Since the early Middle Ages, Kimberley has been in occupation as a manorial site and deer park. Despite the county’s topographically challenged nature, the ‘hill’ at Downham upon which the present house stands, overlooking the river Tiffey, was originally the site of Downham Hall. It is recorded that this was sold by Richard Buxton in 1640 and that the present house was built in 1712 for Sir John Wodehouse (an ancestor of PG Wodehouse) by William Talman.
This famous architect was Comptroller of the Royal Works for William III and was responsible for the remodelling of Chatsworth in Derbyshire and Uppark in Sussex, amongst other great houses. Whilst Talman’s original design for Kimberley included a central block with four corner towers and wings, the towers were not added until after 1754 by the architect Thomas Prowse (the wings were only later connected to the main block by curved colonnades designed by Salvin in 1835).
The substantial park, with its picturesque lake and walled gardens, was laid out in 1762 by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, and has been described as the finest by this landscaper in Norfolk. The extensive woodland is home to some magnificent oak trees, including one that dates back to 1373 (Veteran Tree Association). At one time, the park was reputed to contain the largest ash tree in England.
Blacka Acoustics were invited down to provide sound and lighting for a private birthday party. As per usual the night was a tremendous success. It's a tough life....