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Whoddunit? The evidence points to Repton
Greenway
The view from Greenway's gardens
The National Trust has uncovered evidence which suggests that the gardens at Greenway - where Agatha Christie lived - were designed by Humphry Repton. Research is now under way to confirm the possible link.
SEE ALSO
Agatha Christie photo trail: Devon connections


Walk the Agatha Christe trail


More on Agatha Christie

Tour of Greenway gardens


Walk along the Dart riverside

National Trust gardens guide

Overbeck's

Coleton Fishacre
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FACTS

Agatha Christie was born in Torquay in 1890, and died in 1976.

In 1926, she mysteriously disappeared for a while...later, she always maintained she had lost her memory.

She often used places in South Devon as the setting for her stories.

Her work has been translated into more languages than Shakespeare.

Humphry Repton was born in 1752 and he died in 1818.

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The gardens at the South Devon family home of crime writer Agatha Christie are at the centre of a mystery whodunnit.

The mystery is: Who designed the wonderful gardens at Greenway, which overlooks the River Dart near Galmpton.

And, after some detective work which Hercule Poirot would be proud of, the National Trust believes it has unearthed evidence pointing to eminent landscape designer Humphry Repton.

In fact, the discovery was initially down to a piece of good luck. The trust, which manages the gardens after Agatha Christie's family gave them as a gift, found a sketch at the site.

Agatha Christie
Dame Agatha Christie was born in Torquay
Trust historian Katie Fretwell is investigating the find, and early indications are that the sketch is by Repton.

At the same time trust staff working on restoring the gardens, recognised the tell-tale signs of Repton's handiwork.

The landscape designer worked in the late 18th and early 19th centuries - which ties in with the time that the current Greenway gardens were created.

Repton is best known for his work at Woburn Abbey, Bloomsbury Square, Tatton Park, Longleat, Harewood House, and Bayham Abbey.
But he worked on literally scores of commissions at major buildings and sites across England and Wales.

This is the first time, however, that he has been linked with Greenway.

The trust's property manager at Greenway, Robyn Brown, said: "We know that the first gardens here were laid out by the Gilberts, possibly using prisoners from the Spanish Armada.

"That was when it was a court. But the gardens here now orignated when the court became Greenway in the 1790s.

One of the paths
This serpentine lane with a distant view at Greenway is very Reptonian
"Certainly, the gardens have this very Reptonian feeling, and our historian, Katie Fretwell, is now investigating it."

Repton believed in making a transition from a terrace near the house, through a serpentine park, to a distant view - very much like Greenway.

Robyn added: "Katie has worked at Greenway from day one, and has researched Greenway for three years, and she has found this link to Repton. So it's a possibility he designed the garden."

Katie said: "I think Repton was there. The sketch is a map with a drawing on it. It's a plan which is very much like Repton. I've sent the map to experts and they say it looks like Repton too."

The gardens were opened to the public in 2002. The trust was given 300 acres of gardens and farmland on the estate, and some 30 acres are open to the public.

The land was handed to the trust by Dame Agatha Christies' daughter Rosalind Hicks and her husband Anthony in 1999.

The trust won an environmental award for sustainable tourism, as 58% of the 20,700 visitors to Greenway in the summer of 2002 travelled there using bus, train, or ferry.

The charity's gardeners,, historians and archaeologists are working on a 10-year programme and have put together a conservation plan at the gardens.

Agatha Christie photo trail: Devon connections

* Visitors to Greenway arriving by car must book in advance by telephoning 01803 842382. You can book on the day. Those who fail to book will not be admitted.


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