Fellows’ Garden

The Fellows’ Garden was an ancient walled garden on the site of the present Cripps Court.

Photo of Fellows Garden
The walls around the garden were probably built around 1667–1672 [AHUC, Willis & Clark, 1886, Vol. 2, p. 57], although the area was laid out as a garden perhaps as early as 1539, with fruit trees and recreational walks. [ibid., p. 56]. The walled garden can be seen in Loggan’s plan of 1688. In Hamond’s earlier 1592 plan, the garden appears to be surrounded by a fence.

In this photo, the wall visible behind the fruit trees ran parallel to the river, and the buildings visible behind are the riverside buildings of the President’s Lodge. The tall trees visible grew outside the garden, between the wall and the river.

PhotoA view of the garden in a similar direction, but taken from a camera position one planting bed further south and further away from the river.

The ancient mulberry tree can be seen on the right. Cuttings from this tree survived the building of Cripps Court around it, and the resulting tree still thrives today.

The first three photographs on this page are thought to date from 1932 [Pictorial History, Browne & Seltman, 1951, plates 126–7].

PhotoA view of the Fellows’ Garden looking away from the river, along the path at the southern boundary of the garden, beside the building which later became the old Fitzpatrick Memorial Hall, the shadow of which can be seen in the foreground.

PhotoPhotoTwo views of the Fellows’ Garden looking east toward the riverside buildings of the President’s Lodge, one spring evening.

By this time, the eastern half of the garden had been converted to a croquet lawn.

PhotoPhotoTwo views of the Fellows’ Garden, looking east through the planting beds on the west side of the garden, in summer.

In the right-hand view, the dark foliage far right might be part of the mulberry tree.

PhotoPhotoLeft: view of the Fellows’ Garden, looking north along the path beside the riverside wall.

Right: view of the Fellows’ Garden, looking south towards the Fitzpatrick Hall.

PhotoPart of the Fellows’ Garden and Fitzpatrick Hall ca. 1971, viewed from Fisher Building, looking north.

The ancient mulberry tree can be seen to have been towards the west of the site, roughly at the location of the present EE staircase, not at the position of the current mulberry tree outside BB staircase. The present mulberry tree grew from cuttings from the original, planted on the current site before building works began.

PhotoThe site of the former Fellows’ Garden cleared, ready for building Phase 1 of Cripps Court, on 1972 February 15.

The fragment of wall in the foreground, bottom right, is a relic of the former west wall of the garden, close to the location of the current College Bar.

Starting at the right-hand end of Essex Building, count two windows to the left, then track down: there you will find the present mulberry tree as a couple of stumps surrounded by a paling fence, while the building work went on around it.

The old Fitzpatrick Hall and gardeners’ buildings survived until the site clearance for Phase 2 in the summer of 1973.