Wonders and Marvels: Water, Intellect and Science in 17th Century British Garden

Course summary

Wonders and Marvels: Water, Intellect and Science in 17th Century British Garden


Held in association with The Gardens Trust

Seventeenth-century gardens were not only designed to delight and entertain, but also to foster intellectual activity ranging from quiet Puritan contemplation to cutting-edge scientific enquiry. The owners of several gardens near Oxford had social and professional connections with the emerging scientific community of the University, and also with the founders of the Royal Society. This weekend will explore different types and functions of gardens, from the frivolous to the scientific, and set a number of Oxfordshire gardens in a wider British context.

There will be a coach trip which will include an extended visit to Hanwell Castle on the Saturday afternoon. There will be some standing and walking over rough and potentially muddy ground. Please bring boots or stout shoes and be prepared for all weathers. There will also be an exhibition centred on the results of excavations in the park over the past seven years including many of the finds that have been made.



Programme details

Held in association with the Gardens Trust



6.00pm           Registration (for those who have booked for dinner)

6.30pm            Dinner

7.45pm            Registration (for those who have not booked for dinner)

8.00pm-9.15pm Seventeenth-Century gardens and their context - Speaker - DAVID JACQUES



8.00am           Breakfast (residents only)

9.15am             Edzell Castle : ‘Ane excellent dwelling, a great hous and a delicat gardine’ - Speaker - CHRISTOPHER DINGWALL

10.15am           The marvels of Raglan Castle, Wales: the water parterre and Edward Somerset’s ‘water commanding engine’ - Speaker - ELISABETH WHITTLE

11.15am             Coffee/tea

11.45am            The formal water garden at Tackley, Oxfordshire - Speaker - ELISABETH WHITTLE

12.15pm            Break

12.45pm           Depart for Hanwell Castle (packed lunches to be eaten on the coach) (Please bring outdoor footwear suitable for walking and clothing for all weathers)

6.00pm          Arrive back at Rewley House (approx.)

6.30pm            Dinner

8.00pm- 9.15pm  The Enstone Marvels: rediscovered and redefined - Speaker - STEPHEN WASS



8.00am           Breakfast (residents only)

9.30am            Francis Bacon: the empiricist and the garden - Speaker - PAULA HENDERSON

10.00am          John Evelyn and the Garden as a Scientific Elysium - Speaker - DAVID MARSH

11.00am           Coffee/tea

11.30am            The Oxford college gardens in the second half of the seventeenth century - Speaker - TOBY PARKER

12.30pm           Break / bar open

12.45pm           Lunch and course disperses




Accommodation for this weekend is at Rewley House for Friday and Saturday nights only.

Depending on availability it may also be possible to extend your stay, please enquire at the time of booking for availability and prices.

All bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms.

Unfortunately it is not yet possible to book twin room accommodation online, so if you wish to book a twin room, please send in your completed enrolment form or contact the Day & Weekend Events Office, Email: ppdayweek@conted.ox.ac.uk



Tuition (includes coffee/tea, coach & entrance charge): £153.00
Baguette Sunday: £4.70
Dinner Friday Evening: £19.00
Dinner Saturday Evening: £19.00
Hot Lunch Sunday: £13.50
Packed Lunch Saturday: £7.00
Single B&B Friday & Saturday Nights: £151.70
Twin B&B Friday & Saturday Nights per person: £108.70


If you are in receipt of a state benefit you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

If you do not qualify for the concessionary fee but are experiencing financial hardship, you may still be eligible for financial assistance.

Concessionary fees for short courses



Payment of fees must be made in full at the time of booking.

Please note that businesses and organisations can be invoiced on provision of a Purchase Order and completed application form. These can be emailed to ppdayweek@conted.ox.ac.uk




Mr Christopher Dingwall


Freelance Lecturer and Landscape Historian

Dr Paula Henderson


Independent architectural and garden historian

Dr David Jacques


Consultant on historic gardens, parks and landscapes

Dr David Marsh


Independent Researcher, Trustee of The Gardens Trust

Mr Toby Parker


Archivist, Haileybury and research student at University of Essex

Mrs Elisabeth Whittle


President, Welsh Historic Gardens Trust

Mr Stephen Wass

Director of Studies and Speaker

D. Phil student architectural History, Kellogg College, University of Oxford

Mr Michael Symes

Director of Studies

The Gardens Trust

Dr Paul Barnwell

Director of Studies

Dr Paul Barnwell is Director of Studies in the Historic Environment and Co-Director of Courses and Workshops in the Historic Environment at OUDCE.