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Old Testament

The main feature in the garden from the Old Testament is the Jesse Tree.

Jesse was the father of David, Israel’s greatest king. The idea of a Jesse tree comes from Isaiah 11:1-2

    A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; 
           from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 

    The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— 
           the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, 
           the Spirit of counsel and of power, 
           the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.

Jesus was born a thousand years after David, as a shoot from the same family tree.

A Jesse tree tells the story of the Old Testament, beginning with symbols of creation and ending with the birth of Jesus. Jesse trees are often constructed by families as part of their Advent celebrations as an alternative to the Advent calendar, with a symbol added to a home-made tree on each day in Advent. 

Depictions of a Jesse tree can be found in stained glass windows of many churches, as well as in paintings and carvings. 

Our garden has a sculpture of a Jesse tree as a central feature. Designed and constructed by Christopher Lisney, the tree and each individual symbol of it is constructed in hand worked and forged steel. The sculpture is galvanised to provide a strong weather and rust resistant finish. This has then been patinated to produce ‘weathered lead’. Our tree has 22 symbols.

Educational material based on the tree has been produced. The tree was unveiled by Sir Michael Spicer at our Open Day on September 26th 2009. 

The Jesse Tree Symbols


 1. The world
 2. Apple and serpent
 3. The ark
 4. The ram
 5. Jacob's ladder
 6. Coat
 7. Ten Commandments
 8. Lamp
 9. Harp
 10. Shepherd's staff
 11. Crown
 12. Raven
 13. Word of God
 14. Scroll and candle
 15. Church
 16. Angel with candle
 17. Altar
 18. Lily
 19. Carpenter's tools
 20. Bethlehem star
 21. Birth of Jesus
 22. Chi Rho
 
 The birth of life
 Adam and Eve
 Noah and the flood
 Abraham and Isaac
 Jacob and his dream
 Joseph and his coat
 Moses and the law
 Samuel and the word of the Lord
 David
 Symbol of shepherds
 Wisdom of Solomon
 Elijah and the raven
 Jeremiah
 Isaiah
 Nehemiah the builder
 Angels
 Zechariah and Elizabeth
 Virgin Mary
 Joseph of Nazareth
 Symbol of Bethlehem

 Christ our Lord