The Hanbury family bought Hylands in 1922. Sadly, in 1923, John Hanbury died, and Mrs Hanbury created the memorial garden. Each year on the anniversary of her husband’s death Christine would put just one red rose on the memorial.
In October 1939, their son, Jock, was killed in an aircraft accident over Surrey and a few days later many of those who had celebrated his wedding in 1935, came to the Garden for the interment of his ashes. It was a distinguished group, including the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, fellow officers from his squadron and a firing party of R.A.F. men who fired a volley over the grave.
As Christine grew older, her butler, George Marshall, would push her to the garden in her wheelchair. After her death in 1962, it was George who carried her ashes to the garden.
The memorial Christine Hanbury put over the crypt in the centre of the garden was of white marble and topped by Old Father Time, but sadly these were stolen after Mrs Hanbury’s death, and the memorial over the crypt was replaced by the black marble that we see today. The garden was kept tidy, but the original trees and shrubs had encroached into the garden making it much smaller.
Some 50 years later proposals for the restoration of the garden were put to the committee of the Friends of Hylands House who agreed to fund the project, which was to take place over many years. Work began with the beautiful ornate fence between the garden and the park, found buckled and twisted with shrubs growing through it, being restored by a local blacksmith. Other elements such as the paving are not original, but reclaimed York stone has been used to restore the garden to how it would have first looked, and the benches are replicas of the originals. The garden has been designed to be wheelchair-friendly so that all can access the space and enjoy the vista across the parkland.