Stoke Poges Memorial Gardens
The Memorial Gardens have been designed and maintained in a fashion for which there is no building, structures or monuments of any kind likely to remind one of a cemetery.
The parkland landscape which originally formed part of Stoke Park was laid out by Capability Brown and Repton. Much of the area survived until 1909 when the golf course opened.
Sir Noel Mobbs, Lord of the Manor of Stoke Poges, acquired the twenty acres of land to the south of the church in order to preserve the tranquil and rural setting of St Giles’ church, made famous by Gray’s poem ‘Elegy in a Country Churchyard’ and to have the land as a Memorial Garden, to be a ‘living memorial to the dead and of solace to the bereaved’. The gardens were opened on 25 May 1935 and their 80th anniversary was commemorated in 2015. The gardens are maintained and managed by Buckinghamshire Council.
The Memorial Gardens were designed by Edward White, a partner of Milner, White and Son, a leading landscape architect firm of the day. The Gardens were to contain no buildings nor monuments as in a cemetery, but were designed on a generous scale as a complete garden with small gardens and family plots. It was felt that the general appearance of the Gardens should offer satisfactory unity. There were and continue to be in excess of 500 individual family gated gardens. The gardens were refurbished in October 2001 with the contract focusing on the main structure and the formal parts of the gardens, including replanting using the limited plants used by Edward White in his gardens.
Some of the areas contained in the gardens are as follows:
- Rock and Water Features
- The Colonnade
- The Rose Garden
- The Rose Parterre
- Rock and Water
The Gardens are registered as Grade I Listed on the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Interest in England and are open all year round dawn to dusk.
Disabled access is available to most areas, weather permitting, but check on the map at the entrances. At weekends access is via the church and the side gate entrance.
‘Friends of Stoke Poges Memorial Gardens’ is a group, who support the gardens with fundraising and with practical help. To contact or join the friends, please email friendsofspmg.csb [Email address: friendsofspmg.csb #AT# buckinghamshire.gov.uk - replace #AT# with @ ]