Photo reveals 'lost Tudor garden'
Published 06/11/2010 | 09:04
A photograph taken by the Luftwaffe during the Second World War has helped unearth what is thought to be the lost Tudor design of a historic garden, the National Trust said.
The picture shows the land surrounding Lyveden New Bield in Northamptonshire, including an arrangement of 10 concentric circles measuring 120 metres across, which could have formed a labyrinth - a popular garden feature of the time.
National Trust experts also believe the photograph, taken in 1944, shows the last remains of an Elizabethan fruit garden, with a series of regular planting holes visible.
The discovery has led to the garden being upgraded by English Heritage to the top Grade I listing, putting it on a par with great gardens such as Stourhead and Studley Royal.
The image sheds light on one of the oldest surviving gardens in the country, which the trust said had been shrouded in mystery since it was begun by Sir Thomas Tresham more than 400 years ago.
The photograph is part of a series at the United States National Archive at Maryland in Baltimore and was discovered by National Trust gardens and parks curator Chris Gallagher while he was conducting research.
He said: "We checked the database and found the photo existed but when we ordered up the image it revealed far more than we ever expected.
"Not only did it expose the remnants of the original circular design - set within what Sir Thomas Tresham, who created the garden, then called his 'moated orchard' - you can also make out the vestiges of a regular array of planting holes, which we have taken to be the last remains of an Elizabethan fruit garden."
Lyveden's property manager Mark Bradshaw described the find as "probably one of the most important garden discoveries of recent times".
The garden was begun by Sir Thomas Tresham but, along with the house, remained incomplete after his death in 1605.