- Bagshot Park
Bagshot Park (Grid reference: gbmaprim|490816_164304|SU 9164) eleven miles south of Windsor, a royal residence at
Bagshot, Surrey, is the current home and official residence of H.R.H. The Earl and Countess of Wessex. Bagshot Park is on Bagshot Heath, a fifty square-mile tract of formerly open land in Surreyand Berkshire. It is only a few miles from Sunninghill Park, the former residence of T.R.H. the Duke and Duchess of York.
Prince Edward renovated Bagshot Park as a residence for himself and as a base for his film production company,
Ardent Productions, until he closed the business. The estate is farmed.
The original Bagshot Lodge (not the present Lodge, visible on the public road at the entrance to the drive) was built between 1631 and 1633 ["History of the King's works" IV.] as one of a series of small lodges designed for King Charles I by
Inigo Jones. It was remodelled between 1766 and 1772 according to designs of James Painefor George Keppel, the 3rd Earl of Albemarle, [Colvin, 1995, "James Paine".] and altered in 1798 by Sir John Soane[Dorothy Stroud, 1984, "Sir John Soane, Architect".] for the Duke of Clarence (later King William IV), who lived there until 1816.
Bagshot Park was subsequently used by Prince William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester, nephew of King George III. The Duke added pieces of property between the estate and Sunningdale; his widow, Princess Mary, daughter of King George III, continued to live there after his death until she moved out in 1847. [Flora Fraser, "Princesses: The Six Daughters of George III" 57] The original house was demolished in 1877-78 [Colvin, 1995, "James Paine", "Sir John Soane".]
A new building with 120 rooms was completed in 1879. The 1881 census records an
equerryand 26 servantsliving in the main house: an under butler, a housekeeper, four valets, two lady's maids, two dressers, a cook, three kitchen maids, three house maids, three footmen, a page, a porter, a scullery maid, two other junior posts and a soldier. A coachmanand seven groomslived in the stables. Two other domestic staff lived in one of the lodges, three agricultural workers lived in another, and one gardeneris recorded as living on the estate. [ [http://www.bagshotvillage.org.uk/bpark/index.shtml Bagshot Park] .] This was the principal residence of the Arthur, Duke of Connaught, son of Queen Victoria, from 1880. The Duke, who was Governor-General of Canadafrom 1911 until 1916, died at Bagshot Park in 1942.
The house was thereafter the regimental headquarters and depot of the
Royal Army Chaplains' Department, who famously placed a notice by the pond reading "Do not walk on the water". They vacated the building shortly before the Earl and Countess of Wessex took over the tenancy from the Crown.The original "Please do not walk on the water" sign was removed when the chaplains left, but a new one given to the Earl of Wessex made by J.M.J Holland Chairmakers has replaced it.
Although the house was criticised by the architectural historian Sir
Nikolaus Pevsnerfor being ugly [N. Pevsner, "Surrey" in series "Buildings of England"] , Bagshot Park was the most adventurous Royal house to be created since the death of Albert, the Prince Consortof Queen Victoria, in 1861, and is a remarkable monument in the history of Indian taste in Britain.Fact|date=December 2007 An Indian billiard roomwing, which inspired the more famous Durbar Room at Osborne House, was prefabricated in India and installed in the 1880s, the result of the Duke of Connaught's Indian tour, when the Duke met John Lockwood Kiplingand asked him to design a billiard room in Indian taste. The craftsmen who assembled and installed the room at Bagshot were housed in a tent in the grounds. [Judith Flanders, "A Circle of Sisters".] .
*Colvin, Howard. (1995). "A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840". 3rd ed.
Yale University Press.
* [http://www.bagshotvillage.org.uk/bpark/index.shtml bagshotvillage.org.uk page]
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