Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Ashdown House - Berkshire

The purists will say that Ashdown House is in Oxfordshire, but when it was built it was in Berkshire, and the house hasn't moved, only the county boundary. For this purpose, it is in Berkshire, mainly because the local village of Upper Lambourn most certainly is.

The exact year of construction is not clear. It had been intended as a refuge from the Plague for Elizabeth of Bohemia, but she died in 1662 and the house had not been built at that time. The style chosen was Dutch, which makes it unusual in England where French and Italianate designs are common, and even English.

The house was intended as a hunting lodge. There is a deer park that had been owned by Glastonbury Abbey until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539. The parkland (Ashdown Park) and woods are still open to the public.

Ashdown House was requisitioned by the military during WWI and, as was the case with many such great building, it was left in a sorry state. The National Trust took over in 1956. They effected renovations, and then found tenants, who also continued the renovations. For that reason, public access is restricted to certain parts of the house, but with the Park also available it is nevertheless worth a visit.

Ashdown House

RG17 8RE

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