The Master's Garden
Hidden behind the ancient buildings of the Lord Leycester Hospital is the enchanting and peaceful Master's Garden. This historic plot, enclosed by the town wall of Warwick, has been cultivated for over 500 years, was restored in the 1800s and again in the 1990’s.
This garden has been an important part of this unique establishment for almost 500 years. Robert Dudley, Earl of Leycester, acquired the buildings, orchard and garden and established a home for retired soldiers in 1571. He decreed that the lower half of the garden be left “green-sward for recreation”. In 1852 the lower half was restored to its original condition and use. Here the Brethren played bowls and billiards (but not cards!).
Enclosed by the ancient stone town walls, the garden contains some interesting features. The 12th Century Norman arch between the magnolias was discovered under the Chapel of St James during the restoration of the Chapel in 1860 and was re-erected in its present location.
The huge stone vase is reputed to be a 2000-year-old “Nilometer” which crowned one of the columns that stood on the banks of the Nile, used for measuring the height of the river’s floods. This was the basis for levels of annual taxation on agricultural land.
Visitors to this wonderful garden include the likes of Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1855, and other famous visitors of that period include Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, and Oscar Wilde.
Her Majesty The Queen, together with HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, visited the Garden in 1996. The Master’s Garden has featured in Country Life and on BBC TV’s Gardener’s World.
For garden fans who like to see the unfolding beauty of the garden throughout the year we offer Garden Season Tickets at £15 valid for one year from purchase, available from our Ticket Office. The Garden is open for free, two days a year, in April and September, for Warwick residents.