County Council (Unitary)
SJ625625 (362484, 300098)
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A late 19th/early 20th century garden created around the remains of Wenlock Priory, part of which was converted into a house. The property was bought by James Milnes Gaskell in 1858. By this time the 'Abbey' had become a decayed farmhouse, but under Gaskell and his son C G Milnes Gaskell it was restored as a country house. The latter's wife, Lady Catherine, laid out new gardens around it in circa 1900, at much the same time the surrounding fields were planted with parkland trees; much of this garden survives. The greater part of the courtyard is filled by a rectangular lawn. Against the west end of the Infirmary is a small cobbled courtyard with a circular lily pool. From the courtyard there is a view down the approach drive. The Bee Garden is a 30 metre square flower garden, quartered and with an Italian capital or well-head at its centre. Elaborate wrought-iron gates of circa 1900 give access from the centre of the north and south sides of the garden. A massive yew hedge runs from the Bee Garden to the courtyard.South of the Prior's Lodgings is Topiary Lawn, defined to the east and west by yew hedges. An octagonal, red sandstone summerhouse of 1900 also survives. To the east is 'Stew Pond', a rectangular pool with a narrow island along its centre. Around the edges of the pool are mature pine trees. To the south is a vegetable garden and orchard. A belt of mature specimen trees runs around the west and north sides of the ruins, connecting with the Sycamore Grove, a small block of rough woodland. Most of the specimen trees were planted in circa 1900. To the east of the priory is a medieval pond, retained by a contour dam which survives as an earthwork. A lime avenue along it was planted in circa 1900; since that time, if not before, the path along the top of the dam has been known as the Monks' Walk. Sequences of photographs taken during Lady Catherine's lifetime show the creation of the garden in the early 1890s and its gradual maturation.
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