Cedars Park Celebration Gates

with Key Events in the History of the Park's Grounds


The gates at the main pedestrian entrance of Cedars Park were installed in 2002 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II's reign. Bronze roundels depict key historical events and figures in the grounds' history. Many public parks had features commissioned for this special event, recognised throughout the British Empire, however Cedars Park's is perhaps the most significant outside of the Royal Parks, as being the grounds of the former Theobalds Palace – a much-loved holiday home for Queen Elizabeth I, which later became King James I's favourite estate and hunting grounds, where he lived for most of his later life.


The park has always had an impressive arboretum. The large London Planes are estimated to have been planted during the period when Elizabeth I stayed at Theobalds.

Theobalds was renowned for its water features, most notably the Fountain Court.

As Elizabeth I's Chief Advisor, Sir William Cecil accommodated the Queen on these grounds on at least fifteen occasions.

Cecil purchased Theobalds in 1563.

John Gerard was Superintendent of Theobalds' gardens from 1577 to 1598.

The Queen's second visit in 1571 was her first following an extensive refurbishment and expansion of the estate, which turned the large house into what may be regarded as a palace.

Following Sir William Cecil's death in 1598, his son Robert inherits Theobalds.

James I presumably inherited Theobalds on Elizabeth I's death in 1603, as he made his first recorded visit the same year.

Theobalds Palace had a menagerie (Cedars Nature Centre continues to operate today).


James I died at Theobalds on 27/3/1625.

Charles I inherited Theobalds on King James's death.

The Civil War began in 1642, and the lead from the roofs at Theobalds was sold to support the troops.

A survey of the property deems it to be in excellent condition and not fit for demolition, however this was misread and a large portion was destroyed.

The estate was granted to George Monck in 1661.

In 1763, George Prescott began building "Theobalds Park" (now on opposite side of A10).

The Meux family first rented Theobalds c. 1820.

Admiral Sir Hedworth Meux generously donated his grounds in 1919 as a public park called The Cedars (he changed surname from Lambton in 1910).

"The Cedars" was opened to the public on 2 July 1921.

The Royal Artillery used Theobalds Park during WWII (presumably for training).

Depicting a large Cedar tree, and the Flint Arch.

Queen Elizabeth II. (These are 'modern art' plaques, hence the rather ghastly portraiture!)