garden was at Fallodon and the man was Edward Grey, who as Foreign Secretary from 1905-16 was in the thick of things as events snowballed into what would become the First World War.

He famously said on the eve of war: “The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”

Edward Grey’s ashes are buried in the woods at Fallodon beneath the trees which he planted together with his first wife Dorothy Widdrington, from Newton-on-the-Moor.

On June 28 the gardens near Christon Bank will be open to the public from 2pm-5pm under the National Gardens Scheme, which has raised millions of pounds for such causes as Marie Curie Nurses and Macmillian. Money raised from the teas will go to the local Embleton church.  

Fallodon was one of the original domestic gardens to open to the public to raise money for nurses in 1927.

June 28 marks the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria Hungary, which triggered the first World War and this year Fallodon will exhibit a collection of photographs, pictures, objects and letters related to Edward Grey, which will be on show during the opening hours at the weekend.

There will also be an Edward Grey trail around the garden with photographs.

The next day, June 29, the gardens will open, again from 2pm-5pm, for the Red Cross.

Fallodon has opened for nearly 40 years for the Red Cross on the last Sunday in June.  

Records show that in 1976 the sum of £18 was raised. Last year the figure was more than £2,000.

Money raised from teas on the Sunday will go to the HospiceCare, North Northumberland, based in Alnwick. There will be home made teas in the stable yard, and plants for sale. Sociable dogs, on leads, are welcome, and there is limited wheelchair access.

Entrance is £4 with children free.

A private garden, which is not usually open, it encompasses a very old kitchen plot which now has borders of cutting flowers, vegetables and fruit, a bog garden, a herbaceous sunk garden recently re-planted by designer Natasha McEwen, a 30m flower and shrub border, millennium arboretum, a cold fruit greenhouse and a hot greenhouse, plus some specimen trees.

Fallodon was a Grey family house from 1755, and is where Charles Grey, Prime Minister from 1830-1834, whose statue is on the top of his Monument in Newcastle, was born and bought up.

He inherited Howick in Northumberland from a bachelor uncle.

The Bridgeman family bought Fallodon from Edward Grey’s nephew in 1946, and four generations have lived there.

Peter Bridgeman, who died last year aged 80, planted many trees including metasequoia glyptostroboides, which was re-discovered in China in 1948, having only been known from fossils and thought to have been extinct.

His brother, John Bridgeman, has left his mark on Fallodon also.

He completed a six-month long project constructing a slate urn sculpture, near the sunk garden at the front of the house. This sculpture is composed of 850 hand-cut local slates.

The Northumberland Tea Company is donating its tea again this year.  

Robin Young is now the gardener at Fallodon, who trained under Jim Stewart who worked in the gardens from the age of 14 until he was 74.

Fallodon is two miles along the B6347 off the A1, 5 miles north of Alnwick.

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