Saturday, 28 March 2020

Hughenden Manor - Buckinghamshire

 Hughenden manor can be found nestled in 3000 acres of the beautiful Chilterns on a site that has been occupied for more than 1000 years.

Recorded history at Hughenden began with the Norman Conquest. There was a large farm on the site and this was gifted to Bishop Odo of Bayeux. Eventually it passed to Geoffrey de Clinton and he began to develop the estate, including building what is now the church of St Michael & All Angels, which can be found to the left as you enter the estate from the main road.

A lodge began to grow and this developed into a larger farmhouse. Sir Robert Dormer took over in 1538 and he established the Dormer Estate and included alms houses close to the church.

In 1738 Charles Savage had become the owner and he converted what had become a large Tudor farmhouse into a manor. In 1771 the estate became the possession of the Norris Family and in 1816 John Norris made major changes to the interior, introducing the Gothic style, but outside he gave the manor a Georgian look.

The parkland was established as such in 1820. In 1846 Benjamin Disraeli, who was trying to establish himself, borrowed heavily, but with a determination to make something of Hughenden, and himself. Gradually he began to achieve his various ambitions and in 1862 Mary Anne Disraeli began major alterations, including replacing the white stucco exterior with red bricks. She also established an Italianate garden.

In 1893 Conningby Disraeli began a programme of modernisation, adding plumbing, electricity and the new West Wing.

Benjamin Disraeli had died in 1881. Instead of being buried in Westminster Abbey he was interred at Hughenden.

When the Disraeli family had exhausted their use of Hughenden it was taken over by the Disraeli Society and they created a museum. However, the manor and the estate were requisitioned by the Government and it became a centre for secret mapmaking. When that was over there was seen to be quite a lot of damage to the house, but particularly to the gardens. So in 1947 it was passed to the National Trust, but it wasn’t until 1983 that all restoration work was completed.

Now Hughenden has more to offer that ever before. It is a haven for wildlife, both arboreal and open landscape. It is filled with history and the gardens have been restored to glory.

HP14 4LA


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