History

A brief history of the Garden of the Abbey and Convent

Covent Garden began life around 1200 AD when it was walled-off to serve as the orchards and farmland of Westminster Abbey. After being seized by Henry VIII, Covent Garden was granted to the Earls of Bedford in 1552.

They commissioned Inigo Jones to build elegant houses, the Italianate arcades of the market square and the church of St. Paul’s. The area’s cultural significance has grown over the years.

Theatres and coffee houses sprang up and Covent Garden became known for playwrights, artists, actors and painters. The market building was erected in 1830.