Sir Walter Raleigh’s secret Tower of London herb garden throws open gate to public

PUBLISHED: 13:01 23 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:01 23 October 2018

The 'lost garden' by the Bloody Tower. Picture: James Linsell-Clark/SWNS

The 'lost garden' by the Bloody Tower. Picture: James Linsell-Clark/SWNS


A ‘lost garden’ once tended by Sir Walter Raleigh before he got the chop is now open to the public at the Tower of London to mark the 400th anniversary of his execution.

Tending Sir Walter Raleigh's herbal garden at the Tower of London, now open to the public: Picture: James Linsell-Clark/SWNSTending Sir Walter Raleigh's herbal garden at the Tower of London, now open to the public: Picture: James Linsell-Clark/SWNS

The Elizabethan adventurer, one of The Tower’s most famous prisoners, had led a notorious life at Court after his return from exploring the New World.

He was a favourite of Elizabeth I, but became an enemy of her successor, James I, and was imprisoned three times, although living with his wife and family until he was eventually executed on October 29, 1618.

Raleigh lived in relative comfort, using the courtyard outside the infamous ‘Bloody Tower’ to grow plants from the Americas and experiment with ingredients for an ‘elixir of life’.

“The dashing adventurer is remembered for introducing tobacco from the Americas,” Historic Royal Palaces’ Dominique Driver said. “But, he also spent part of his life imprisoned at The Tower. The ‘lost garden’ explores Raleigh’s fascinating story, right where it all happened.”

The public can now explore the courtyard in the same spot where the original apothecary garden once stood. It features fragrant herbs, fruit and flowers and shows how they were used by Raleigh and his wife, Bess Throckmorton, to create herbal medicines and an insight into his days in the Tower of London.

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