CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Essex Life today CLICK HERE

Smell the roses

PUBLISHED: 15:52 18 May 2015 | UPDATED: 15:52 18 May 2015

Front of the Hall

Front of the Hall


An incredible historic collection of roses bred by Joseph Pemberton are in bloom this month at Havering-atte-Bower. Philippa Pearson enjoys the colour and fragrance of these garden-worthy roses

June is rose time and one of my favourites is ‘Buff Beauty’, a superb Hybrid Musk rose with double repeat-flowering warm apricot flowers and a strong tea rose fragrance. I was delighted to discover the rose was bred in Essex by a gardener working for clergyman Joseph Pemberton who lived at the Roundhouse in Havering-atte-Bower, near Romford. Revd Pemberton adored roses from an early age and after his father died he entered some of his family’s roses into a local show, winning second prize. He became a rose show enthusiast, assisted by his sister Florence, and was particularly fond of the old fashioned roses he grew up with in his parents’ and grandmother’s gardens. After exhibiting a group of his favourite grandmother’s roses at the National Rose Society Show in 1882, it became apparent that many visitors also liked their appeal, so he set about breeding roses from his large garden at the Roundhouse.

Joseph Pemberton’s roses are still popular choices for gardeners today. The green-fingered rector, his sister Florence and later his gardener John Bentall raised some 69 different types, now called the Pemberton roses. Known as Hybrid Musk roses, the flowers have a delicious rich scent, strong growth and flower continuously from June to the first frosts. Pemberton had no children and on his death in 1926 the estate was left to relatives and later to the Bentall family, who sold the rose fields when they became unprofitable. All the roses were destroyed. The house and estate still remain and are now home to specialist care provider Saint Francis Hospice.

A few years ago the then head gardener and rose grower, Dave Collins, decided to try and re-establish the collection of roses introduced by Pemberton and Bentall and the project attracted a generous Heritage Lottery Fund grant to develop, maintain, preserve and promote a collection of these famous roses on the site where they were originally bred. Around 14 volunteers now help to look after the roses and gardens at the hospice, as well as getting involved with research and cataloguing the collection.

The roses now have National Collection status from leading plant conservation charity Plant Heritage and the hospice has 48 of the 69 plants in the collection throughout the gardens, but would like help locating the missing 21 roses to complete the collection. The garden’s website lists cultivars that the hospice is still looking for, so do take time to look at this if you can assist.

Many of the Pemberton roses have historic connections including Pax (1918) created to commemorate the end of World War I, and Nur Mahal (1923) named after the wife of the Emperor Jahangir of India who is credited with the discovery of the scent Attar of Roses. After Pemberton’s death, his gardener John Bentall carried on growing and breeding roses successfully introducing The Fairy (1932), Ballerina (1937) and Buff Beauty (1939), the latter it is believed was bred by Pemberton but he died before it could be trialled and tested.

Saint Francis Hospice is a registered charity which employs 150 nurses, doctors and specialist healthcare staff who are supported by 800 volunteers. Together they provide care and help to more than 4,000 people across the boroughs of Havering, Barking & Dagenham, Redbridge and Brentwood. Saint Francis Hospice provides all of its services free of charge to support patients from this local community with any life-limiting illness.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Essex Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Essex Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Essex Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Homes & Gardens

Thursday, October 25, 2018

James Merriott continues his watercolourtour of the county in a village which has more beauty than most, despite the impression of its name

Read more
Friday, October 5, 2018

With one of the warmest and driest summers on record, this year has been a difficult one for gardeners. Susie Bulman from The Beth Chatto Gardens at Elmstead Market shares some top tips for plant survival, even in these conditions

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Whatever style of carpet, rug or runner you need, we’ve got tips for choosing a style, brands to try and how to care for your new carpet

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Whatever style of carpet, rug or runner you need, we’ve got tips for choosing a style, brands to try and how to care for your new carpet

Read more
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

As we head into Autumn, the change in season is all around us. From the leaves on the trees turning burnt orange and fiery red, to dark mornings and nights bookending our days. As we put the clocks back an hour to battle the darkness, here’s some top tips on how you can keep your home warm and costs down this Autumn.

Read more
Friday, August 31, 2018

Rural energy provider, Calor, gives some top tips for homeowners wanting to make their houses cosy and warm in time for the colder months.

Read more
Friday, July 27, 2018

Essex Life showcases a chic collection of top places to stay which, while close enough to home, still offer an idyllic escape. Here are 12 great staycations in Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Hertfordshire

Read more
Sunday, July 1, 2018

Residential property company heylo recently signed the Armed Forces Covenant, pledging its commitment to fair treatment and support to the Armed Forces community, including regulars, reserves, veterans and their families. The signing took place in a ceremony held at Wellington Barracks

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search