Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

R. Malcolm Smuts

Second Advisor

Jane Becker

Third Advisor

Marion Pressley


Following England's break from the Roman Catholic Church in the early 1530s, Henry VIII became the political and spiritual leader of a new empire, England, as his understanding of God and his divinely appointed role as monarch underwent rebirth. Engaged in nationwide reformation of the English Church alongside a sacred re-imaging of his royal image, a dramatic reinterpretation of the English ornamental garden began with the creation of three innovative royal gardens at Hampton Court Palace. Stretching along the banks of the River Thames, the King's Privy Garden, Mount Garden and Pond Yard - immense garden areas covered in Tudor iconography - boldly declared a new ideological message celebrating a divine connection between the Tudor dynasty and God. Marking the entry of Tudor dynastic glory into the ornamental garden for the first time, longstanding religious associations between the ornamental garden and the Catholic Church were buried under layers of heraldic ornamentation as the English king claimed ownership of the ornamental garden.

This paper examines the design, development and creation of Henry VIII's Hampton Court gardens alongside the political and religious events of the early 1530s. Tracing the development of the ornamental garden from Ancient History through the Middle Ages and into the early Tudor reign of Henry VIII, the king's political, personal and architectural/design-related actions are examined alongside the development of the ornamental garden in England.


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