Norman Court

No. 2 On The Map

Norman Court

The walled Norman Court is located at the end of the path from the Norman Arch entrance into the Bishop’s Garden. Through an ancient stone arch, it leads out to the Bishop’s Lawn. A fountain is centered on the back wall of the Norman Court, and a 15th century bas-relief panel is placed within a side wall.

The Norman Court was designed by Florence Bratenahl and completed in 1928. The Norman arch, from a 12th century ruined monastery in France, is made of Caen limestone. The arch, along with the 15th century bas-relief inside the court, were acquired from the collection of George Grey Barnard and donated by Mrs. Jesse H. Metcalf of Providence, Rhode Island, in recognition of the work of Dean and Mrs. Bratenahl. The bas-relief depicts the crucifixion of Christ and the figures of Mary and John.

A thistle is carved in Aquia Creek sandstone above the fountain at the back of the Norman Court. Jay Hall Carpenter, created the model for the fountain, and the carving was done by Cathedral master stone carver Vincent Palumbo. The sculpture, donated by All Hallows Guild, was dedicated on September 9, 1994, in memory of Peter McLachlan, chief horticulturist for the Cathedral Close from 1961 – 1992.

Outside of the Norman Court, the medieval arch is flanked by two towering Blue Atlas Cedar trees that sit at the edge of the Bishop’s Lawn. The Blue Atlas Cedars came as seedlings from Palestine, and were planted here in 1902. This genus of cedar offers an example of plants botanically related to the Holy Land.

From the Bishop’s Lawn the two Blue Atlas Cedar trees nearly conceal the Norman Court

Exit the Norman Court through the medieval arch, between the tall cedars, and walk along the edge of the Bishop’s Lawn to the garden gazebo known as Shadow House.

Help Us Keep The Gardens Growing

Partner with us to ensure that the 57 acres of gardens and grounds surrounding Washington National Cathedral continue to be a haven of peace and refreshment in the midst of the Nation’s Capital.


All Hallows Guild was founded in 1916 to provide for the care and beautification of the grounds of Washington National Cathedral. The Guild works closely with the horticultural staff to preserve this historic landscape and raises funds for renovation and renewal of the gardens.


  • (202) 537-2937
  • 3101 Wisconsin Ave NW
    Washington, DC 20016


You’ll see what’s new in the gardens and learn about our upcoming events by subscribing to our monthly email newsletter.

Scroll to Top