After months of intricate work the Gothic Cross has returned to Stowe in its historic location in the Elysian Fields. After the Temple-Grenville family went bankrupt they sold off their monuments to repay debts, leaving the gardens missing important pieces of their story. We have been working with Cliveden Conservation to return a replica of the gorgeous Gothic Cross. This has involved casting hundreds of delicate pieces from original drawings and using them alongside surviving statuary. The work is now complete and the Gothic Cross proudly stands in its intended place for visitors to enjoy once again.
Restoring Stowe 2015-2019
The Landscape Programme
2015 saw the start of a new phase of restoration for the gardens at Stowe. The Landscape Programme comprises of 54 tasks taking place over five years to reinstate many of the lost temples and monuments that once ‘dressed’ the gardens like pieces of a theatre set whilst undertaking maintenance on structures and lakes. Highlights will also see the opening of parts of the gardens not currently open to the public.
What restoration work will take place?
This project will transform the gardens of Stowe with almost another 1/3 of the existing size being added and made accessible to the public, including the reinstatement of land currently used as a 9-hole golf course.
The Western Garden
The Western Garden will see the restoration and recreation of the Queens Theatre, the installation of The Wrestlers statues, and the Wood and Spinney being revealed. In the Grecian Valley many iconic statues will be returned to their places including Hercules and Boar; Statue of the Fane of Pastoral Poetry; The Grecian Valley Urn; The Circle of the Dancing Faun.
The Elysian Fields
The Elysian Fields, in part designed by William Kent, will see the return of the Temple of Modern Virtue – deliberately built as a ruin to show the degradation of the Walpole government, the Marquess urn, the statue of Apollo and the nine Muses as well as restoration work on the Shell Bridge.
Forever for everyone, how you can help restore Stowe?
The gardens at Stowe are lovingly cared for by a team of staff and volunteers. If you care passionately about the future of Stowe and enjoy seeing it develop through restoration, it's the perfect chance for you to get involved.
As a charity we rely heavily on support from volunteers. We have roles for gardeners, ha-ha wall restorers, bakers, administrators all of which help care for Stowe, raising funds to go back into the restoration of the gardens.
Ways to donate
Another way to get involved would be to make a charitable donation for our current restoration work, we are currently looking to raise vital funds of £648,000. Every donation will help make a significant impact on Stowe over the next five years and one that you can come back year after year and enjoy seeing it develop.
By 2019 as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the gardens, the completion of this project will have brought us considerably closer to our goal of restoring Stowe to its eighteenth-century heyday when visitors came from far and wide to marvel at their scale and splendour. Their influence began what later became known as the English landscape garden movement, which changed the face of landscapes across Europe.
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17 Jun 17
Return of the Gothic Cross
28 Mar 17
Gothic Cross Completed
Construction of the Gothic Cross has been completed and the footpath has now re-opened to visitors. Nestled in a small opening behind the Temple of Ancient Virtue, the Gothic Cross stands at over 4 metres and consists of 120 handmade pieces.
01 Feb 17
Gothic Cross construction
Construction of the Gothic Cross continues. Only the bottom sides of the cross survived a tree falling on it in the 1950's. We've used an original guidebook drawing, various photos and hundreds of fragments to recreate the cross in the original Coade stone used by the first Duke in 1814. It was built in memory of his mother who died in 1812.