"Aren't we worthy?" part of Women and Power

A century on from women achieving the vote, we're exploring the stories and impact of women and their influence on the gardens at Stowe. Throughout the year, help us choose great British women to sit in our modern day Temple of British Worthies, vote for your worthy women and return in autumn to see who was chosen.

A new point of view

We're asking you to help us shape a new point of view on the Temple of British Worthies. Originally designed in 1735, it has 16 busts of notable characters that Lord Cobham believed deserved commemoration, representing eight men of ideas, seven men and one woman of action. When you look along the line of famous faces you'll spot one thing, 15 are male and only 1 is a female, Elizabeth I. 

A visitor recently posed a question about female roles within the temple "Are we not worthy?", which has sparked debate amongst our team. In the year of Vote100, we're taking the opportunity to create a twenty-first century point of view on the Worthies. 

We're looking to create an installation in the garden, shaped by our visitors to Stowe, supporters online, colleagues and contemporaries alongside our local community to result in 16 new representations of British Worthies, 15 female and one male. 

" Worthy: a person notable or important in a particular sphere. Synonyms: dignitary, notable, nobility, celebrity, personage, famous person, person of note, pillar of society, leading light, somebody, informal VIP. "

The nominations round

Throughout March, you made nominations for a later vote to see who could be represented as a British Worthy via a ballot box at the New Inn Visitor Centre, polls on Twitter and Facebook, alongside email submissions. From the many nominations we've whittled them down to smaller groups.

Going to the polls

Voting polls will are now open until 30 June for you decide who will be honoured as a Worthy. You'll be able to cast your vote with a token at New Inn, on facebook, twitter and in the folllowing locations, drop by for a chat:

  • 10 May Banbury Market
  • 11 May Northampton Market
  • 18 May Castle Quay Shooping Centre Banbury
  • 23 May Intu Shopping Centre Milton Keynes
A bright sky is above the Temple of Venus at Stowe. The Temple has a centre room with portico and steps, adjoined to two curved wings of colonnades and pavilions. It's finished in golden coloured stone, with four busts in niches.

Have your say

The gardens at Stowe have hidden meanings from the classics to politics and poetry, relating these topics to famous people throughout the statuary. But who inspires you and deserves to sit amongst those none as a Worthy?

The golden statue of Venus glistens from the sunlight in The Rotunda, an open temple.

In town today?

Cast your vote with our team when you out. We're up for a debate to help you consider the nominees so you can cast your vote for your favourite heroines.

And the results are in

Once we've collated and annouced the results to reveal a new set of Worthies, we'll start the process of creating an installation. Each new Worthy will be created by 7 local community groups and the team at Stowe to be ready to displayed to the public in the gardens from 10 September to 9 November. 

Women of Stowe

Throughout 2018, we'll be weaving stories of the women of Stowe throughout your visit. The gardens were designed to demonstrate male power and influence on politics, but behind the facade lay influences of female vice and virtue, admired members of roaylty and muses. Look amongst the gardens and there are females around every corner, in the temples and trails designed by Lord Cobham to enlighten his visitors. 

Video

Lord Cobham's Pillar

Standing 115 feet tall, Lord Cobham's Pillar dominates the Stowe landscape from a 360 degree viewpoint, being seen from arrival and from many areas of the garden. On top sits a statue of Lord Cobham himself, surveying all his gardens to admire. With all this male bravado, you be surprised to learn it was commissioned by Lady Cobham as a birthday present to her dear husband. Sadly, he passed away during its build and never had a chance to see it completed, becoming a commemoration of his memory.

The golden statue of Venus glistens from the sunlight in The Rotunda, an open temple.

Girl power

If you're coming to visit to participate in "Aren't we worthy?", bring along the kids. We've made it easy for you to relate the stories women of Stowe with a trail to let little ones discover things in the gardens.

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Through the lens

A photographer's dream, it's easy to find an inspiring view when you visit Stowe. From monumental temples to nature's beauty, share your snaps with us.