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News > Community > Friends of Bradfield > Bradfield in Bloom

Bradfield in Bloom

The beautiful Sunken Garden
Friends of Bradfield Garden in 2022
Friends of Bradfield Garden in 2022

This is the second summer of the rose beds which the Bradfield Gardens team planted in the Sunken Garden in early 2021.

In the gallery below you can see the beds as they were in 2021 and their blooms this summer too. What a difference a year makes.

The garden many Bradfieldians will remember as the Master's Tennis Court which was transformed into a garden in 1996. 

In 2021 both the beds, borders and the pots within the Sunken Garden were beautifully replanted by the College Gardens team. For those of you who visit the gardens infrequently, we are pleased to share a gallery of photographs below, so that you too can enjoy the colourful array of flowers in their walled setting.

The garden layout as it is today was most recently designed by Mrs Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall DipLA and built by Michael Twite Landscapes. The conversion of this garden area dates from 1996 is also commemorated with a plaque which reads "This Garden was made possible by the generosity of The Frends of Bradfield and by donations in memory of Sir Eric Faulkner MBE 14 September 1996".

Some of our community will remember the Sunken Garden as the Masters' Tennis Court in the past where a Centenary Ball was held in August 1950. This is mentioned in the centenary edition of the Bradfield Chronicle in May 1950 which makes a facinating read from our Digital Archives and can be viewed here

A photo of the original grass area can be seen below. In 1951, the building of the Centenary Wall along the Terrace at the top of the slope down to the Masters' Tennis Court and the Classical Garden generated discussion. At the time of its construction, there were dissenters to this plan by the Centenary Committee with some contending that it would ruin the Terrace and others that it would make it. Alongside the trees which were also planted along the first cinder path, both are a reminder that Bradfield is always being steadily improved by those tasked with looking after the College and its heritage. The steps at the Army House end of the wall show the years '1850 - 1950' marked in the Centenary Wall.

The Friends of Bradfield are often mentioned in the garden and have generously contributed to the mosr recent replanting of the Rose Garden in 2019. This runs alongside the St Andrew's Church wall near Tom o' Bedlam's Hole. Tradition has it that this small octagonal turret-shaped building in the red-brick wall surrounding St Andrew's Churchyard is in fact a cell and part of the ruins of an ancient Benedictine monastery linked to Abingdon. If this is fact or folklore, is unclear! A plaque at the top fo the steps down to the Rose Garden reads "1975 The York Stone Terrace and the steps below were the gift of the Friends of Bradfield".

The garden is also home to 4 memorial benches presented by a number of Old Bradfieldians including John Bodie OBE (C 44-48) and his family Benjamin (A 85-90) and Grace (J 94-96), Michael Stone (E 49-54), Anthony 'Jumbo' Fuller (H 51-56) and The Sills Family - Tom (29-33), Tim (D 55-60), Helen (I 89-91) and David (F 90-93).

Photographs below of the Classical Garden, Rose Garden along St Andrew's Churchyard wall and the sloped garden created below the Centenary Wall.

 

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