The sunken lawn on St Matthias Campus

Legend of the sunken lawn

The beautiful gardens and picturesque sunken lawn have always been the pride of the humanities students that have studied here, and has served as the site of many a picnic and prank.

History of the lawn

When the College was built in the nineteenth century, its architects attempted to make building costs cheaper by taking stone from the area, thereby creating the iconic feature.

Perhaps remarkable to UWE Bristol alumni, the students of the training college were forbidden to set foot on the sunken lawn, but some of the former trainees revelled in the opportunity to break this rule at the Farewell Weekend.

What lies beneath

It has been suggested that it may have been intended as a tennis court. However, student legend provides more captivating explanation. One prevalent theory claims there are catacombs beneath.

The lawn was rumoured some years ago to be at risk of collapsing if too many people stood on it. Exactly what is underneath the sunken lawn remains a mystery and the subject of intense curiosity and student legend.

By: Beth Middleton, UWE Bristol History graduate

Back to top