This section is from the book "A History Of Gardening In England", by Alicia Amherst. Also available from Amazon: A History Of Gardening In England.
In the gardens typical of this age, between the flowerbeds, and at intervals along the terrace or beside the walks, lead or stone vases were sometimes placed, either filled with flowers, or merely for ornament. Beautiful examples of lead vases still exist in some old gardens. At Drayton, in Northamptonshire, there are a number of these vases of different sizes throughout the garden. Two may be seen in the illustration on page 113. Other ornaments were not so frequent as in later times; " Great Princes sometimes add statues and such things for state and magnificence, but nothing to the true pleasures of a garden." *
Parkinson says a garden should have " a fountain in the midst thereof to convey water to every part of the garden, either in pipes under the ground, or brought by hand and emptied into large cisterns or great Turkey jars, placed in convenient places." Bacon writes :" For fountains, they are a great beauty and refreshment; but pools mar all, and make the garden unwholesome and full of flies and frogs. Fountains I intend to be of two natures ; the one that sprinkleth or spouteth water, the other a fair receipt of water of some 30 or 40 foot, but without fish, slime, or mud. For the first, the ornaments of images gilt, or of marble, which are in use, do well. . . . Also some steps up to it, and some fine pavement about, doth well. As for the other kind of fountain, which we may call a bathing-pool, it may admit much curiosity and beauty, wherewith we will not trouble ourselves ; as, that the bottom be finely paved, and with images; the sides likewise, and withal embellished with coloured glass and such things of lustre, encompassed also with fine rails of low statues." In the ordinary garden the "fair receipt of water " was not so much embellished, being merely a straight pond with stone steps at each corner, the rest of the bank of smooth turf. November 25th, 1595, Sir Thomas Cecil wrote from Wimbledon to Sir William More, of Loseley, saying that "hearing he has made divers great pools, he begs him to procure one skilful therein, as certain banks he has made that year about a great pool, have given way through unskilfulness of the workmen." * The pools at Loseley must have been some time in existence, as on December 21st, 1581, Henry Sledd, Queen Elizabeth's fishmonger, wrote to Sir William More, offering to buy some carp out of his pond. He offers from 12d. to 18d. a piece, according to their size, and adds, " Yf I see they be more worthe .... I will mend the pryse." .
Of the first kind of fountain there were many examples in the finest gardens at the time when Bacon wrote. Frederick, Duke of Wurtemberg, describes the one he saw at Hampton Court, in 1592 :" In the middle of the first and principal court stands a splendid high and massy fountain, with an ingenious water-work, by which you can, if you like, make the water to play upon the ladies and others who are standing by, and give them a thorough wetting." Of this same fountain Norden wrote in 1598, " Queen Elizabeth hathe of late caused a very beautiful fountaine there to be erected in the second court, which graceth the Pallace, and serveth to great and necessarie use; the fountaine was finished in 1590, not without great charge." Another of the same sort was to be seen at Whitehall, and is described by Hentzner, in 1598:" A jet d'eau with a sundial, which, while strangers are looking at it a quantity of water forced by a wheel which the gardener turns at a distance, through a number of little pipes, plentifully sprinkles those that are standing round." Hentzner also visited Nonsuch, and notices several fountains. In the " privy gardens " were two " that spurt water one round the other like a pyramid upon which are perched small birds that stream water out of their bills." In the " Grove of Diana," was one " with Actaeon turned into a stag as he was sprinkled by the goddess and her nymphs," and a " pyramid of marble full of concealed pipes which spurt upon all that come near." The word "jet d'eau" is usually used by contemporary writers for such fountains, and seems to point to their introduction from France.
* MS. letter at Loseley, Surrey. Ibid.
Translation, 1602printed in England as Seen by Foreigners. By Brenchley Rye, 1865.
Other pieces of water were introduced into gardens ; like the trout stream running through the orchard at Littlecote, or the stream in the Deanery garden at Winchester, where Isaac Walton used to fish. Beddington (in Surrey), which belonged to Francis Carew, was described by Wurmsser von Vendenheyn, in 1610, as " one of the most pleasant and ornamental gardens in England, with many beautiful streams." At Theobalds and Hatfield there was water. At Hatfield * the banks of the stream in what was called the dell, were beautified with flower-beds and sundry arbours and walks, which were connected with the vineyard on the opposite bank by ornamental bridges. The works were designed and carried out by Mountain Jennings, gardener to the first Earl of Salisbury. A Frenchman, named Simon Sturtivant, planned some elaborate water-works, which were never executed owing to the Earl's death in 1612, as also did Soloman de Caux. One jet d'eau, however, from a design of the latter, was made at a cost of £113 and consisted of a marble basin with a statue of Neptune ; 310 lbs. of solder were used to cast the figure, which was probably gilded afterwards. De Caux was the designer of the gardens at Wilton, for the Earl of Pembroke, where there were " foure fountaynes with statues of marble in their midle," and " two Ponds with Fountaynes and two collumnes in the middle, casting water all their height, which causeth the moveing and turning of two crownes at the top of the same." Besides this, the river passed through the garden, and was spanned by an ornamental bridge. The latter was removed later on, and the well-known work of Inigo Jones built in its place.