Gazetteer Project – Definition of Terms


This paper discusses:- Definitions of the things that are of concern to BGT ie gardens, parks, cemeteries, orchards and allotments.

This paper discusses:-

Restored gazebo at Moor Close, May 2010

1. Definitions of the things that are of concern to BGT ie gardens, parks, cemeteries, orchards and allotments.
2. The geographical scope within which these things fall.
3. Their temporal scope.
4. The attributes that define the data that we will be collecting about these things.


We have already agreed that the things that are the primary concern of BGT are gardens, parks, orchards, cemeteries and allotments.

In the rest of this paper term ‘garden’ is used to encompass all these things as a matter of convenience.

There is another level at which all this is vitally important: can we have a single entity or do we have to have five entities, one for a garden, another for a park and so on. This does sound rather abstract but the important thing here is that if we go for the former (ie a single entity) then, at the most basic level, we will use the same form for recording information on gardens, parks, orchards etc rather than using a different type of form, depending on which of these we are recording.

I personally think that the single entity approach is best, and this is what Parks & Gardens UK (P&GUK) have done, but I want us to be aware that this is a decision that has to be made.

(In the above, when I am talking about a single form, this is a bit misleading. There will have to be a second type of form for recording information on each of the significant components that make up a garden (eg a walled garden, a rose garden, a rock garden and so on). All these, however, are subsidiary to the single form that will record things like the identity and location of the garden).

Although a garden, park, orchard and so on may be part of the same entity we do have to be able to answer the question: what do we mean by a garden, a park, an orchard, a cemetery and an allotment?

Definitions of a Garden

‘A garden is a planned (designed?) space, usually outdoors, set aside for the display, cultivation, and enjoyment of plants and other forms of nature. The garden can incorporate both natural and man-made materials’. (Wikipedia)

Actually, as a straight forward definition I don’t think that this is bad. It perhaps excludes some modern conceptual gardens but I feel that it is a good starting point.

Here is another definition: An enclosed piece of ground devoted to the cultivation of flowers, fruit or vegetables and/or recreational purposes. This is then followed by 39 short definition of types of gardens such as : a cloister garden, a communal garden, a formal garden, a landscape garden, a quarry garden and so on.

This is all very workmanlike and is from the P&GUK Volunteer Training Manual.

I have one small quibble about this second definition, the word ‘enclosed’ is too restrictive and, I think, could be removed.

The more general point is that if we cannot find or create a set of stand-alone words that adequately describe what we mean by the term, a garden, then I would suggest we use something like the wiki definition but couple it with a list of types in the same way as P&GUK have done.

Definition of a Park

An enclosed piece of land, generally large in area, used for hunting, the cultivation of trees, for grazing sheep or cattle or visual enjoyment. (P&GUK)

I feel that the phrase ‘the cultivation of trees’ sits oddly in this definition and instead would prefer ‘generally large in area and wooded in parts” so that it becomes:

An enclosed piece of land, generally large in area and wooded in parts, used for hunting, for grazing sheep or cattle or visual enjoyment.

Definitions of an Orchard

A small plantation of fruit trees usually enclosed. (P&GUK)

An orchard is an enclosure devoted to the cultivation of fruit trees. It can be domestic or commercial. (Oxford Companion to the Garden, 2006)

Definitions of a Cemetery

The word cemetery, derived from the Greek for a dormitory, originally had the meaning of a churchyard but, with the laying out of burial grounds not attached to a church the term cemetery acquired a new meaning. (Oxford Companion to the Garden, 2006)

Not a definition but a fascinating insight at the way the meaning of words can shift!

An area of ground set apart for the burial of the dead. (P&GUK)

Definition of an Allotment

Gardens not attached to houses to provide space for urban dwellers to grow vegetables and fruit or to have small pleasure gardens. (Oxford Companion to the Garden, 2006)

A share or portion of land that is allotted to a person, usually used for growing food for the family to eat or cultivating flowers. (P&GUK)


We have already agreed that we should confine ourselves to the current administrative boundaries of Berkshire. If we come across anything important about a garden that historically belonged to an adjacent county, then we should inform them and we will encourage the same relationship between us and adjacent county trusts that historically were once part of Berkshire.


Our focus shall be on extant gardens but we will also include historically important ‘lost’ gardens.


P&GUK have done a lot work defining attributes when defining how information is to be collected. We will be taking this into account when we consider what information to record in our site investigation form.

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