Shropshire Star

Stunning Shropshire manor garden opening for charity

Gardens on the site of an historic Clunaic monastery will be open at the weekend, raising money for a nearby church.

Katy Tanner is getting ready to open Preen's garden for the Historic Churches Trust

Preen Manor, in Church Preen, near Much Wenlock, will be throwing open its garden gates to welcome visitors and raise money for the Shropshire Historic Churches Trust.

The trust raises money to provide funding to churches and chapels for essential repairs and preservation work, as well as encourage interest in the heritage of churches in Shropshire.

Preen Manor's gardens will be raising money for St John the Baptist church, which sits just next door.

Home to Katy and James Tanner since 2016, Preen Manor was once the site of a Cluniac monastery, established in the 12th century. The Cluniac Reforms were a series of changes focused on restoring the traditional monastic life, encouraging art and caring for the poor.

Katy Tanner is getting ready to open Preen's garden for the Historic Churches Trust

A huge overhaul of the Preen Manor site in the 1870s saw the monastic buildings demolished, and an elaborate garden and mansion (which was itself demolished in the early 1900s) built in its place.

Many elements of what was created in the 1870s remain, including mature trees, terraced levels, and a garden wall.

A comprehensive redesign in the 20th century created a plethora of 'garden rooms' with a wide variety of plantings, including a vegetable garden, pools and naturalistic woodland gardens.

The design includes a 'Chess Garden', where an old swimming pool garden was replanted and enclosed with hedges, and laid out with a chessboard pattern and giant pieces.

Two long pools sit within a wooded area to the right of the house, known as the Monks' Bathing Pools, which are fed by a natural stream running under a stone bridge and surrounded by yew trees and flowers.

The garden will be open for charity on Sunday, September 10, between 2pm and 5pm and entry is £6.

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