FYDELL HOUSE GARDEN
The history of Fydell House garden predates the house by several centuries. Open and not hedged in, there were pastures going down to the Maud Foster Drain. They had been owned by the Corporation since 1554 and appear to have been horticultural land attached to St Mary’s Guildhall.
A plan of the present house is shown in a document of February 1707, when the Jacksons bought the land from the Corporation for £20. In February 1708 Mrs Jackson’s son Israel died and the house and garden were transferred to her favourite grandson Samuel Jackson. He sold the house to Joseph Fydell, including the adjacent wine cellars, (now the Haven Gallery). Downspouts were stamped with his initials and the year of purchase, and the property named ‘Fydell House’.
Joseph had no interest in the house’s origins and any documents in his possessions were lost. On his death his nephew Richard bought the house from Joseph’s trustees. In 1739 he became an Alderman and a Mayor of Boston (also in 1753 and 1776) In 1740 he married an heiress Elizabeth Hall and became a wine merchant. He leased the extensive Corporation land at the rear of the house.
In 1762 the Witham Drainage Act was passed to drain and enclosed the common fen land west of Boston, with Richard as a senior commissioner of the Witham Drainage Board. In 1769 he swapped land with the Corporation to buy the leased land behind Fydell House stretching from the Bar Ditch to Greyfriars. He died in 1780 and Thomas Fydell inherited the estates. From 1812 the house and land were leased to tenants.
Over the centuries the lands were built over and John Adams Way driven through the middle, losing views of the drain. In 1934 Canon Cook and John Sutcliffe raised support to establish a Boston Preservation Trust. They saved Fydell House from being demolished to create an access road to a new housing estate. In July 1935 Boston Preservation Trust was incorporated. The house and garden was bought for £1,600 with 10% raised from subscriptions and the rest on a mortgage.
And so to the 1990s, Lincolnshire County Council decided to withdraw its support for Fydell House, then a centre for education, and the trustees had to decide what to do with the garden. The County Council had mowed the grass and kept the beds tidy, that was all. The Chairman of the trust John Cammack knew this was an opportunity not a disaster. He designed Mr Fydell’s Garden, a recreation of a Georgian town garden. Using yew he made buttresses and arbours and box parterres using dutch themes. He and his wife spent many hours taking cuttings to increase the plants. With the connections with Sir Joseph Banks and the New World, Alison Fairman researched Australasian plants suitable for a walled garden. A grant was obtained from a foundation and money raised from Classic FM’s visit. The garden was planted and flourishes to this day. The Australasian plants have not flourished.
Volunteers care for the garden and do a magnificent job. It has been a showpiece for topiary and Boston in Bloom gaining Royal Horticultural Society plaudits.