No. 1070: French Place, E1
French Place, London, E1. Photo ©RogerDean 2014
London Parks and Gardens – The Honble Mrs. Evelyn Cecil, 1907:
London was a city of palaces in Plantagenet times, and the great nobles had their gardens near or surrounding their castles. Bayard’s Castle, facing the river for centuries, had its gardens, and there were spacious gardens within the precincts of the Tower when it was the chief royal residence in London, and outside the walls of the City fine dwellings and large gardens were clustered together. Among the most famous in the thirteenth century was the Earl of Lincoln’s, purchased from the Dominicans, when they outgrew their demesne in Holborn, and migrated to the riverside, where their memory ever lives under their popular name of the Black Friars. Minute accounts of the expenses of this garden are preserved in the Manor Roll, and a very fairly accurate picture of what it was can be pieced together. The chief flowers in it were roses, and the choicest to be found at that date, the sweet-scented double red “rosa gallica,” would be in profusion. It might be that, in the shady corners of the garden, periwinkle trailed upon the ground, and violets perfumed the air. White Madonna lilies reared their stately heads among the clove pinks, lavender, and thyme. Peonies, columbines, hollyhocks, honeysuckle, corncockles, and iris, white, purple, and yellow, made no mean show. The orchard could boast of many kinds of pear and apples, cherries and nuts. A piece of water described as “the greater ditch” formed the fish stew where pike were kept and artificially fed. Besides all this, there was a considerable vineyard. It was thought a favourable spot for vines, and the Bishop of Ely’s vineyard, the site of which is still remembered by Vine Street, was hard by.