Patron saint of gardeners has pride of place

L-R Reverend Keith Robus, Dr Ann Coats and John Phillipson with the statue
L-R Reverend Keith Robus, Dr Ann Coats and John Phillipson with the statue
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THE patron saint of gardeners will forever look upon a historic dockyard garden after a statue of him was put up.

The Friends of the Porter’s Garden in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard yesterday unveiled the latest addition to the garden – a small stone statue of St Fiacre.

St Fiacre is the patron saint of gardeners and taxi cab drivers.

The statue was commissioned for the garden by Southsea sculptor John Phillipson.

The Rev Keith Robus, the Portsmouth Naval Base chaplain, performed the unveiling ceremony yesterday afternoon.

Lorraine Carpenter, from the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust, said: ‘The statue was a special commission for the garden by local Southsea sculptor John Phillipson.

‘The statue of St Fiacre will be the third sculptural element in the Porter’s Garden, following on from the ship-shaped granite seats and the wall-mounted roundels.’

The garden’s ship-shaped granite seats were carved out of reused dockyard cart tracks by Roger Stephens.

There are also several wall-mounted roundels, which were also created by John Phillipson.

St Fiacre is thought to have been born in Ireland in the late 6th century.

He later sailed to France in search of solitude and he made himself a cell with a garden, before establishing a chapel and hospice for travellers.

All were welcome – except women – and St Fiacre is said to have accomplished miraculous healings of the sick.

His connection to taxi cab drivers comes from the naming of French cabs as Fiacres.

The Porter’s Garden at 
Portsmouth’s dockyard was designed in 1999 and is recreated on a historic site occupied from 1708 by the dockyard porter’s garden.

For more about the Porter’s Garden, visit portersgarden.hampshire.org.uk.