Tudor Garden

Oliver Cromwell’s Roundheads destroyed many of the world’s original Tudor Gardens, with neglect ruining those that remained. However, this beautiful form of fantasy garden has been recreated by Hamilton Gardens in the heart of the Waikato.

Positioned alongside the Waikato River, this traditional garden reflects the fascination sixteenth century English aristocracy had with geometric patterns and symbolism with double meanings.

The intricate knot garden is based upon the drawings by Didymus Mountain – the pen-name of sixteenth century writer Thomas Hill – and has been under construction since 2011. It is surrounded by mythical beasts, an arbour, Elizabethan wall and a stone pavilion based on the pudding house at Montacute House in England.

Traditionally the gardens provided an outdoor setting for fantasy plays or ‘masques’ while the pudding house hosted family who retired in the evening for a third course of fruits, quince, marzipan and sweet spiced wine.

A feature of most Tudor gardens were the beasts on green and white striped poles. None have survived and the only other known reconstruction is at Hampton Court. They include; a griffin, dragon, centaur, phoenix, unicorn, satyr, sea serpent and Bottom – one of the primary characters from William Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  They hold sculptural crests of some of the ‘rock stars’ of Tudor times including privateer and slaver Sir Francis Drake, who was notorious for his many plunderous journeys sanctioned by Elizabeth I.

The posts and rails in these gardens were covered in green and white stripes: the Tudor colours. The Tudor Rose on each flag was a combination of the York and Lancaster roses, the symbols of the two sides who fought in the long running The Wars of the Roses. 

The Garden will form part of Hamilton Gardens’ Fantasy Collection. 

Download the children's Tudor Trail activity sheet

Mythical Beasts


Donated by: Richard and Patience Izard
Shield: Sir Francis Drake (privateer, slaver, sailor) notorious for his many plunderous journeys sanctioned by Elizabeth I. The Spanish nicknamed him ‘El Draque’, the Dragon. He was the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe.


Donated by: Lillian Rose
Shield: Mary, Queen of Scots (reigned 1542-1567, then returned to Scotland and reigned until 1587) technically the last Tudor monarch. Mary had been the Queen since she was six days old to her beheading at the age of 44. She was accused of having her husband, Darnley, murdered.


Donated by: Margaret E Porter
Shield: King Henry VIII (reigned 1509-1547) famous for so many things. Henry VIII was known to be a very charismatic, intelligent, and cruel King. He had six marriages, some of which ended terribly. He is by far the most well-known of all the British monarchs.


Donated by: Crosby Family
Shield: Queen Elizabeth I (reigned 1558-1603) famous for the offspring of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. She was to be the final monarch of the Tudor Dynasty and was succeeded by James, the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, her cousin whose death she signed-off on.


Donated by: Graham Foster
Shield: Sir Francis Bacon (lawyer, natural philosopher, historian, writer, scientist) famous for being made Lord Chancellor of England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. He championed scientific methodology as leading thinker in natural philosophy.


Donated by: Elizabeth Williams
Shield: Sir Thomas More (lawyer, statesman, social philosopher, Lord Chancellor under Henry VIII, and humanist – also known as St. Thomas More) famous for writing Utopia and becoming Lord Chancellor of England.

Sea serpent

Donated by: Murray and Ann Day
Shield: Sir Walter Raleigh (writer, poet, soldier, aristocrat, privateer) famous for being a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I. His privateering on behalf of Elizabeth took him to the east coast of America, and North Carolina’s capital city is named after him.


Donated by: Lynn Foster
Shield: William Shakespeare (playwright, poet) famous for being the most prolific playwright and poet of the day. His works are still performed to this day.


Since the early days of Hamilton Gardens development in the 1970’s many individuals and organisations have contributed to the creation of the gardens. This generosity has continued with the development of the Tudor Garden; local community trusts have sponsored the main features, Hamilton families have sponsored the mythical beasts on poles and local companies have helped in different ways providing free or discounted services.

One of the most generous contributors is the E.B. Firth Charitable Trust which has sponsored the Tudor Pavilion.

Our supporting sponsors:
WEL Energy Trust – Elizabethan Wall
Vibrant Hamilton Trust – The arbour
The Lion Foundation
The Friends of Hamilton Gardens
Inspirit Studio & Gallery
Calgary Early Byrds

And our in kind sponsors:
Green Frog Sign and Display - www.greenfrog.co.nz
Foster Construction - www.fosters.co.nz
de Lisle Jenkins Architects - www.delislejenkins.co.nz
Artworks Bronze Casting - www.artworkscasting.co.nz