Manage episode 287976367 series 2530089
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A group of scientists from Wessex Archaeology, an organization dedicated to studying history and heritage, has discovered a well-preserved garden from the 16th century in England. The archaeologists discovered the garden while working near Birmingham. It measures over 300 meters long and features several plant beds and pavilions connected by stone paths. According to English historian Paul Stamper, the garden was not recorded in any known documents or letters. Stamper believes that it is one of the most exciting Elizabethan gardens ever discovered. He said that because of the garden’s exceptional preservation, it may provide important information about English gardens from the 16th century. The garden was found to belong to an aristocrat named Sir Robert Digby, who was a lawyer from the Elizabethan era. In the 1590s, Sir Digby married Lettice FitzGerald, a woman from a wealthy Irish family. The garden is suspected to have been built shortly after their marriage. According to Stamper, the grandness of the garden shows Sir Digby’s high social standing. Scholars speculate that it may have been built as a way to flaunt his wealth, or that it may have been a gift to his wife. In addition to the garden, the team also unearthed some remnants of Digby’s manor, including a large gatehouse. They also found other items that give a glimpse of the social status and lifestyle of the people who lived there, such as coins and smoking pipes. Stuart Pierson of Wessex Archaeology said that working on the garden was a great opportunity. He added that Sir Digby's manor may have served an important purpose in the past, based on clues from other luxurious gardens previously discovered in the country that had possible connections to English royalty.