Weʼre raising £250,000 to restore a c.1600 one of a kind arcaded wall at Church Gardens, Harefield.
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The page owner is responsible for the distribution of funds raised.
My name is Aideen McHugh and I have created this page in the hope that my parents dream of restoring this beautiful and unique wall may become a reality (during their lifetime!).
My parents, Kay and Patrick McHugh, purchased Church Gardens, Harefield in 1995. Church Gardens is the original walled gardens of the Harefield Place estate which are probably amongst the oldest surviving walled gardens in England, the walls date from the late C16th and early 17th Century. By 1995, the house and gardens were in a derelict state, after working on the property for 2 and a half years (whilst both working full time jobs) they moved in with their 3 year old daughter (Meave) and 4 week old twins daughters (Diane and I) in 1998.
Church Gardens consists of three walled areas; the kitchen garden, a smaller courtyard behind the main house, and a final much larger area comprising of a nuttery/orchard. This larger walled garden is one of the only surviving renaissance pleasure gardens in the country and includes a unique arcaded wall. It is believed that this mysterious wall was constructed sometime between 1601 and 1636 for Sir Thomas Egerton and his wife the Countess of Derby- the residents of Harefield Place at that time. The function of the arcade niches has been a matter of great debate. Locally it was believed to be a 'bee' wall (unlikely due to the size of the alcoves) or the alcoves could have been used to protect delicate fruits, like an early orangery or to display life sized statues. The most interesting possibility is that it was constructed as a backdrop for a performance of a masque called 'Arcades' written by the poet Milton with music by Henry Lawes which was written for the 70 year old Countess of Derby as an entertainment to celebrate her life.
Unfortunately, this beautiful piece of history has suffered from years of neglect and requires a lot of specialised repair work. We we love to be able to completely restore this wall back to its former glory so our visitors to Church Gardens can enjoy it as much as the former owners, however, a project like this is hugely expensive. Kay and Patrick have devoted their lives to bringing this garden back to life and now open the gardens for the public to enjoy. We hope this page will give visitors, who feel as passionately as we do about this restoration project, the opportunity to donate further towards it.
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Jul 4, 2021
Wonderful to see the work you have been continuing. Your vision and hard work have brought Church Gardens back to life.
Jun 24, 2021
Fantastic family. Keep it up. Super visit today with Chorleywood Hort Soc. Thank you
Dec 28, 2020
In recognition of the amazing work already achieved in the gardens and to help further the restoration of the wall.
Dec 5, 2020
Just a small contribution towards funds. We so enjoyed your talk last evening. Great to see all the family together. Good luck for the future. John and Sue Malcolm
Sep 1, 2020
Hope you get loads more donations for this worthy cause x
Aug 1, 2020
A wonderful project, such an awe inspiring amount of work you’ve all done and continue to do. I really enjoyed my visit and now have a list of friends that I want to see it too.
Jul 24, 2020
Wonderful, inspiring project, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit yesterday and marvelled at the amount of work you've already achieved. Here's to the future of Church Gardens.
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