The Courtenays were only at West Horsley for about three years, so they may have done little or no structural alteration to the house. But a tudor garden with tiny box hedges and topiary shapes (the bare bones of which can still be seen) could well have been laid out at this time by the Marquess of Exeter's wife, Gertrude Courtenay. There is a reference to 'the Lady Marquis's garden', suggesting she may have been responsible for creating it. 

After the Courtenays' downfall, Henry VIII retained the house and estate for another eight years. We do not know if it was occupied at this time, or retained by the King as a convenient hunting lodge or stopping off place on his journeys. We know, however, that the garden still existed and was cared for, because two sets of accounts still remain relating to the upkeep of the garden during the last quarter of 1546 and the first quarter of 1547 when it was the property of the Crown. 

According to the bill, from the appropriately named 'John Gardyner, Keeper of the King's Garden at West Horsley' a total sum of £ 18s. 6d. was expended on the garden upkeep in the quarter ending Michaelmas 1546. This included the wages for John himself and for four labourers at 4d. per day, 3d. per day for weeders, 8d. paid to Richard Stynt for mowing the grass alleys and orchard and 10d. for two spades. 

A further bill for the quarter ending with Christmas, gives the added expenditure after the usual wages, for further wages for 'picking and weeding out the knottes of the privy garden, and of the mounte garden, and out of the strawberry borders and roseers border.' Strawberries in Tudor times were not like the cultivated ones today, but were more like our wild strawberries and were grown on low banks where people walked and could pluck them at will. 

Yet another bill of uncertain date, but it could have been earlier than the others, stated that the wages paid for 'setynge of knottes and strawberry borders and for carrying of soil and earth to make the knottes in the mounte garden'. There still remains a vague outline of a former knott garden and an old sundial in its midst is said to mark the spot where the Marquess of Exeter was arrested. 

The images above are illustrative and do not depict the gardens at WHP

King Henry VIII, after Hans Holbein the Younger c. 1537 © National Portrait Gallery