North wall of Nantwich Walled Garden

Members of Nantwich Walled Garden Society have vowed to fight to restore the garden and turn it into a tourist attraction.

The garden site is owned by a private developer who has permission from Cheshire East Council to build properties on the site.

But the society hopes to convince developers to build elsewhere so the historic garden which dates back 400 years, can be preserved.

Chairman of the society Peter Harrington said: “The site is too valuable to lose.

“It must be possible for the eight dwellings be put into the Kingsley Fields 2 housing site, leaving the garden site to be restored as a community project.”

Kingsley Fields 2 is a planned development of 1,100 new houses by the North West Nantwich Consortium on land owned by Reaseheath College.

Gerrard planter 4The walled garden, once part of the garden of now-demolished Townsend House, stands in a corner of the original Kingsley Fields complex.

The original wall is a Grade 2 listed which means it must be preserved.

But the society says the 16th Century north wall has already been vandalised by youths who were seen climbing on it and pushing its coping stones off.

In 1622 King James the First came to visit Townsend House, where the garden is, and he would have walked round this garden.

And the Nantwich Walled Garden Society wants to acquire the land and dedicate if to John Gerard – “Nantwich’s famous Tudor son” – who became herbalist to King James.

NWGS archivist Helen Cooke said: “The family would have grown herbs in the kitchen garden, probably referring to John Gerard’s ‘The Herball, or General History of Plantes’ for information and advice.

“For a long time this was the text book used by many people.

“There’s very little recognition of John Gerard in Nantwich at the moment.

“There is a planter with a plaque at Nantwich Museum, but that’s about it.

“So a very fitting tribute to the gentleman would be to commemorate him in some way as part of the restoration of the walled garden.”

NWGS, formed in April 2002 as “The Campaign to Conserve the Old Walled Garden”, see it as a potential tourist attraction as well as a place that local people would want to visit.

The garden would be restored as part of a project involving the local community, gardening organisations, schools and colleges.

All of these groups would benefit from recreating and maintaining the garden.

2 Comments

  1. Elspeth Reid (granddaughter of A.O Bevan says:

    My grand father Arthur O. Bevan lived in and rented for about 50+ years Townsend House (not the original house that King James stayed in a much later version) and he, my granddad was a fanatical gardener. There was no garden that we know off attached to the back left side of the house/factory. There was the factory garden to the rear and right of the factory and house but nothing else – it was dangerous and a challenge for adventure to us young children. And a lovely walled garden to the front – you had to go through a door in the wall from Welsh Row to get to the house and up a cobbled path to the front door. No electricity only gas. If there had been an Elizabethan Garden granddad Bevan would have known about it. He would have mentioned it. He would have championed it. We spent holidays there, my sisters were born there. We knew Townsend House through and through – but the letters my mother sent and one of my sisters and I sent were all basically ignored by planners and the house was torn down by the developers and it’s now a modern estate – nobody called out to save the house and the lovely Townsend House walled garden at the front of the property owned by I think Watson’s garage. There’s a plaque at the entrance but nothing left of our lovely grandparents home. So sad..Let it go. We had to in the end. And we hate the development.

  2. Graham Dillon says:

    That worked, a plaque that is hidden by the herbs, great design!
    In reality just how is this garden to be preserved, is there any idea of cost on a grade two restoration being mentioned? Exactly, only a developer would be able to absorb those costs in order to comply with a grade two restoration that is the reality.
    In an ideal world it would be restored, but there have been far too many years just talking about it, while we allow yobs to destroy our history.

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