Somerset's gardens uncovered
Press release issued: 20 May 2010
The historic gardens of Somerset are the subject of a new book by Professor Tim Mowl and Marion Mako, from the University of Bristol’s Department of Archaeology and Anthropology.
The book is the culmination of two years’ research during which the authors travelled to over 100 gardens across the county.
The book is the latest volume in the series of county guides to the Historic Gardens and Landscapes of England, a project supported by the University of Bristol and the Leverhulme Trust, and is the tenth volume in the series.
Somerset is a county with an exceptional legacy of historic gardens, many of which remain little known. From medieval monastic gardens and eighteenth-century Arcadias to Italianate villa layouts, Victorian lakeside grottos and a pioneering Modernist restaurant garden in Cheddar Gorge, the new research has unearthed fascinating discoveries, and for the first time allows Somerset’s often eccentric gardens to be properly assessed and enjoyed.
At the launch of the book at the National Trust’s Montacute House, Professor Mowl said: “Somerset is a county containing an incredibly rich legacy of gardens, yet they are so little known. Our combination of archival research and site investigation has made it possible to revise our view of a county that is usually passed by and to present its important contribution to the garden history of this country.”
The research for the series is supported by the Leverhulme Trust, and is based in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Bristol, where Tim Mowl is Professor of the History of Architecture and Designed Landscapes.
The book was launched at Montacute House, a magnificent late Elizabethan house, with rare surviving early seventeenth-century gardens and garden buildings.