Heritage Category:
Park and Garden
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
Holy Island
National Grid Reference:
NU 13650 41746, NU1362641932


Walled garden designed by the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, in partnership with the plantswoman, garden designer, and artist Gertrude Jekyll.


In 1902, Edward Hudson, owner of Country Life bought the C16 ruined castle on Holy Island and commissioned the young Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944) to convert it into a residence. Involved at Lindisfarne until 1912, Lutyens evolved and executed a garden design in partnership with Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932). Initially, Hudson's vision included a water garden, tennis court, and croquet lawn but the increasing cost of Lutyens' architectural scheme resulted in the existing walled garden being the focus of gardening activity.

Following research and archaeological excavation led by Michael Tooley in the 1970s, the garden layout, including paths, has been restored. The planting scheme has been reinstated according to Jekyll's plans, as far as practicable allowing for some plant varieties being no longer in cultivation. Jekyll's scheme is a microcosm of the typical techniques that she developed elsewhere for larger, grander gardens, using large drifts of plants set in irregular swathes and emphasising colour harmony.


LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING Holy Island, 9.6km east of the A1 and 30km due east of Coldstream, is a flat tidal island. It is linked to the mainland by a causeway, passable only at low tide. Lindisfarne Castle sits on a rocky crag, on the island's easternmost tip. It is visible from the opposite Northumberland shore.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES Lindisfarne Castle is approached from the west, the road leading eastwards from Holy Island around The Ouse. The walled garden lies across lawns, further east from the Castle. PRINCIPAL BUILDING The C16 castle ruin (listed grade I) was converted and restored by Lutyens to form a 'vision of passages hewn into the rock, of large vaulted chambers ' and of beamed ceilings - nothing vast like Castledrogo in Devon, but something equally romantic' (Pevsner and Richmond 1957). The Castle is now (2000) in the care of the National Trust.

GARDEN The 0.5ha walled garden (listed grade II), roughly quadrilateral in plan, lies 450m east of the Castle. Its curved, random rubble wall rises 3.6m high on three sides, the fourth is ramped down to the south to meet a lower wall 1.5m high. A central entrance of this south wall leads through a wooden gate set over decorative cobblestone paving.

The garden has a geometric layout, which Lutyens laid out using false perspective, so as to give it a larger size in appearance when viewed from the Castle ramparts above. Jekyll's planting design aimed to reinforce this perspective illusion. The National Trust reinstated the scheme in the 1970s.

The garden is laid out with random flagstone paving and formal beds. The central bed is surrounded by rectangular and L-shaped beds, the latter edged with stachys along the major north/south axis. Clumps of Clematis flammula are combined with groups of delphiniums, planned so as to allow for successive colour schemes. Some plants from the original planting scheme had survived, notably rose 'Zepherine Drouhin', Shasta daisies, Fuschia magellanica, and kniphofias.


N Pevsner and I A Richmond, The Buildings of England: Northumberland (1957, reprinted 1974), p 188 Lindisfarne Castle, Northumberland, guidebook, (National Trust 1975) M and R Tooley, Gardens of Gertrude Jekyll in Northern England (1982)

Maps OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed c 1860, published 1865 3rd edition surveyed 1922, published 1926

Archival items Copies of the Jekyll planting plans are held on microfilm (folder 91) at the NMR, Swindon.

Description written: April 2002 Register Inspector: KC Edited: July 2003


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:
Parks and Gardens


This garden or other land is registered under the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953 within the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens by Historic England for its special historic interest.

End of official listing

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