Gatcombe Park


Gatcombe Park

Gatcombe Park is the private country home of Anne, Princess Royal, situated in England between the Gloucestershire villages of Minchinhampton and Avening, five miles (8 km) south of Stroud and around six miles (10 km) north of Highgrove, the country residence of Prince Charles.

The house and farming estate were bought by Queen Elizabeth II in 1976 for Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips at the price of £5 million. The previous owner was Lord Butler of Saffron Walden, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, and a former Home Secretary, who had inherited the house from his father-in-law, Samuel Courtauld. Courtauld had acquired it from the Ricardo family, owners from 1814 (when the estate was bought by the political economist David Ricardo) to 1940.

The house was built from 1771 to 1774 for Edward Sheppard, a local clothier, and altered for Ricardo to the designs of George Basevi (a relation), c. 1820. It features Bath stone construction, and comprises five main bedrooms, four secondary bedrooms, four reception rooms, a library, a billiard room and a conservatory, as well as staff accommodation. It was renovated and redecorated for Princess Anne and Captain Phillips, and they moved into it in November 1977. In 1978 the land was increased by the purchase of the adjoining Aston Farm. The Gatcombe Estate now covers around 730 acres (3 km²), of which 200 acres (0.8 km²) are woodland, and includes a lake containing brown trout. There are considerable stabling facilities, including a new stable block.

Today the Princess Royal lives in the manor-house with her second husband, Vice-Admiral Timothy Laurence. Mark Phillips lives in the adjoining Aston Farm with his second wife, the estates having separated when the couple divorced. Son Peter Phillips, as well as daughter Zara Phillips have their own personal cottages within the estate, as does three time gold-medal winning Australian Olympian Andrew Hoy, who has rented some of the equestrian facilities for over 15 years.

The grounds are well known for hosting the Festival of British Eventing over the first weekend of August. Organised by Mark Phillips with considerable input from HRH, the event attracts the world's top olympians and over 40,000 paying spectators, as well as BBC television coverage. The estate also holds two smaller Horse Trials, in the Spring and Autumn, whose courses are designed by HRH, and a biannual craft fair with around 160 exhibitors is run, in May and October.


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