Old monastery makes new medicine
It is fascinating to enjoy the history of plants. There is an original London Plane tree in the Botanic Garden of Oxford that gave rise to the common tree species that line many of London's roads today. By shedding it's bark continually this species is not affected by the pollution of the road traffic.
Other plants that linger in the gardens of old churches are often the remains of the monasteries that once stood on the site. Henry VIII famously dissolved many of the monasteries. The ones that were still standing had much potential for other uses beyond the banned worship they were once designed for.
Benefactors turned many old monasteries into hospitals and under Edward VI reign this Greyfriars monastery became a part of the Christ's hospital school. These old plants are likely to have been used for medicines. Many of the plants we enjoy in these gardens today were likely to be ingredients used by medieval healers.
The building is a parish church today. Repaired after a fire by the donations of the parishioners it is one of the oldest churches in the Capital.
Photo credits: Lita Doolan.
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