Garden Styles: Tudor and Enlightenment Gardens

During the Tudor era, especially in the reign of Henry VIII, English gardens began to develop a distinct style. The gardens during this time period followed the traditions of Middle Eastern gardens, which were often enclosed to offer protection from the heat. This idea was known as hortus conclusus (enclosed gardens). Tudor gardens would consist of several enclosed gardens that fanned out around the house. Knot gardens were popular during the Tudor era. This type of garden was often located near the house, so if you were in one of the upstairs rooms, you could look down on the pattern. Hampton Court Palace has some remnants of Henry VIII’s knot garden.

Source: Historic Royal Palaces English landscaping began to change in the eighteenth century. The style changed from formal enclosed gardens to embracing open spaces, and was known as the picturesque movement. Lancelot “Capability” Brown, the most famous landscape architect of the mid eighteenth century, used the natural features of the landscape to create his gardens. You can see this style in the sunken garden at Agecroft Hall.

As you can see, the gardens at Agecroft combine a variety of styles. This contributes to the history of Agecroft, as we see not only the variety of gardens that may have been at the manor while it was in England, but also the history of the gardens in Virginia.

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