Improving their estate

DR18_8_7_12 Adlestrop c1810

Repton’s watercolour sketch of a bath house in the flower garden at Adlestrop Park. (by kind permission of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust)

The Leighs of Adlestrop, James Leigh who lived at Adlestrop Park and his brother the Reverend Thomas Leigh with whom Jane always stayed during her visits were energetic  ‘Improvers’ of their houses and their land.  James Leigh employed the architect, Sanderson Miller, to rebuild his mansion resulting in its splendid gothick frontage.  He also enclosed the common lands in Adlestrop and his son was then able to landscape his parkland with the help of his uncle and Humphry Repton.

Then and Now

Adlestrop is a village that sums up the continuity of rural life and patterns.  In the twenty-first century the village is still largely owned by the current Lord Leigh who lives and farms there.  Although many householders have bought the freeholds to their properties much is still owned by a charitable trust whose sole beneficiary is the Leigh family.  Many of the houses that Jane would have seen still remain in the village and its footpaths, walks and countryside remain unspoilt.