Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown

Lancelot "Capability" Brown painted by Nathaniel Dance, c. 1773
Lancelot “Capability” Brown  by Nathaniel Dance, c. 1773

Lancelot Brown      1715/16  – 1783

Lancelot Brown was born in Kirkharle, Northumberland, son of William Brown and Ursula (nee Wayet) and baptised 30 August 1716.

Capability Brown’s relationship with Fenstanton came in later years where he acquired land and title of Lord of the Manor  from the Earl of Northampton.

Much is chronicled about “Capability” Brown and his extensive works elsewhere and useful places to visit are capabilitybrown.org and Wikipedia

There is a degree of controversy as to whether he occupied the Manor House in Fenstanton for very long because he met his untimely death.

In early February 1783, Capability had returned to London from Suffolk to stay with his daughter Bridget and her husband, Henry Holland, in Hertford Street. On the morning of 6th February 1783,  Capability was returning to his daughter’s house after visiting Lord Coventry in Piccadilly. As  he reached the Hollands’ front door he had what was believed to have been a severe heart attack; he fell heavily to the ground, and within a few minutes of being taken into the house he died. [ See obituary ]

It does appear that he and his wife Bridget intended to use the Manor House as their country retreat whilst retaining a presence in the capital.

An interesting account:  The last person alive to see Capability Brown