Masters Garden

Masters Garden, from aboveThe current garden was created between 1926 and 1929 at the instigation of the then Treasurer, George Hutchinson.  It was made for the use of students, who up until then only had regular access to the Meadow. It occupied the east part of the Priory House Garden and an open area at the west of Merton field; this made a large rectangular space, enclosed with a new stone wall.  Detailed planting plans from this time show shrub planting and arts and crafts style herbaceous drift planting in four long borders. 

Planting in the Masters GardenThe character of the 1920s garden survives, with subtle changes to planting.  Some areas of planting have been renewed, for instance the west facing border has been replanted as an impressive herbaceous border, punctuated by Irish yew.  The south facing border is bounded by a low wall and is set forward from the boundary wall (part of the city wall). This border was designed as an herbaceous border with some exotic shrubs (Phormium, Yucca etc) and is currently a shrub border. The east and north facing borders are still planted with shrubs. 

There are a few small ornamental trees including two mature mulberries in the North West corner and a large sycamore near the entrance to the south west. 

This is a semi public garden, used by Christ Church students for part of the year for quiet recreation and playing croquet.  It is also used for events including the triennial Commemoration Ball, wedding receptions and garden parties.

The origin of the garden’s name remains a mystery, as Christ Church does not have a Master. Contrary to the traditional story, the garden was not won from Corpus Christi College in a poker game.

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