The Poplar garden
The Poplar Tree has been chosen for the Laws of Contract because of its resistance to splitting – the same defence and separation of two sides that is provided by a contract. Shields were made from this wood in the Middle Ages.
The illustrations on the plaques convey the main principles involved in contracting.
One of the most interesting ones illustrates the important principle of division which is practised throughout the Laws:-
"If it happens that people go fishing, and there is a contract between themthat the first fish goes to one and the last to the other, and only one fish is killed, then law adjudges equality, and sharing in two halves". (one would cut the fish in half and the other would select the half he wanted).
The most striking piece of artwork in the gardens is in this garden, namely the sun clock. It is hexagonal (6 being the number associated with the law of contract). It has an inscription in Ogham on one side edge and examples of the laws on the sides. The face has six round champleve enamels – four of which portray the imaginary activities of the King during the day i.e. at prayer in the morning, then acting as a consultant to his people, hunting in the afternoon and feasting and entertaining in the evening. On the other two enamels, Hywel is figuratively depicted as the Sun and as the twin-headed Janus. The colours black and yellow depict night and day.