The Tudor Roses

The Tudor Roses

The Rose Blog

Luftwaffe Reconnaissance Photograph from WWII Reveals a Lost Tudor Garden in 2010

Research undertaken by National Trust Gardens and Parks curator Chris Gallagher, using the United States National Archive back in 2010, turned up a German reconnaissance photograph that shows a formerly forgotten Tudor designed historic garden.

The photograph shows land around Lyveden New Bield in Northamptonshire and includes an arrangement of ten concentric circles which measure 120 metres across. These circles could well have formed a popular Tudor garden feature - a labyrinth, though it is not exactly clear what the circles represent.

Experts from the National Trust also believed that the photo showed remains of an Elizabethan fruit garden.

This 1944 German spy pic led to the garden being upgraded by English Heritage to the top Grade I listing which put it on par with great gardens such as Stourhead and Studley Royal.

This garden had been a mystery for more than 400 years since it was started by Sir Thomas Tresham, and it is one of the oldest surviving gardens in the country.

The concentric circles were set within Sir Thomas Tresham's original garden, then called his 'moated orchard'. It is the remains of a regluar pattern of planting holes that gave the evidence of the Elizabethan fruit garden.

The original garden was created by Sir Thomas Tresham but along with the house it remained unfinished after he died in 1605. That was also the year that his son was implicated in the Gunpowder Plot. Due to this a large collection of Tresham's correspondence was removed from public view when it was hidden at the main family home of Rushton Hall. This cache of correspondence was uncovered in 1821 and is now kept in the British Library. Details of this gardens plans were also included in the correspondence.

Within these plans are details of 400 raspberries and roses to be planted within the circular design. Could this be the concentric circles seen in the aerial photograph? Circular borders were emblematic of religious or regal qualities.

The National Trust created a temporary labyrinth to give a feel of how the garden at Lyveden may have looked during the Tudor period. This was done by mowing the labyrinth pattern into the grass for people to walk along.


So the question is, what do you think the patterns shown in the reconnaissance photograph are or rather were?


Original article and photos from a Daily Mail piece.



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