The Garden Guide

Book: London Parks and Gardens, 1907
Chapter: Chapter 2 Hyde Park

The Keeper of Hyde Park

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When the Park was again in the King's hands after the Restoration, a Keeper was once more appointed, who was responsible for its maintenance. From the time of Henry VIII. various well-known people had filled the office of Keeper. The first in Henry VIII.'s time was George Roper, succeeded in 1553 by Francis Nevill, and in 1574 by Henry Carey, first Lord Hunsdon, while in 1607 Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, was appointed, and Sir Walter Cope held the office conjointly with him from 1610. The name of the first Keeper after the Restoration, James Hamilton, is well remembered by the site of his house and ground, which are still known as Hamilton Place and Gardens. He was allowed to enclose 55 acres of park, and to use it as an orchard on the condition that he sent a certain quantity of the cider produced from it to the King. In his time a brick wall was built round the Park, and it was re-stocked with deer. The wall was rebuilt in 1726, and not replaced by railings until a hundred years later. These iron railings were pulled down by the mob in 1866, after which the present ones were set up. The deer, which formerly ranged all over the Park, were in course of time confined to a small area on the north-west side, called Buckdean Hill. They were kept for sport during the first half of the eighteenth century, and the last time royalty took part in killing deer in the Park was probably in 1768. The exact date of the disappearance of all the deer is difficult to ascertain. They are remembered by some who saw them towards the end of the thirties, but by 1840 or soon after they were done away with.