First published in Delaware History, Vol. XXXI, Spring-Summer 2006. Permission granted by the editors to deposit here.


In the 1850s, merchant banker Joseph Shipley retired from a successful career in Liverpool, England, and returned to his birthplace, Wilmington, Delaware. Buying up nearly 400 acres of farmland in the hills and cliff surrounding Wilmington, Shipley created an English estate following all rules of the English Naturalistic style of landscape design. Designing the landscape himself, Shipley used an English architect, English gardener, and English servants to create a small piece of Victorian England in Brandywine Hundred, Delaware.

Figure 1 .jpg (205 kB)
Rockwood's entrance lawn, ca. 1860

Figure 2 .jpg (70 kB)
Joseph Shipley, merchant banker, ca. 1845

Figure 3. Wyncote.jpg (502 kB)
Wyncote, 1844

Figure 4. Wyncote.jpg (1216 kB)
Wyncote, entrance façade, no date

Figure 5. Rockwood.jpg (1449 kB)
Rockwood, entrance façade, ca. 1980

Figure 6. Branker & Toby.jpg (1152 kB)
Branker & Toby [in the Stables at Wyncote]

Figure 7. Typical Brownian landscape.jpg (131 kB)
Typical Brownian landscape

Figure 8. Picturesque scene.jpg (85 kB)
"A Rough and Rocky Picturesque Scene"

Figure 9. A typical Kempian clump, showing variety in outline and form..jpg (60 kB)
A typical Kempian clump, showing variety in outline and form

Figure 10. rockplan.jpg (135 kB)
Rockwood’s plan

Figure 11. A typical plan.jpg (63 kB)
“Outline Plan of a Place,” a typical plan

Figure 12. Suggested designs for flowerbeds along a walk.jpg (149 kB)
Suggested designs for flowerbeds along a walk

Figure 13. Plan of rockwood's terraces.jpg (411 kB)
Plan of Rockwood's formal terraces

Figure 14. Rockwood's Garden Facade, ca. 1880.jpg (158 kB)
Rockwood's garden façade, ca. 1880

Figure 15. Shipley's 'offices'-1.jpg (126 kB)
. Plan of Shipley’s Carriage House, Stables, and Kitchen Garden, ca. 1860