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Abbey Park, Ely


Features of Abbey Park include a path, a summerhouse and various tree plantings.

To the north is an enclosed meadow with several mature trees sometimes referred to as the Dean's Garden. The remaining area to the south is grassland with a mound-Cherry Hill-the remains of a 12th-century castle belonging to the bishops of Ely. Speed's map of 1610 shows Cherry Hill surmounted by a windmill, and a print by Samuel and Nathaniel Buck in 1743 shows Cherry Hill with the name Mill Hill surmounted by a stump.

In 1779 James Bentham, a minor canon of Ely, planted the whole mound with trees, walnut, pear and probably some cherry and built a path which wound to the summit. Here he placed a classical column bearing the inscription (in Latin): ‘that these might benefit from another age'.

In 1872 John Bacon, Clerk of Works to the Dean and Chapter, noted that: ‘large parties would sit on the grass in circles while they enjoyed the red, white, and the black heart cherries' on Cherry Sundays, which were celebrated in Ely in July each year. In 1897, Dean Merivale according to a further inscription: ‘planted an oak in the grove'. At the turn of the 20th century, a summer house was placed on Cherry Hill. In 1982 the path and hill were cleared of vegetation and the column restored.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Access contact details

This site is a public park.


Abbey Park lies south of the Cathedral precincts on sloping land between The Gallery and Broad Street, and is divided by an east-west path.


  • Late 18th Century
  • 18th Century
Features & Designations


  • Path
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Summerhouse
  • Earliest Date:
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Key Information






Late 18th Century



Open to the public


Civil Parish




  • Cambridgeshire Gardens Trust

Related Documents
  • CLS 1/60/307

    Garden Management Plan - Hard copy

    The Landscape Agency - 2007