—Battle of Hastings, 1066 —
The Duchess of Cleveland's Walled Garden
The walled garden is planted today with fruit trees, recreating the work of the Duchess of Cleveland.
The Duke and Duchess, who bought Battle Abbey in the mid 19th century, were keen gardeners. The Duchess cultivated apples and pears in the walled garden, along with mulberries, almonds and fig-trees, providing fruit for both the family and servants. Her head gardener planted many varieties, each ripening at different times, so that with careful storage there would be fruit to eat all year round.
The Duchess also used the walled garden as a peaceful private retreat, although sometimes the public found a way in, as she wrote: "I had swung an Indian hammock in a secluded place but found it speedily became a favoured resort - two ladies being not unfrequently swung in it together by an attentive cavalier".
English Heritage has replanted the Duchess' orchard with local varieties ('cultivars') available in her time. We have planted apple cultivars from Kent and Sussex, such as Wadhurst Pippin and Sussex Mother. The orchard also includes pear trees from England and North France, many of them trained along the walls. Mulberries (favoured by the Duchess) and quinces will also be grown alongside wild flowers and beehives, of a traditional design from
( photo caption )
- The future Duchess of Cleveland, eight years before the purchase of Battle Abbey.
- The local apple variety 'Egremont Russet', which has been planted in the orchard.