Obelisk in honour of Edward Willes, Jephson Gardens, Leamingon Spa erected 1875

Description of this historic site

Obelisk in pale grey granite erected in 1875 in recognition of Edward Willes' gift of Newbold Gardens (later renamed Jephson Gardens), Leamington Spa in 1846. Situated north of the Lake.

Notes about this historic site

1 Grade II listed. Obelisk. 1875. Grey granite obelisk on stone base. 3 steps to Neo-Gothic pedestal with pillars to angles with foliate capitals and arched panels carrying shields. Inscribed ‘Erected in honour of Edward Willes Esquire of Newbold Comyn to whom Leamington is indebted for the site of these gardens’. Edward Willes gave land for public gardens in 1836 as part of his Newbold Comyn development. They were known as Newbold Gardens until 1846 when renamed Jephson Gardens.
2 Erected in 1875 and situated north of the Lake. Pale grey granite. Base of “Derbyshire stone” and other stones. Colour photographs on page 39 of 1. the obelisk and 2. the base with inscriptions (i) original 1875 “Erected in honour of Edward Willes Esquire of Newbold Comyn” and (ii) added in 1879 “To whom Leamington is indebted for the sites of these gardens”.
Edward Willes gave various plots of land to the town. He placed covenants on his land by the river to preserve its open outlook, including the Newbold Gardens, former meadows which had been laid out in simply style around 1832 as walks for subscribers. The Willes family left Leamington in 1827. In 1846 Edward Willes, very ill, agreed to the neglected Gardens being acquired by the trustees and remodelled as a testimonial to Dr Jephson. From time to time the Leamington Spa Courier reminded its readers of the lack of any memorial to Mr Willes’ gifts. The Trustees of the Gardens finally obliged with an obelisk but refused to agree to any inscription which corrected the impression that had gained currency that the Gardens were the gift of Dr Jephson. When the obelisk was unveiled in 1875, the Courier pointed out that the plaque did not state why the obelisk had been erected. After Dr Jephson died in 1878 the Trustees offered no opposition to the addition of the second inscription referred to above.

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