Mount Grace Priory, House and Gardens in North Yorkshire is firmly on the map as a great all-round destination now that English Heritage has completed a £1.3m re-design and upgrade of its gardens.
An Arts and Crafts garden, designed by celebrated gardener Chris Beardshaw, is among the new features of the revived attraction and other garden highlights include a newly-planted monk's cell garden which is believed to be the only example in the country.
Chris Beardshaw, took inspiration from the Arts and Crafts style established at Mount Grace by the Victorian industrialist and patron of the arts, Sir Lowthian Bell. He lived in the manor house, which was once the abbott’s guest house of the original Carthusian monastery. Bell's granddaughter, the spy and traveller Gertrude Bell, also spent weekends at Mount Grace.
The gardens in front of the house now link with its interiors and feature an array of Iris, Peonies, ferns, Azaleas, Hostas, Primulas and rarities such as Chilean fire bush. Beyond the house, the ruins of the monastery now feature a new Monk's Cell Garden, created using monastic records and archaeology to research the original 15th century layout.
The Carthusian monks who lived at the priory in medieval times lived in individual cells, silent for all but an hour a week. Their cell garden was an important part of their way of life. The planting which ranges from roses to mandrake was designed to fulfil the garden's four purposes: contemplation, medicine, utility and beauty.
Each monk would grow medicinal herbs and vegetables to supplement the food provided by lay brothers, as well as flowers to create his own 'heavenly paradise'. Sitting in its historic position, alongside a previously re-created cell, the re-introduction of this special garden means Mount Grace Priory now hosts the only authentic monk's cell garden in England.
With accessible pathways, restored wild flower meadows and a new café overlooking a replanted orchard, Mount Grace Priory, House and Gardens is now a fully-fledged groups-friendly destination.
Where to find it
Mount Grace Priory, House and Garden, Staddlebridge, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL6 3JG
Telephone: 01609 883494
Website: click here
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