Constructed in Cotswold style in the sixteenth century and standing on a ridge above the river at Malmesbury, next to the famous abbey church Abby House was built as a residence for the family of one of England's most important Tudor clothiers. It was raised above the remains of a thirteenth-century building, still in situ, that was associated with the Benedictine abbey. Today, it's surrounded by some of the most beautiful private gardens in the country, which are open daily in season to the public. This is the story of Abbey House, a tale that begins at the birth of Christianity in the area, spans the Dissolution of the monasteries, and encompasses the renaissance of trade that succeeded it. The book describes the buildings that have been on the site, and the people who lived in them: entrepreneurs and tradesmen, politicians and soldiers, surgeons and doctors, nuns, aristocrats and landed gentry. It tells how the history of the nation affected Abbey House, and how the estate engages with the story of Malmesbury. Here too is a comprehensive description of Abbey House, inside and out; an exploration of how the gardens were made, and of each season in them; and an account of the many craftspeople whose work is represented throughout the house and the grounds. It tells how the now world-famous 'Naked Gardeners' got their name, and what naturism means to Ian and Barbara Pollard, the creators of Abbey House Gardens. It is illustrated throughout with the author's own photographs.
Mark Child is a historian and an architectural and topographical writer who has had many books published. He is well known for his articles over many years on towns and villages for Archant Life magazines, particularly Cotswold Life.