Although most gardens tend to be above ground, a 17th-century English garden was recently discovered in the most unlikely of places: underneath a golf course. The discovery was made by Historic England, a non-departmental public body that’s part of the British government. Volunteers at what was once known as Belhus Park found elements of early Tudor and Jacobean landscaping here, leading Historic England to visit the site to conduct research.
Since 2018, the grounds of this former park have been on the Heritage at Risk Register, due to its historic legacy and need for preservation, according to the BBC.
The recent rediscovery of this garden was made possible by the Designed Landscapes project, a £2.4 million (or approximately $3.2 million) undertaking between the Land of the Fanns, the Gardens Trust, and the owners of the Belhus Park golf course. Through this project, locals are encouraged to rediscover hidden gems in the area.
Prior to becoming a golf course, Belhus was once a stately home, welcoming notable guests like Queen Elizabeth I. The grounds were designed by famed landscape architect Capability Brown beginning in the 1740s, into the 1750s.
The property is named after Nicholas de Belhus, who lived here in the 14th century. The last owners of the home, the Barrett-Lennard family, auctioned its contents in 1923, and the dwelling was demolished following World War II, given the damage it suffered as a result of bomb attacks and vandalism.
While we can’t say that our local golf course has a 17th-century garden lurking underneath it, we’re definitely going to be on the lookout for hidden gems in our own neighborhoods from now on…!
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