The Bishop had a Palace… with a Garden

There once was a Roman city called Noviomagus Reginorum, which was entirely encircled within walls. No longer Roman, that city is located in the county of West Sussex where I now reside. Those walls are still largely in place, and in their southwest corner stands the Cathedral, together with the Bishop’s official residence known as the Palace. Not all bishops live in palaces – indeed, there are currently only 20 bishop’s residences which have retained that name in the UK, together with a smaller number in Europe – and even one in Texas! Chichester is the only city in my home county, and as such is its county town. I suspect this was of greater importance when counties had more a voice in government than they do now.

There is another cathedral in West Sussex – a Roman Catholic one (not to be confused with the conquering Romans) which is located in Arundel – also near where I now live. But today’s post is about the Bishop’s Palace Gardens which have been in place since 1147 in the Anglican cathedral of the city now called Chichester. I think that’s enough history…

We’ve visited before but, during the pandemic, it’s been an absolute oasis of calm. Once local travel was permitted, it provided a a beautiful change of pace and scene from our usual haunt – the Sussex seaside. Few people seem to know about it, and I’ve never known it to be at all crowded. What helps to keep the crowds away is there’s not much there in the way of amenities – just a lovely garden, with benches dotted about for sitting, reading, chatting, enjoying the planting and the quiet. Our most recent trip demonstrated how late spring arrived this year, but there was still a rather fine display of tulips…

I didn’t really have the right lenses with me to do justice to the gardens themselves, but here’s a little taste…

We had the briefest of visits between heavy showers, but it was so worth it. Photography is one of my mindfulness practices. I become totally absorbed in the process, and somewhere as peaceful as this, makes it a wonderful relaxing experience.

How do you decompress? Is there somewhere you go to get away from the stresses of life?

Β© Debra Carey, 2021

11 thoughts on “The Bishop had a Palace… with a Garden

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  1. Deb, I’m finding that more & more important as time goes one, especially of late. And thank you so much for the compliment on the photos – I was quite pleased with them.

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  2. What a sublime place. You are so fortunate to have that so easily within reach. I always had Sussex on my list of bucket list items to see, and now I have a specific place when I get there. Beautiful photos of the flowers. As hard as I try, I can never take closeups of them. Well done. – Marty

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  3. Marty, it’s not on the tourist trail, but I’d say it would provide a wonderful alternative to some of the busier and more frantic venues. The cathedral is quite something too. I struggle to get low enough to take closeups, but I do love a prime lens and they’re great for closeups with a blown out background.

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  4. I have visited once and was charmed by the place! To decompress, personally, I like the breeze in the mountains or the seashore! No real hilly areas here but plenty of bracing sea breeze πŸ˜‰

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  5. Charming is the perfect word Bon Repos Gites πŸ™‚ I’m a lover of the seashore too, and agree the mountains can also be quite wonderful. I spent a few weeks one summer in Zermatt. Having a morning coffee while looking out of a picture window at the Matterhorn is a cherished memory.

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