Following an opening ceremony on Tuesday 15th March, the much loved Dean Garnier Garden, situated in the Inner Close of Winchester Cathedral, has now reopened to the public. A place of stillness and beauty, the Dean Garnier Garden has been shut whilst essential conservation work was carried out to the stonework around the door.
Generously funded, primarily by a grant from the Friends of Winchester Cathedral but also through contributions from the Friends of the Dean Garnier Garden, the stonemasons carried out repairs to the defective stonework around the door at the end of last year. The Garden was unable to open following an assessment of the entrance doorway by the Cathedral Stonemasons, who found extensive decomposition and corrosion which had dislodged some of the stonework.
Alison Evans, COO at Winchester Cathedral said, “Winchester Cathedral has always been a place of worship, hospitality and welcome, and it is wonderful that we can now welcome people back to the Dean Garnier Garden. Following essential conservation work, visitors can now enjoy this calming and serene place – whether it’s during a lunch break from the office or simply spending time with family or friends. This is a significant and important milestone, and enables us to restore and open up areas of the Cathedral for all to enjoy.”
As part of the opening ceremony, the Revd Canon Dr Roly Riem, Vice-Dean of Winchester Cathedral, said a few words to mark the completion of the project. Also in attendance were Winchester Cathedral staff, including the Stonemasons and Carpenters who worked on the project, the Chairman of the Dean Garnier Garden, Councillor Martin Todd, Trustees of the Friends of Winchester Cathedral and the Trustees and volunteers of the Dean Garnier Garden.
Also present was Elizabeth Wells, who, with her brothers, had given the door and railings in memory of their parents, Robin and Joan McCall, when the garden first opened in 1995.
Bruce Parker, Chairman of the Friends of Winchester Cathedral said, ”The Dean Garnier Garden is a delightful little oasis in the Cathedral grounds and, adjoining the Friends’ office, as it does, is a particular joy to us. We’re delighted, therefore, to have been able to provide funds for the complete restoration of the fine old doorway and masonry. Once again, our stonemasons have done us proud. Congratulations, too, to the Dean Garnier Friends for all the work they have put into the garden itself.”
Martin Tod, Chairman of the Friends of Dean Garnier Garden, and a direct descendant of Dean Garnier, said: “Our volunteers work very hard to keep the garden a special place and we’re delighted that these essential repairs mean the results of their labours are easy to access again. We hope people enjoy visiting the garden as much as our volunteers all enjoy working to keep it special. We’re very grateful to everyone who supported the project, in particular the stonemasons and carpenters for their meticulous work to repair the stonework and enable the door to be safely opened once again.”
Visitors can find the entrance to the Garden through the heavy wooden door from the Inner Close, up stone steps onto the raised ground. It is divided into three ‘rooms’: the Dorter Garden, the Presbytery Lawn and the Lady Chapel Garden.
Now that the work is complete, the Dean Garnier Garden will open from 9.00am until 4.00pm during summer weekdays and weekends, as well as winter weekdays. During winter weekends only, the Dean Garnier Garden will close to allow the garden to recover, ready to burst into life in the following Spring.