Barnwells Garden history begins with the Pitt-Rivers village sale of 1919. Four
cottages in Abbey Street, from the Pitchmarket to Barnwells made up lot 38. They
were sold to a Mr Tite for £420. Joseph Benwell Clark (JBC) then bought
Barnwells from Mr Tite for the sum of £300. The house was tenanted by Mr Short.
The "garden" was smaller than it now is and contained a Stable, a Galvanised
Iron Extension, a Piggery and a Fowls' House.
|Lot 38 sold to Mr Tite in Pitt-Rivers Sale of 1919||Fraction of Lot 38 sold to J B Clark 1920
JBC had drawn up a plan for the garden by October 1920.
However he did not retired until 1921 when he was unable to move into the house
because Mr Short refused to move out. JBC and his sister moved into the cottage
adjoining the Old Manse (where his brother lived) on November 25 1921. By
January work had started on Barnwells garden.
In April 1923 he bought an additional parcel of land from
his neighbour, Mr Whittle, for £40 so that the garden extended behind the stable
Southward to adjoin his brother's garden at the Old Manse. The garden now
totalled a modest 1/3 acre. JCB was at last able to move into Barnwells on 1
|Barnwells Garden after addition of parcel
of Mr Whittle's land
|Plan of garden.
The garden is in the Arts and Crafts style. There are a
series of rooms defined by walls and hedges. The best known gardens of this
style are Hidcote (begun in 1907) and Sissinghurst (1930) so Barnwells is a
quite early example of the style and possibly the smallest surviving. JBC taught
at the Slade Art School and so there are connections to the Bloomsbury set and
hence Vita Sackville-West and Lawrence Johnston, but at present there is no
decisive proof that he knew of these other gardens.
JBC planted a beach hedge, lilac trees grown from cuttings,
Yews for Topiary and fruit trees that remain in the garden. Also still in the
garden are some atifacts, such as a garden roller he bought in Febuary 1925, and
a sundial he fashioned from an old stone garden roller in 1927.
|View of Inn Yard Garden looking back to St Mary's church. 1927||Joseph Benwell Clark with his sundial. 1927
JBC died in 1938 but his sister Alice continued to live at Barnwells until she
died in 1954 after which the property was bought by Mr and Mrs Moore for £3,500. Lance Moore died
in 1966 but his wife Cecily continued to live at Barnwells. The garden was amongst the group which started "Open Gardens"
in 1974 to raise money for church bells. It is believed to have been open on every occassion since.
Cecily Moore's daughter and son in law lived in Swanage and managed to keep the Yew topiary in shape until Cecily
moved to a nursing home in 1983. Barnwells was then bought in 1984 for £72,500 by Bob and Sue Foulser
who began to care for JCB's garden which was slowly being lost.
Borders have been refreshed. Lavender and box hedging intoduced to provide a clearer room structure. JBC's sundial has been moved because it was under the shad of an apple tree (since lost in gales).
A festigiate juniper was planted in the small topiary garden behind the stables to give an Italian feel - this was fortunate because JCB's diary later revealed that he calledd it his Italian garden!
Two new gardens have been created on what was, in 1984, the vegetable patch beside JCB's Italian garden.