DiCamillo Companion
England

Anglesey Abbey

  • Earlier Houses: The remains of an Augustinian abbey, founded in 1135, were incorporated into the current house circa 1600.

    House & Family History: Anglesey takes its name from the nearby hamlet of Angerhale. The Augustinian abbey was probably founded by Henry I in 1135; it was a religious house for almost 400 years. In 1535 the abbey was closed as a part of the Dissolution of the Monasteries instigated by Henry VIII. In the early 17th century the abbey's buildings were acquired by Thomas Hobson; Hobson was a Cambridge carrier who was famous for refusing to let out any horse that wasn't in the proper order, resulting in the famous phrase "Hobson's Choice" – meaning "the choice Hobson offers you, or none at all." In 1627 Hobson's son-in-law, Thomas Parker, acquired the property; it stayed in the Parker family for 100 years. In the 18th century Sir George Downing, 3rd Bt., whose estate, in 1800, went to found Downing College (see painting in "Images" section) at Cambridge, purchased the abbey. Downing's fortune was left to him by his grandfather, the 1st baronet, who served both Cromwell and Charles II and built No. 10 Downing Street, which has been the London home of the prime minister for 250 years. Downing College was designed by William Wilkins, with the work commencing in 1807, and is the only Cambridge college to be designed in the Greek Revival style. It is also the world's first college laid out on the campus plan, preceding Jefferson's University of Virginia by 10 years. In 1861 The Rev. John Hailstone acquired the property and performed major alterations to the house and laid out a small garden. In 1926 Huttleston Broughton, later 1st Lord Fairhaven, purchased Anglesey Abbey from The Rev. James Clark, a friend of the Hailstone family. Over the next 40 years Broughton, who was American, transformed Anglesey, filling the house with art: topographical paintings, 18th century snuff boxes, illustrated books, Italian mosaics, bronzes, tapestries, furniture, and statuary. The bookshelves in the Library are made from the elmwood pilings of John Rennie's Waterloo Bridge (1817), which was demolished in 1934. Constable's nearby canvas of George IV embarking at Whitehall in the royal barge to open Waterloo Bridge provides a narrative for the shelves. The George II walnut library table once belonged to Sir Robert Walpole, where it was installed at Houghton Hall. The interior of Anglesey has been described as having "something of a great Long Island interior." Lord Fairhaven's finest achievement, however, was the creation of the gardens at Anglesey, one of the greatest gardens of the 20th century. In 1966 the 1st Lord Fairhaven willed the House, contents, and 98-acre grounds to the National Trust.

    Collections: Anglesey contains the Fairhaven Collection of paintings and furniture, which includes notable works by Claude Lorraine, fine examples of furniture, silver, tapestries, and one of the trust's largest collections of clocks. In the Library are Constable's canvas of George IV embarking at Whitehall in the royal barge to open Waterloo Bridge, a George II walnut library table that once belonged to Sir Robert Walpole (where it was installed at Houghton Hall), and two George II silver chandeliers. The chandeliers were made by Behrens, a Hanoverian silversmith, to the designs of William Kent. These were originally part of a set of five made for the king for his palace in Hanover. One is in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, one is in a private collection, and the last's location is unknown. Some contents from Anglesey were auctioned in London by Christie's September 10, 2007. On March 13, 2013 Lyon & Turnbull sold, for £2,200, at auction in Edinburgh a George II silver salver (London, 1733, no maker's mark) that belonged to Sir Jacob Downing, 4th Bt. This scalloped rim salver was once probably in the collection at Anglesey.

    Comments: Arthur Bryant: the gardens at Anglesey "can compare with the great masterpieces of the Georgian era."

  • Garden & Outbuildings: The gardens of Anglesey Abbey are among the finest in England and are based on 18th and 19th century English country gardens. The Estate comprises 98 acres of gardens and parkland created by the 1st Lord Fairhaven and his brother, starting in 1926. The grounds contains a Pinetum, the Winter Walk, an arboretum, the Warriors' Walk, the Emperors' Walk (containing twelve 18th century marble busts of Roman emperors displayed along 440 yards), the Olympian Walk, the Dahlia Garden, the Herbaceous Garden, the Winter Dell, the Spring Garden, the Bishops' Walk, the Monks' Garden, the Rose Garden, the Hyacinth Garden (with over 4,000 hyacinths), the Formal Garden, the Narcissus Garden, the Jubilee Avenue, the Temple Lawn, Coronation Avenue, an 18th century watermill, and the Pilgrim's Lawn. The columns in the Temple Lawn are from the demolished Chesterfield House in London.

  • Architect: Albert Richardson

    Date: 1955
    Designed: Bridge to link Picture Galleries

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    Architect: Sidney Parvin

    Date: 1926-37
    Designed: Vaulted corridor and Newel Staircase (1926) and Library Wing (1937)

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  • Country Life: LXVIII, 832 plan, 1930. LXIX, 110 [Pictures], 376 [Pictures], 1931. CXV, 860, 1954.

  • Title: Sotheby's Auction Catalog: Fine Furniture & Clocks, Including Property From Two Noble English Families, Sep 10, 2007
    Author: NA
    Year Published: 2007
    Publisher: London: Sotheby's
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Anglesey Abbey Guidebook
    Author: Fedden, Robin
    Year Published: 2002
    Reference: pgs. 19-20
    Publisher: London: The National Trust
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Light Softback

    Title: Gardens of the National Trust
    Author: Lacey, Stephen
    Year Published: 2000
    Publisher: London: The National Trust
    ISBN: 0707801419
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: In Ruins: The Once Great Houses of Ireland
    Author: Marsden, Simon; McLaren, Duncan
    Year Published: 1997
    Publisher: Boston: Little, Brown and Company
    ISBN: 0821223569
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Anglesey Abbey Guidebook
    Author: Fedden, Robin
    Year Published: 2002
    Publisher: London: The National Trust
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Light Softback

    Title: Anglesey Abbey Garden Guidebook
    Author: NA
    Year Published: 1997
    Publisher: London: The National Trust
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Light Softback

    Title: Burke's and Savills Guide to Country Houses, Volume III: East Anglia
    Author: Kenworthy-Browne, John; Reid, Peter; Sayer, Michael; Watkin, David
    Year Published: 1981
    Publisher: London: Burke's Peeerage
    ISBN: 0850110351
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Grade II

  • "Treasure Hunt" (1984 - BBC TV documentary, episode 2.8, "Cambridgeshire"). "Flog It!" (2006 - BBC TV documentary, episode "Ipswich").
  • Seat of: Ailwyn Broughton, 3rd Baron Fairhaven.

    Past Seat of: Hinde/Hynde family, 1539-96. Fowkes family, 1596-1625. Thomas Hobson, 1625-30, his son-in-law, Thomas Parker and family, 1630-1734. Sir George Downing, 3rd Bt., 1734-49. Jacob J. Whittingham, 1749-99. The Rev. George Jenyns, until 1848. The Rev. John Hailstone, 19th century. The Rev. James Clark, 1888-1926. Huttleston Broughton, 1st Lord Fairhaven, 1926-66.

    Current Ownership Type: The National Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Visitor Attraction

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 01223-810-080

    Email: angleseyabbey@nationaltrust.org.uk

    Website: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk

    Historic Houses Member: No