WILLIAM COYS (1560 - 1627) click at the bottom for more garden heroes


William Coys was a collector and grower of new imported rare and exotic plants in the garden of his home at Stubbers, North Ockendon. His achievements were recorded in the works of John Goodyer, between 1616-1622. Goodyer’s manuscripts are among the oldest surviving documents using the pre-Linnaeus naming system, predating the first botanic gardens in England, and recording both native and introduced plants of the early seventeenth century. He also received twenty-three mentions in the works of Matthias De L’Obel (1605 to 1612), John Gerard, (1633 updated by Dr. Thomas Johnson) and John Parkinson, (1640).,

Coys received seeds and roots from all over the known world and L’Obel recorded twelve rare plants growing at Stubbers during his visits in 1604 and 1605. L’Obel also sent seeds from Europe to Coys in 1608.

Yucca, recorded flowering at Stubbers in 1604 biodiversity heritage library

Yucca, recorded flowering at Stubbers in 1604 biodiversity heritage library

 John Gerard visited Stubbers in 1597, the year his Herbal was first published, but both Gerard and Coys died before the accreditations appeared in Gerard’s Herbal, 1633. There is no record of Parkinson visiting Stubbers, but Coys was clearly known to him and received accreditation in his Theatrum Botanicum for the Yucca gloriosa which flowered at Stubbers in 1604.

The first Ivy Leaved Toadflax (Linaria cymbalaria), has now naturalised in Britain, the first record of this plant growing in Britain, was at Stubbers in 1616-17. The Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus), was introduced from Brazil in 1617 and was propagated at Stubbers by Coys, having received roots from John Goodyer. Goodyer received these roots from John Franqueville and recorded them growing at Stubbers in 1617.


Taken from:  Twigs Way, Ed., Rooted in Essex (Essex Garden Trust, 2006).