This glorious Cedar of Lebanon stands in Murray Park, Whitton and is the last of a grand avenue of trees dating from the 18th century.
This Cedar is thought to have been planted in the 1730s by Archibald Campbell, Lord Illay, later the 3rd Duke of Argyll when he built the Whitton Dean Estate for his mistress Elizabeth Anne Williams. The estate’s Palladian villa matched the early designs of Marble Hill House where Campbell had acted as an agent for the Prince of Wales to acquire the land for Henrietta Howard.
The 3rd Duke of Argyll was born in Ham House and lived on a 26-acre estate at Whitton Park, adjacent to Whitton Dean. Argyll was dubbed the ‘treemonger of Whitton’ by Horace Walpole for importing many exotic trees for his estate including the Cedar. Many
such specimens were moved upon his death to what is now Kew Gardens but a couple survive on the site of the former Whitton Park estate in the Old Latymerian’s sports ground.
The Whitton Dean mansion was demolished in 1847 and part of the estate was saved from development as a ‘Park for the People’ by councillor James Wills in 1914 and named Murray Park after Charles Murray who had previously owned the site. The mansion’s stables remained until 1935 when it was replaced by the present Murray Park Community Hall. The Cedar was one of a pair until recent times but the other was tragically lost in the 1990s.
The three common variants of Cedar tree can be identified through their foliage using the following method. Lebanon: level, Atlas: ascending; Deodar: drooping.
Habitats & Heritage supports the work of many friends groups including the Friends of Murray Park. You can learn more about the history of the Whitton Dean estate by visiting the Museum of Twickenham website.