The name Blenheim derives from a decisive battle that took place on the 13th August 1704 on the north bank of the river Danube, near a small village called Blindheim or Blenheim, where the French leader, Marshall Tallard, had fixed his lines.
Here John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough, won a great allied victory over the forces of Louis XIV, thus saving Europe from French domination.
In reward for his services in defending Holland and Austria from invasion by the French,a grateful Queen Anne granted to Marlborough the Royal Manor of Woodstock and signified that she would build him, at her own expense, a house to be called Blenheim.
The Formal Gardens of Blenheim Palace owe much to the 9th Duke of Marlborough who, in the 1920’s, with the help of the French landscape architect Achille Duchêne, redesign ed the previously uninspiring gardens to provide the Palace with the formal majestic setting that visitors see today.
From the magnificent Water Terraces, designedaround the Bernini river-gods fountain,to thebeautiful Italian Garden centering on the Mermaid Fountain designed by Waldo Story, the formal gardens of Blenheim providea sumptuous setting, reminiscent of the grand chateaux of France and Italy
The Italian Garden, with its sheltered position between the east wing and the south facing orangery, is a delight.
Focusing on the Mermaid Fountain, set in the middle of patterned beds with dwarf box hedges, the garden is pleasing at all seasons and never more so than when the orange-trees are in bloom, the fountain is playing and the pink rose called Caroline Testout scents the south-east corner.