Monsieur Bonnet

Posted on October 11th, 2008 by Sian Jones

Robert S. Myerscough writes: “It is known that Sir William Petty employed a gardener called Monsieur Bonnet, or Bonet, in the second half of the seventeenth century. This would have been the time Petty was completing the Down Survey of landholdings throughout Ireland.”

Bonet, who was probably a Huguenot, left Petty to go and work for the Earl of Meath, and was responsible for laying out the famous gardens of Killruddery, Bray, Co. Wicklow, from 1682, in the style of André Le Notre. Nothing else is recorded about this gardener, as far as we are aware, although his work at Killruddery is of a very high order.

We are fortunate that the Brabazon family, Earls of Meath, have maintained the gardens in almost their original state. A restoration was carried out in 1846, at the time of the Irish Famine, under Daniel Robertson, who also carried out other architectural work at the time. The present Lord Meath and his wife, have done much in recent years to bring back original features, and to maintain the gardens to high standard, although much work remains to be done over the coming years.

It would be very helpful to know if there are any records of Bonnet, to help in researching the history of the garden, and placing it in context with other possible layouts of the period.”

If you have any information then please leave a comment below.

Leave a comment