- STOURHEAD -

Estate Gardens and Lake Part 1

HOME PAGE : WEST COUNTRY
1 : Introduction to Stourhead
2 : Stourton Village
3 : Stourton Church

4 : Stourhead Gardens
5 : Stourhead Grotto
6 : Stourhead Pantheon

7 : Stable Yards and Kitchen Gardens
8 : Stourhead House
HOME PAGE : LIST-O-LINKS INDEX

The Gardens and Lake at Stourhead lie close to St Peter's Church and Stourton Village with its houses and public house. The Bristol High Cross shown in the picture above was a monumental market cross erected in 1373 in the centre of Bristol.

The Cross was built in Decorated Gothic style on the site of an earlier Anglo-Saxon cross to commemorate the granting of a charter by Edward III to make Bristol a county to be separate from Somerset and Gloucestershire.



The base of the cross displayed statues of monarchs in alcoves.
In 1663, the cross was rebuilt to add a third tier for four more statues and the total complement of eight was then:

North facing Broad Street - King John and Charles I.

East facing Wine Street - Henry III and Henry VI (as in picture below).

West facing Corn Street - Edward III (as in pictures above and left) and Elizabeth I.

South facing High Street - Edward IV and James I.



























The cross's central location in Bristol made it the natural place for special events.

In 1399 supporters of Richard II were beheaded there by order of Henry Bolinbroke after a short siege of Bristol. These included Richard's Lord High Treasurer, William le Scrope, Sir John Bussy and Sir Henry Green.

The following year, Thomas le Despenser, 1st Earl of Gloucester, was beheaded there for his part in the Epiphany Rising against Bolinbroke who was now King Henry IV.

In 1487 it was the scene of ceremonies to greet Henry VII when he visited Bristol. In 1542 Bristol was proclaimed a bishopric at the cross. In 1554 Queen Mary and King Philip were there proclaimed joint sovereigns over England.

In 1603 James I was proclaimed King of England by recorder George Snigge and the city dignitaries standing at the cross in their finery.

The cross was moved to the Stourhead estate in 1780.

Inspired by the work of 16th-century architect Palladio, this five-arched stone bridge was built in 1762. Although ornamental, the bridge was intended to look practical. It was designed to create the illusion that a river flows through the village and under the bridge.

From the 'Palladio' website :
"It has no real function as a bridge as one can easily walk around the two lakesides in possibily the same time it would take to cross it (Ed... only by going via the eastern route!) making it simply an object of pleasure.

"Indeed, it achieves this, as the pantheon temple, etched into the silhouettes of the trees across the lake, compliments (sic) the vista to absolute perfection."





The Temple of Flora (above, left and below) is dedicated to the Roman goddess of flowers and spring.

This temple was the first garden building erected by Henry Hoare II between 1744 and 1746.

Over the doorway the Latin inscription reads 'Keep away, anyone profane, keep away!'. Henry asks you to enter his garden in the right spirit.

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