Edmund Blyth - Visions of a Cathedral

Hornbeam Avenue

Born in 1898, Edmund Blyth served in the infantry in World War I and suffered the loss of dear friends Arthur Bailey and John Bennett, who died in the March retreat of 1918. He wanted to create a lasting legacy for his comrades-in-arms who were no longer with him. From 1930-1939, with the help of just one man, Albert Bransom (1872-1940), Mr Blyth began planting.

Edmund k. Blyth in his army uniform

Edmund initially purchased 2 cottages in Whipsnade, to be used as holiday homes for poor London families.

By 1930 another WWI comrade, Francis Holland had been killed in a car crash and Blyth felt that all his friends deserved something more worthy in their memory. That autumn, he and his wife drew his inspiration from a visit to the unfinished Liverpool Anglican Cathedral.


" This interested us very much, with the beauty of its design and the colouring and craftsmanship of its pink sandstone. As we talked of it we thought what a wonderful and inspiring thing it must be for the workers to be engaged on."
- E.K. Blythe 1940
" We talked of this as we drove south through the Cotswold Hills on our way home and it was while we were doing this that I saw the evening sun light up a coppice of trees on the side of a hill. It occurred to me then that here was something more beautiful still and the idea formed of building a cathedral with trees."
- E.K. Blythe 1940