Temple Lawn

The coronation of HM Queen Elizabeth in 1953 provided Lord Fairhaven with the opportunity to create yet another commemorative area, the Temple and the Temple Lawn.

The Temple is perhaps the most spectacular, and certainly the most monumental, structure within the gardens at Anglesey Abbey. It is very different in character from, but just as grand as, the Coronation Avenue, which had been planted to mark the enthronement of the Queen's father.

The site chosen for the Temple was an uninspiring hayfield known as the Six Acre - 'uneven, spongy and wet'. However, Lord Fairhaven felt the area has some promise and worked with its pleasantly irregular shape and the mature shelterbelt of beech, elms, alders, sycamores and willows which encompassed it.

The Temple, which was erected in this sheltered spot, was conceived as a great sculptural essay rather than an architectural structure.

Considerable thought was given to the position of the Temple within the field. It was placed in such a way that glimpses of it could be seen from outside the planting which encircles it. When the Temple was viewed from a distance, the observer would be tempted to investigate.

Massive concrete foundantions were required to support the columns the define the Temple.Each colunm, which weighs two tons, was lifted into place using only rope and tackle. The colunms formerly stood the the entracnce to Lord Chesterfield's London house, which was demolished in 1937.

At the entrance to te Temple two early 18th-century lead statues of lions bu Dutch sculptor Jan Van Nost the elder stand guard. Within the Temple Lord Fairhaven placed an early 20th-century marble statue of David readying his sling to slay the giant Goliath. It was copied from the 17th-century original by the great Italian Baroque sculptor Bernini.

Planting also plays an important role within the Temple Lawn, where three island beds, one with colours of grey and gold and two of strong reds and purples, provide colour in summer and winter alike.