Experts Discover Well-Preserved 16th-Century Garden in England

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. exceptional / ɪkˈsɛp ʃə nl / (adj) – excellent or good in an uncommon way

    The judges were amazed by the contestant’s exceptional performance.

  2. aristocrat / əˈrɪs təˌkræt / (n) – a person from a rich and powerful family

    During the Renaissance, aristocrats owned grand properties.

  3. flaunt / flɔnt / (v) – to display something with great pride, especially to make other people feel envy or admiration

    Millionaires who attended the party flaunted their expensive sports cars.

  4. manor / ˈmæn ər / (n) – a luxurious house on a large piece of land owned by a wealthy family

    The old manor used to belong to a noble family.

  5. glimpse / glɪmps / (n) – a quick experience of something that gives a slight idea of what it is like

    The ad gave us a glimpse of the new phone’s features.


Read the text below.

A group of scientists from Wessex Archaeology, an organization dedicated to studying history and heritage, has discovered a well-preserved garden from the 16th century in England.

The archaeologists discovered the garden while working near Birmingham. It measures over 300 meters long and features several plant beds and pavilions connected by stone paths.

According to English historian Paul Stamper, the garden was not recorded in any known documents or letters. Stamper believes that it is one of the most exciting Elizabethan gardens ever discovered. He said that because of the garden’s exceptional preservation, it may provide important information about English gardens from the 16th century.

The garden was found to belong to an aristocrat named Sir Robert Digby, who was a lawyer from the Elizabethan era. In the 1590s, Sir Digby married Lettice FitzGerald, a woman from a wealthy Irish family. The garden is suspected to have been built shortly after their marriage.

According to Stamper, the grandness of the garden shows Sir Digby’s high social standing. Scholars speculate that it may have been built as a way to flaunt his wealth, or that it may have been a gift to his wife.

In addition to the garden, the team also unearthed some remnants of Digby’s manor, including a large gatehouse. They also found other items that give a glimpse of the social status and lifestyle of the people who lived there, such as coins and smoking pipes.

Stuart Pierson of Wessex Archaeology said that working on the garden was a great opportunity. He added that Sir Digby’s manor may have served an important purpose in the past, based on clues from other luxurious gardens previously discovered in the country that had possible connections to English royalty.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Why do you think there were no written records about the huge garden (e.g. they were destroyed, they were hidden)? Discuss.
• What do you think are other things that have been lost in the past that we don’t know about (e.g. treasure, whole cities)? Discuss.

Discussion B

• What are some common symbols of wealth nowadays (e.g. expensive devices, designer clothes)? Discuss.
• Why do you think some people like to flaunt their wealth? Discuss.