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Peterhouse, Cambridge


Features of Peterhouse Gardens include grass plots, paths and various flower plantings.

Loggan's map and view of 1688 shows Old Court with four grass plots centres on the Chapel entrance. Their planting is unusual: trees are planted in rows running east-west. The outer side of the plots have fastigiated trees forming four rows and between these a further two rows of conifers in the centre of the grass plots. All the trees are eight feet high.

The Fellows' Garden also has four plots with trees and an arbour. In the Grove a tennis court has been constructed (1571-72) along the west wall, as well as a dovecote and above the water gate a spectaculum with an upper floor to look out over the Fen Wall. This structure was demolished by 1859. To the south of the Grove, the College owned a large garden divided into four parts by wide cross paths. Each of the parts were filled with orchards and rows of vegetables, known as Voyle Croft, but shows as Peterhouse Garden in 1688. This became the Fen Garden in the 19th century and is now known as the Scholars' Garden. Since 1795 the two parts along the Trumpington Street were let to Christopher Pemberton who resided in Grove Lodge which is shown on the Custance map of 1798.

By 1775 Old Court was simplified by omitting the crosspaths, but lamp posts were installed at the four corners of the lawn, new lamps were erected in 1830 and later electrified. In 1985, new lamps replaced those removed during the Second World War. The ground's ambiance was achieved by 1841, when after the completion of the Fitzwilliam Museum, the College commissioned William Sawrey Gilpin to draw up plans. Gilpin's major work was at Scotney Castle in 1836 to create a picturesque landscape for Edward Hussey.

Today the Grove is called the Deer Park. Deer were introduced possibly in Gilpin's time and were kept until 1935. In 1940 the College turned the Deer Park into a vegetable garden and felled the limes along the path. Since the war, shrub beds and fruit trees have been planted with drifts of daffodils, aconites and crocuses beneath them.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

The first scholars of the Bishop of Ely arrived in 1284. But when Hugo de Balsham, the founder, died in 1286 he left money to build a Hall, and by the end of the century the College had expanded to Coe Fen and south from the adjacent churchyard of Little St. Mary's. Hammond's map of 1592 shows Old Court and outhouses where Gisborne Court stands, perhaps the cook's garden. The Fellows' Garden is shown containing eight trees and is enclosed by walls, and a Grove to the south has trees planted along some of its boundaries.


Tudor (1485-1603)

Features & Designations


  • Path
Key Information




Tudor (1485-1603)



Open to the public




  • Cambridgeshire Gardens Trust