Brandon Hill is a park in the Bristol Centre.
Brandon Hill is one of the city's,if not the country's, oldest public open spaces having been given to the Corporation in 1174. It was used for grazing animals, hay-making, hanging out washing and even carpet beating. The hill was a key point in the defence of the city during the Civil War and in the 18th and 19th centuries hosted public meetings by reform groups and trades unions. Cabot Tower was built in the park in 1898 and provides stunning panoramic views. Today it is a popular picnic spot and part of the hill is set aside as a nature park.
The land was granted to the Corporation in 1174 by Robert, Earl of Gloucester and sublet to farmers for grazing until 1625 when it became a public open space used for 'unrestricted recreational pursuits' including hay-making and clothes drying.
Civic ownership of the land had been bought into some doubt by events that took place during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I when a small plot of land there was claimed on behalf of the Crown. It seems that Robert had actually also given a small plot of land on the hill to Tewkesbury Abbey in 1129 and the Corporation were forced to buy it for £30.
A commonly held belief is that it was Elizabeth who had given Brandon Hill to the city as a place to dry clothes but this is mistaken and is borne out by Corporation documents that existed before she was born.