1889 – ‘Piggots Manor’, Letchmore Heath, Hertfordshire

SM 47 – Apr 15

Mr George Villies purchased ‘Piggots Manor’ in 1884, demolished the small house, and constructed the mock-Tudor building that still stands in its place.   George Harrison, the ‘Quiet Beatle’, purchased it in 1973, and presented it as a gift to ISKCON – the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. [i]   They renamed the property ‘Bhaktivedanta Manor’, after the Society’s founder, and it continues to serve as the Society’s Headquarters in Britain.

5-10-47-01 - Piggots Manor - Culvert 2

Fig 1 – Culvert along the perimeter of Piggots Manor

This is not a very large installation.   It is placed in an almost circular hollow – possibly an old pit – near the house, and has a perimeter path surrounding a central area, with a few cross paths dividing it into sections.   There are some radial paths that strike out from the perimeter path, and these happen to coincide with the significant points of the compass, according to the beliefs of Society members.

5-10-47-02 - Piggots Manor - Culvert 2

Fig 2 – Bridge crossing the culvert

5-10-47-03 - Piggots Manor - Path 3

Fig 3 – A path around the rock garden at the old ‘Piggots Manor’

There is a rock-lined culvert along one edge of the property – Fig 1 – crossed by a typical Pulham-style bridge, shown in Fig 2, so there is little doubt that Pulhams were here, and the suggested date is c1889, a few years after George Villies purchased the property.

5-10-47-04 - Piggots Manor - Steps 1

Fig 4 – Steps leading down into the garden from the Manor

5-10-47-05 - Piggots Manor - Ceiling 1

Fig 5 – The Ceiling in the Hall of Piggots Manor

The unmistakably Pulhamite rocks that run alongside one of these paths provide further evidence in Fig 3, whilst Fig 4 shows the steps that lead up from the garden to the terrace.   The garden is now (2009) being restored as a ‘Memorial Garden for George’.

5-10-47-06 - Piggots Manor - Fireplace 1

Fig 6 – Fireplace in the Hall of Piggots Manor

There is something else of interest inside the hall of the house, and this is not the first time I have made this comment in association with sites on which the Pulhams are known to have worked in the gardens.   There is a lovely plaster ceiling and fireplace in the Hall of Piggots Manor, pictured in Figs 5 and 6 respectively.   The ceiling is almost identical to one in Rawdon House, in Hoddesdon – pictured in Fig 2.4b in ‘Rock Landscapes’ – although, as far as is known, that one was done some 40 years earlier.   Some ‘Pulham locations’ also contain very ornate fireplaces, although they are all unique, and I have not seen another one exactly like this.

[i]   http://www.k*rishnatemple.com/manor/history.shtm

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