London Parks & Gardens Trust

The Jubilee Walkway - Western Loop

Westminster Abbey - St Catherine's Garden

Westminster Abbey - St Catherine's Garden

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Directions

After visiting College Garden, retrace your steps into the Little Cloister. The entrance to St Catherine's Garden is on your right. There are steps down into the garden, but it can be seen from the Little Cloister.

If you are visiting this garden on Open Garden Squares Weekend, be careful to check the opening times.

Description

St Catherine's Garden has been created within the ruins of the old chapel, built 1154-61. The chapel was used by the monks as an infimary and was the only part of the monastery to have a fire, as only the sick really needed warmth! The raised bed now grows sun-loving plants such as cistus and genista, from which the Plantagenets took their name.

After the dissolution of the monastery in 1540, the chapel was allowed to fall into ruin and eventually pulled down. Besides its use as the infirmary chapel, many 12th- and 13th-century bishops were consecrated here, including Hugh of Lincoln (1186). It was here in 1253 that King Henry III swore to observe the privileges granted in Magna Carta.