Audley End House 17/7/20
Audley End was the site of Walden Abbey, a Benedictine monastery that was granted to the Lord Chancellor Sir Thomas Audley in 1538 by Henry VIII. The abbey was converted to a domestic house for him and was known as Audley Inn. It was a key stop during Elizabeth the First’s Summer Progress of 1578. The progress was to be, like her progresses to Cambridge and Oxford in 1564 and ’66, filled with scholarship, learned debates, and theatrical diversions. Writers and scholars from nearby Cambridge University used the occasion to write papers and speeches.
Gardens and grounds
The Capability Brown parkland includes many of the neo-classical monuments, although some are not in the care of English Heritage. The grounds are divided by the River Granta, which is crossed by several ornate bridges one of which features on the back cover of the BBC Gardeners' World Through the Years book, and a main road which follows the route of a Roman road.
With help from an 1877 garden plan and William Cresswell's journal from 1874, the walled kitchen garden was restored by Garden Organic in 1999 from an overgrown, semi-derelict state. Completed in 2000, it was opened by Prince Charles and features in a book presented to him on his wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles. It now looks as it would have done in late Victorian times; full of vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers which have been supplied to the Dorchester Hotel. It now boasts 120 apple, 60 pear and 40 tomato varieties.