Use Places & People to search over 6,600 parks and gardens in the UK and 2,100 biographies of people associated with them. Image location: Bedgebury National Pinetum

Learn about the rich heritage of parks and gardens in Topics.
Image location: Powis Castle

Follow News & Events, updated regularly with the latest information affecting historic parks and gardens. Image location: Sheffield Botanical Gardens

Visit the Schools for ideas and activities to encourage the interest of children and young people in their local parks. Image location: Trentham

Join us as a volunteer and Research & Record historic parks and gardens in your area.
Image location: Cirencester Abbey

View the Illustrated Glossary which provides definitions and accompanying images for terms and concepts associated with historic parks and gardens. Image location: Pannett Park

Lancelot Brown - Summary


Brown 'Capability'

Date of Birth: 1716

Date of Death: 06/02/1783

Gender: male

Nationality: English

Occupation: Designer


Lancelot 'Capability' Brown was an English gardener, landscape designer and architect active in the 18th century. He was born in 1716 at Kirkharle in Northumberland, England. He was educated at the school in the nearby village of Cambo and later worked for Sir William Loraine in Kirkharle. Brown was employed by Lord Cobham at Stowe in 1741. He took responsibility for both landscaping and architectural works, establishing himself as an independent designer and contractor. Several large commissions followed (more than 40 between 1750 and 1760), and his reputation earned him an average of £8,000 per year. He gained an appointment as master gardener at Hampton Court and Richmond in 1764, and through the 1760s he undertook more than 65 commissions. He worked at Blenheim from 1764, and this is generally thought of as his masterpiece.

Brown died suddenly on 6 February 1783. He was buried at Fenstanton in Huntingdonshire, England where he had owned a small estate purchased in 1767.


Brimacombe, P. Capability Brown: the master gardener (Stroud: Pitkin Guides, 2001) 

Brown, Jane The Omnipotent Magician: Lancelot 'Capability' Brown, 1716-1783 (London: Chatto and Windus, 2011) 

Clifford, Joan  Capability Brown: an illustrated life of Lancelot Brown 1716-1783 (Aylesbury: Shire Publications, 1975)

Colvin, Howard, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects: 1600-1840, 3rd edition (London and New Haven: Yale University Press), pp. 165-167.

Fryer, H. (Ed.) Lancelot (Capability) Brown: Warwickshire commissions (Warwickshire Gardens Trust, 1994) 

Gibson, Michael 'Capability' Brown in Staffordshire (Stafford: Staffordshire County Library, 1981) 

Hadfield, Miles et. al., British Gardeners: A Biographical Dictionary (London: A. Zwemmer, 1980), pp. 47-51.

Hinde, Thomas  Capability Brown: the story of a master gardener (London: Hutchinson, 1986)

Hyams, E. Capability Brown and Humphry Repton (London: JM Dent, 1971) 

Kent Gardens Trust Capability Brown in Kent (Kent Gardens Trust, 2016) 

Mayer, Laura Capability Brown and the English Landscape Garden (London: Shire Publications, 2011) 

Parks and Gardens UK Capability Brown Selected Resources (accessed 08/10/2015)

Phibbs, J A list of landscapes that have been attributed to Lancelot ‘Capability' Brown (Garden History 41: 2, 2013) pages 244-277

Ransomes Film Unit Capability Brown (film from 1964) 

Stroud, Dorothy Capability Brown (Country Life, 1950)

Turner, Roger  Capability Brown and the Eighteenth-century English Landscape (Chichester: Phillimore, 1999)

Tyne and Wear County Council Museums and Landscape Institute Capability Brown and the Northern Landscape (Newcastle: The County Council Museums, 1983) 

Willis, Peter 'Capability Brown's Account with Drummonds Bank, 1753-1783' (Architectural History: Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain 27, 1984), 382-91

Woodhouse, A. Capability Brown of Kirkharle (2000)

The list below relates to sites where work to Brown's design was actually carried out. It does not include places where Brown was commissioned to produce a plan but the commission was not executed. Nor does it include places where a more informal consultation with Brown took place.  

This person is associated with the following sites: