23. The Garden
The garden created by Robert Dudley incorporated a number of pioneering features, such as the terracing, the water installations, obelisks, statues of human form, and the aviary. The layout resembles that recorded by historian Sir William Dugdale in 1656, except where the established fashion to maintain complete symmetry takes precedence, leaving space for an orchard (for example) the other side of the East arbour.
Along with Henry VIII’s north side of Windsor Castle, the garden was one of the first to establish a trend for a wide viewing terrace. Robert Langham, who was shown the garden by the gardener Adrian, also mentioned the ‘two fine arbours, one at each end’, although these were more common, and were typically covered with climbing plants. The arbours shown are based on those of the 1565 garden at Montargis in France.
The fountain was the first in the country by an Italian craftsman, and cost £7. It was made of white marble and had its sides engraved with ‘storie woorke’. Lead piping from a spring, ¾ of a mile to the North-East, supplied water to the fountain. This supply was also able to amuse the users of the garden by spraying them with jets of water from pipes hidden in the ground. All of this water, as a valued resource, would have been collected and stored for other uses.
The aviary of rare birds was an unusual garden feature in England at this time. It was richly decorated with jewels – most likely wood carved and painted in appropriate colours to resemble the gems.
The area later became a kitchen garden for the farm, and was planted with fruit trees. It was even used by the Victorians to bury their pet cats and dogs, and the buried remains of larger animals, including 2 cows and a horse, have also been found.