The ghost of a garden

From a timeline by Rachel Hirschler and Robert Wood:

“Richmond Palace was a favourite home of Elizabeth I, who died there in 1603. Later, Charles I, King of England from 1625 to 1649, also favoured Richmond Palace as a royal residence and made it the home of the royal children (and sometimes used it as a sanctuary from the plague in central London). Charles was “excessively affected to Hunting, and the Sports of the Field” and so in time looked for suitable land nearby in which to create a deer park, much larger than the 350 acre deer park which was next to Richmond Palace and in which he would have hunted.

The wall enclosing Richmond Park was completed in 1637, creating a hunting ground for Charles I known then as ‘Richmond New Parke’ so as to distinguish it from the earlier park adjacent to the Palace. It was a costly and unpopular undertaking, but six gates gave access to commoners to gather firewood, and the roads across the Park remained open to pedestrians. The King’s enjoyment of his playground was short-lived as by 1642 Civil War had broken out. He was, however, allowed to visit in August 1647 despite being imprisoned at Hampton Court Palace.”

From: An Economic History of the English Garden (2019), by Roderick Floud:

“New Park, in Surrey on the edge of Richmond Park, was designed by George London, the royal gardener, after 1692 within one of Charles I’s deer parks; Britannia Illustrata shows it to have been ‘an exquisite masterpiece of the terraced formal garden’. Large parterres and formal walks, with ponds and fountains, around the house were surrounded by huge areas of wilderness and woodland, ‘a fine wood so interspers’d with Vistos & little innumerable private dark walks’, and, in the distance, an artificial mound from which the whole park could be viewed. It also provided a view of the distant St Paul’s Cathedral in the City of London…Laurence Hyde, 1st Earl of Rochester (1642-1711), who paid for New Park, was said – though by an enemy – to have received £39 million (£20,000) in perquisites as Master of the Robes in the 1670s; he went on to be First Lord of the Treasury and later Lord Treasurer under Charles II, apparently proving a successful administrator, before being dismissed in 1687 but consoled with an annual pension of £8.4 million (£4,000) and grants of land valued at £42 million (£20,000). Sadly, only the ghost of his garden remains.”

St Paul’s view destroyed

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