Angel Field Garden, at the heart of the Creative Campus, is a magnificent 21st century Renaissance-style garden, providing a place of beauty and serenity for contemplation and study.
Forming the final piece in the redevelopment of the campus, its fountains, performance amphitheatre, angel statue and beautiful, quiet reflective spaces are an award-winning oasis in the heart of the city.
The garden is named after the Angel Field farm which once occupied the site and was run by Jesuit priests from St Francis Xavier’s church. (poet Gerard Manley Hopkins was once a curate at SFX.)
The garden is the brainchild of the University’s Vice-Chancellor and Rector, Professor Gerald Pillay, who envisaged in his original document of 2006:
“…a renaissance-type garden with clipped hedges, buxus and yew.
“With the backdrop of the old church and the façade of the collegiate across the road, the cloister should be a safe place of serenity and beauty, inviting to students, staff and visitors.
“The garden should be designed to create easy movement to and from the two academic buildings with opportunities to sit or stop along the way.”
With the garden, the University has set a public place of beauty into one of the poorest wards in the country, hoping it will start a regeneration of the spirit, as well as the fabric of the area. That vision has been realised in beautiful and spectacular fashion.
A walk from the Capstone to the Cornerstone reveals contrasting areas populated by a series of stimulating quotations.
Origins is a belt of mature woodland with a circular pool and the words of St Thomas Aquinas: “Nothing is in the intellect that was not first in the senses.’’
The Body is an apple orchard set in a wild flower meadow. On scattered stones are the words of Pied Beauty, by local poet-priest Gerard Manley Hopkins.
The Mind features a performance area surrounded by hedges, pom-pom pines and a pool surrounded by Shakespeare’s immortal line: “All the world’s a stage/And all the men and women merely players.”
The Soul is a cloister adjacent to The Cornerstone building. An angel stands guard and, below, a quote from the book of Daniel: “He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.”