Britain’s Gardening Revolution

Stately homes surrounded by extravagant gardens are a staple of the English countryside, but how were they funded?

View of Hampton Court, by Leonard Knyff, c.1702. Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2020/Bridgeman Images.

On his 30th birthday, 29 May 1660, Charles II returned to London from his exile abroad. He had much to do. He had to re-establish the monarchy, appoint his ministers, call a new parliament and cement relationships with the Anglican Church, which was still suspicious of his Catholic mother. He was determined to pursue and put to death those who had killed his father. Meanwhile, he had to satisfy at least some of the men who crowded to the royal court to seek lucrative appointments.

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