Saturday, July 7, 2012

Stained Glass Glory

I love seeing light stream through a stained glass window.  What is neat about this particular window is that it is housed in the London Garden Museum, which was once the medieval and Victorian church, St. Mary’s at Lambeth.  This is a salvation story you should hear.  If you are intrigued by my nutshell version, you can click the links and delve in further.
The story begins in 1062 when the first incarnation of the church was built of wood on this site near the Thames.  It existed as a church for hundreds of years and then as the area slowly degraded, the church was deemed redundant.  Set for demolition, the building's course veers dramatically when it was rescued in 1976. (You can read through the timeline here.)

In 1976, Rosemary Nicholson arrived at the overgrown church yard looking for the tombs of John Tradescant (c.1570-1638), the man acknowledged to be the first great gardener in British history, and his son of the same name (c.1608-1662).  She found their tombs, but what she also discovered was that the desconsecrated church was boarded and set to be demolished. 

Unwilling to let this piece of British (and gardening) history be lost, Rosemary and her husband, John, set out to save this church building and tombs (with its 950 years of documented British history) by gathering supporters, volunteers and funds to establish the Tradescant Trust in 1977.

This trust was responsible for the restoration and revitalization of the church and currently oversees the building and its grounds.  The trust ended up founding the world's first museum of garden history.  

Go Rosemary! Thank you for your vision and dedication to preserving this fantastic and historic site.  I walked through the garden, poured over the antique garden implements displays inside and bought my share of souvenirs.  I am writing a new book (A Delightful Tour of England) and will send my readers to visit the Museum of Garden History.  I blogged a bit about the inside of the museum here.   

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