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An oil painting of a garden party at Buckingham Palace. Queen Victoria and Alexandra, Princess of Wales are returning to the Palace in an open carriage pulled by two grey horses; in the garden, on the left, the Prince of Wales is conversing to a couple in

Their history, form and function

The Moat Garden

The Moat Garden, Windsor Castle ©

The Moat Garden is found in what remains of the ditch that encircled the Round Tower, created when the Normans built the steep motte (or mound) with a keep on top. The keep was rebuilt in stone in 1180 by Henry II and was known as the ‘Great Tower’. The moat was dry and wild plants took hold of it. In 1319 five women were paid a penny a day to mow the nettles. By the end of the seventeenth century there is evidence the mound was being cultivated, and by the eighteenth century part of the ditch was in use as a pleasure garden. The Moat Garden as we know it today is largely the creation of General Sir Dighton Probyn, who lived in Norman Tower from 1901 to 1922. Sir Dighton was Keeper of the Privy Purse to King Edward VII and he introduced terraces to the top part of the steep slopes, the lower slopes laid to grass. The problem of planting on the steep site was overcome with a network of paths and steps. On the north side a rockery made of Norfolk car-stone was created, featuring a small cascade. The bottom of the ditch was laid to lawn, a brick pathway running adjacent to the outside wall. The garden continues to evolve under each occupant, and there have been new additions, such as the pond that occupies the south western part of the ditch, created in 1993 to cover over the base of a crane used during the structural works on the Round Tower.

Click on the items below to learn more about the Moat Garden.