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Peter D. A. Boyd

The Darwin Garden Research Project

-The Sale of The Mount in 1866

Peter D. A. Boyd

Web version of

BOYD, P.D.A. 2000(b). Darwin Garden Project Part 2 Shropshire Parks and Gardens Trust Newsletter

An article in the Shropshire Parks and Gardens Trust Newsletter No. 3 Spring 1999 provided an introduction to the project (web version).

This article provides details of the sale of the Mount after the death of the last member of the Darwin family to live there.

Dr Robert Darwin (1766-1848) built The Mount at Frankwell, Shrewsbury in about 1800. He and his wife Susannah (1765-1817) had 6 children:-

Marianne 1798-1858

Caroline Sarah 1800-1888

Susan Elizabeth 1803-1866

Erasmus Alvey 1804-1881

Charles Robert 1809-1882

Emily Catherine 1810-1866.

The naturalist Charles Darwin is the most famous of these. Erasmus Darwin 1731-1802 (of Lichfield and Derby) was his grandfather. Susan Darwin never married and lived at the Mount until her death in October 1866.

A 6-day dispersal sale of the contents of The Mount and garden took place in November 1866. The catalogue (a copy of which is held in the Shropshire Records and Research Centre in Shrewsbury) was 65 pages long. The summary on the cover of the catalogue describes

"Important sale of household furniture, hair and wool mattresses, feather beds, bed and table linen, elegant cut glass, sets of rich china dinner, dessert, tea and coffee services, cutlery, massive plated articles, 1120 ounces of silver plate, library of valuable books, turkey, brussels and scotch carpets, window drapery, antique china, pianoforte, valuable plants, forcing frames, carriages, harness, rick of hay, pigs and other effects".

The sale included:-

Plants and Pots

10 Nine large Orange trees in lots [pots]

11 Quantity of Azaleas in lots [pots]

12 Quantity of Camellias in lots [pots]

13 Quantity of Roses

14 Quantity of Ferns and other stove plants in lots [pots]

15 Quantity of Chrysanthemums in lots [pots]

16 Quantity of Primulas in lots [pots]

17 Quantity of Cinerarias in lots [pots]

18 Quantity of Fuchsias

19 Quantity of Lilium Lancifolium of various sorts

20 Twelve Gloxinias

21 Two large Rhododendrons

22 Quantity of various green house plants in lots [pots]


23 Large quantity of pots in lots

24 Twelve seakale pots in lots

25 Shank's patent mowing machine

26 Garden water engine

27 Grass barrow

28 Wheel barrow

29 Wheel barrow

30 Two riddles and sieve

31 Three brushes and mop

32 Daisy rake

33 Manure tub

34 Scythe, &c.

35 Scythe

36 Scythe

37 Heel rake

38 Four hay rakes

39 Seven pikels

40 Two spades

41 Two spades

42 Quantity of garden tools in lots

43 Fumigating bellows

44 Six mole traps

45 Quantity of perforated zinc

46 Axe, 2 saws, and sundry tools

47 Wire flower trainer

48 Set of 9 tier steps

49 Set of 6 tier steps

50 Eighteen round [? rung] ladder

51 Twenty rung ladder

52 Twenty-six rung ladder

53 Set of 10 tier steps

54 Grindstone and frame

55 Quantity of flower trainers in lots

56 Lot of fire wood

57 Pair of plaister [plaster] vases on pedastals [pedestals]

58 One light forcing frame

59 Six feet ten inch wood garden seat, with back and elbows

60 Five feet six garden seat

61 Six feet six garden seat

62 Five feet 10in. painted garden seat

63 Iron garden roll

64 Stone garden roll

65 One light forcing frame

66 Four light forcing frame

67 Three light forcing frame

68 Four hand glasses

69 Two water pans

70 Two water pans

71 Two water pans

72 Seventy-six feet of 4 inch iron piping

73 Five feet 7in. iron garden seat

74 Six feet iron garden seat with wood seat and back

75 Two wicker garden chairs

76 Four Windsor garden chairs

The insertions in square brackets [ ] are my interpretation of what I take to be misprints - the catalogue contains a multitude of misprints. Although the auction for The Mount itself was advertised to be sold on 30th November 1866 it does not seem to have been sold then and was advertised for auction again on 15th August 1867.

The particulars and a plan of the property have survived and are preserved in the Shropshire Records and Research Centre.

Particulars and Plan of a very valuable freehold Mansion House and Grounds, gardener's house, building sites and land to be sold by auction by Mr William Hall at the George Hotel, Shrewsbury on Thursday, August 15th 1867 at Four o'clock in the afternoon Messrs. Salt and Sons, Solicitors, Shrewsbury


Lot 1 MANSION HOUSE, called "THE MOUNT", Shrewsbury, containing Dining Room, Drawing Room, Morning Room opening into Conservatory, Library, Fourteen Bedrooms with suitable Dressing Rooms, Kitchens and all usual offices, ample Cellaring, very extensive Stabling, Coach Houses, &c., Conservatories, Fernery, Forcing Frames, extensive walled Garden, Pleasure Grounds, and adjoining piece of Land, the whole containing 37,752 square yards, or 7a. 3r. 8p., and standing in an elevated position on the Banks of the River Severn, commanding extensive and beautiful scenery, and fit for the immediate reception of any family, and lately occupied by Miss Darwin.

Lot 2 GARDENER'S HOUSE with Garden attached, Coach-house, Stable, &c., comprising 320 square yards, in the immediate vicinity of Lot 1. [In the event of Lot 1, as previously laid out, not being sold, the property will be divided into the following Lots:- ------------]

The plan which accompanied the particulars shows four or five glasshouses: a 'conservatory' leading off the house, a 'plant stove' (presumably for tropical plants), 'vineries' and, in the walled kitchen garden, a 'greenhouse'. The kitchen garden also had a 'tool house' and 'shed'. There was a concentric circular parterre with an adjacent summerhouse and another summerhouse closer to the house. There was an Ice House on the slope facing the River Severn. It should be remembered that the Mount was not just a house and garden but was also the 'Home Farm' for the far more extensive Darwin properties.


Peter D. A. Boyd,

Darwin Garden Project,

c/o Shrewsbury Museums Service,

Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery (Rowley's House)

Barker Street,

Shrewsbury SY1 1QH

Tel. 01743 361196

Fax. 01743 358411

e-mail: peterboyd@shrewsbury-atcham.gov.uk


Note: An edited version of this article has also been included in the large database-driven 'Darwin Country' website for which Peter Boyd is responsible. The following link will open the relevant page in Darwin Country which provides access to other pages about the Darwin Family and Shrewsbury:-




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Revised: January 4th, 2002