At 8.30am on Saturday 28th January 2017, Parham quietly celebrated a special anniversary. 440 years ago to the day, on 28th January 1577, little Thomas Palmer, the 2 1/2 year old grandson of Robert Palmer (whose estate Parham became after the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII) laid the foundation stone of the current House. It was considered good luck to ask a child to perform this ceremony – how lucky that after 440 years the House is still thriving, and giving pleasure to thousands of visitors each year!
Lady Emma Barnard was joined by her husband James, and by Head Gardener Tom Brown, as well as Woodsman Jim Mitchell, who has worked on the estate for 50 years and was recently awarded the Royal Forestry Medal for long service.
Also celebrating the planting of the tree was Parham’s Warden, Valerie Myers, who has lived at Parham all her life and, like Lady Emma, remembers a monkey puzzle tree in the same place in the Pleasure Grounds. Sadly, this had to be felled after the damage it endured in the Great Storm of 1987, so it is good to think that an old tradition is being renewed, for everyone to enjoy for years to come.