The Garden Guide

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

Public botanic gardens in England

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632. A public botanic garden in England was first founded at Oxford, in 1632, nearly a century after that at Padua. This honour was reserved for Henry, Earl of Danby, who gave for this purpose five acres of ground, built greenhouses and stoves, and a house for the accommodation of the gardener, endowed the establishment, and placed in it, as a superintendent, Jacob Bobart, a German, from Brunswick, who lived, as Wood tells us, in the garden-house. In March, 1719, the vice-chancellor compelled Bobart's son to resign the office of botanic professor; and he died, at a very advanced age, a few months after. The garden contained at his death above 1600 species. Bobart's descendants are still in Oxford, and are known as coach proprietors.