The Trees and Plants of Oatlands Palace

Avril Lansdell takes the reader on a visit to Oatlands, founded by Henry VIII and a royal residence until Cromwell’s time.

In 1537 Henry VIII acquired the manor house of Oatlands from the Rede family and began the building works that were eventually to turn it into a vast rambling palace, valued by Cromwell as waste material worth only £4,023 18s. 0d.

The Palace of Oatlands stood for only 115 years, but the surviving accounts show that a great deal of money and labour was spent on it in this time. Not only was there constant new work, repairs and alterations to the fabric of the building, there was equally constant effort put into the maintenance of the gardens and parkland surrounding the Palace.

The Parliamentary Survey of 1650 states that the Palace had five gardens, namely the Great Garden, the Long Garden, the King’s Privy Garden, the Queen’s Privy Garden and the New Garden; the Survey also states that the gardens between them contained 162 wall fruit trees and 314 other fruit trees, the Great Garden had a fair and handsome cistern or fountain, and that in the Long Garden ‘There is a close walk of 100 yards in length’.

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