The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 4: British Gardens (1100-1830)

Fourteenth century English gardens

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550. During the reign of Edward III. (1327 to 1377), Sir William de Middilton possessed the manor of Mendham in Suffolk; and in the thirty-second year of this king's reign (1359), on a survey thereof, it is said, the house was furnished with a pigeon-house, three gardens, and two court-yards. The luxury of three gardens, at this early period, must at first appear very remarkable, when it is known at how low an ebb horticulture was at the beginning of even the sixteenth century. In 1512, the opulent Earl of Northumberland, whose household consisted of 160 persons, had but one gardener, who attended 'hourely in the garden for setting of erbis and clipping of knottis and sweping the said garden clone.' Nay, it should seem as if sometimes there was not even one: for among the workmen of the household, as a painter, a joiner, and a milnar, is mentioned 'the gardener of the place where my Lord lyeth, if there be oone.' (Northumberland Household Book, p. 42., and Cullum's 'Hawksted' p. 103.)