Alexander Pope, Pope's Seat, and Henry Holland white plaque in Sherborne
The poet Alexander Pope visited Sherborne Castle in 1724 and was so impressed with the gardens that he wrote a long description of them. He particularly liked the shaded walk to the 'venerable broken walls' of the Old Castle by the river, the 'natural cascade, with never-ceasing murmurs' and the views of the 'glimmering waters'.
Here there was a 'rustic seat of stone, flagged and rough, with two urns in the same rude taste upon pedestals on each side'.
The present structure dates from the late eighteenth century and was probably designed by Henry Holland, who was paid £30 10s in 1778 for a 'covered bench in the garden'. In 1780 the estates accounts record the castle mason putting the finishing touches to the 'Alcove in the Grove'. The Digby family called it Pope's Seat in honour of the poet.
Alexander Pope (21 May 1688 – 30 May 1744) was an 18th-century English poet, best known for his satirical verse and for his translation of Homer. Famous for his use of the heroic couplet, he is the third-most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, after Shakespeare and Tennyson.