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Abbey Park, Ely

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Description: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.

Grid reference:TL543801
Map reference: [ EPSG:27700] 5543, 2801
Identifiers: [ PGDP] Record ID - 6184

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  • [ Publisher] Parks & Gardens UK

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