Gresham College

Image: Gresham College, Barnard’s Inn Hall, Holborn, London, EC1. From its website: “Gresham College was founded in the former mansion of Sir Thomas Gresham, located where Tower 42 now stands on Bishopsgate. It was the first ‘university’ in England besides Oxford and Cambridge, making it London’s oldest higher education institution still in existence today.”

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

“Garden historians have concentrated on the monastic and herbal gardens of the medieval period, but there were certainly secular gardens in London – and not only royal ones – early in the sixteenth century at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries. Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s chief minister and main architect of the dissolution, owned one, as did his religious adversary Sir Thomas More. By the end of the century, Sir Thomas Gresham, Queen Elizabeth’s financial ‘fixer’ and royal agent in Antwerp, had a large garden enclosed within the grounds of his house in the City of London, later to serve as the first site of Gresham College and the first home of the Royal Society. In the middle of the seventeenth century, 70 per cent of a group of houses in High Holborn, just outside the City, had gardens, while further out, in Piccadilly, almost all of them did; most seem to have been for pleasure and recreation, not for growing crops. Maps show gardens large and small within the urban area, as well as market gardens and nursery grounds outside it. This remained true during the whole of the seventeenth century, while at its end Kip and Knyff document in Britannia Illustrata some very large urban gardens, both in London and in other towns, such as Pierrepoint House in Nottingham and Burford House in Windsor.

Some gardens in the capital were also described when, in 1722, Thomas Fairchild published The City Gardner, based on his thirty years as a nurseryman in Hoxton, north-east of the City…”

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