The area around Newarke Houses was built as a religious precinct by the Earl of Lancaster and Leicester. It was called ‘New Work’ (hence Newarke) to distinguish it from the older buildings of the Castle and St Mary de Castro Church. The area has a rich and interesting history, intertwined with visits by legendary names such as Geoffrey Chaucer and Richard III. It was in this area during 1645 that the Parliamentarians fought the Royalists during the ‘Siege of Leicester’. The holes in the north garden wall were gun loops where muskets were positioned. You can discover more of the history of the area at the museum.
The picturesque museum gardens are laid out to show the development of small English gardens through the introduction of new plants over the last thousand years. The different sections within the gardens demonstrate some of the features of English gardens through the ages: The Chantry House Garden – plant introductions until1650; The Castle Wall Border – plants that were associated with myth, religion and superstition; The Rose Garden – rose cultivars from 1650 to 1850; The Apothecary’s Garden – plants believed to heal ailments; The Sundial Garden – plant introductions from 1650 to 1850.
Bring along a picnic or your lunchtime sandwiches and enjoy these serene gardens in the heart of the city centre.