A hand-colored 1830 engraving from "Neale's Views of Seats"
Built / Designed For: Sir Guy Wolston
House & Family History: The Mildmay family was seated at Apethorpe from 1550; in 1603 they received James I here on his way to London after acceding to the English throne. Through descent, the Estate passed to the earls of Westmorland and was finally sold to the Brassey family in 1904. In 1948 the House passed permanently out of family ownership when it became a Roman Catholic school. Libyan businessman Wanis Mohammed Burweila purchased Apethorpe in 1982, with the intention of turning it into a school for Libyan students, something that ultimately never happened. Mr. Burweila allowed the House to become near-derelict and one of the leading buildings at risk in Britain. In June 2002 Mr. Burweila sold the Estate, with its 13 cottages and Stables, for £1.35 million (the day before a draft compulsory purchase order was served) to a property firm headed by Harold Winton, the president of Queen's Park Rangers football club. Mr. Winton later agreed a provisional sale of the Estate for £750,000 to Simon Karimzadeh, the heir to a £120 million trading empire, but this did not proceed. The public inquiry into the government's compulsory purchase was held February-March 2004, with the purchase order being issued in August of 2004. English Heritage then took possession of Apethorpe, on behalf of the government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and allocated £4 million for its purchase and critical repairs, to be completed in 2008, with plans to sell it to a private owner who would continue the restoration and ideally allow annual public access to the House. In November 2014 the House, together with 45 acres, was sold to the French academic Baron von Pfetten for £2.5 million. Apethorpe is a very grand house that is a mixture of Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Palladian styles; inside are some of the finest Jacobean interiors in Britain, with noted decorative plaster ceilings, fireplaces, and paneling. During the restoration of Apethorpe (2004-08) a previously unknown passage was discovered that linked the bedchambers of the king, James I, and George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham. This is significant, as it has been rumored for centuries that the two were lovers. A contemporary wrote of their relationship: "I never yet saw any fond husband make so much or so great dalliance over his beautiful spouse as I have seen King James over his favourites, especially Buckingham." The king and Buckingham first met in August 1614 at Apethorpe.
Comments: "Country Life" magazine (July 25, 2002 issue) called Apethorpe "a perfectly preserved Tudor courtyard plan [house] with a complete suite of Jacobean reception rooms fitted out with plasterwork, carving, and paneling of the highest standard."
Architect: John LumleyDate: 1718
Architect: Roger MorrisDate: Circa 1740
Architect: Bryan BrowningDate: Mid-19th century
Architect: Reginald BlomfieldDate: Early 20th century
John Bernard (J.B.) Burke, published under the title of A Visitation of the Seats and Arms of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland, among other titles: 2.S. Vol. II, p. 96, 1855.
John Preston (J.P.) Neale, published under the title of Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, among other titles: 2.S. Vol. III, 1826.
Country Life: XXV. 414, 450, 1909.
Title: Country Life (magazine)
Year Published: NA
Reference: Jul 25, 2002, Editorial
Publisher: London: TI Media
Book Type: Magazine
Title: Sleeping Beauties: SAVE's Buildings at Risk, 2001
Author: Churchill, Deborah
Year Published: 2001
Publisher: London: SAVE Britain's Heritage
Book Type: Softback
House Listed: Grade I
Park Listed: Grade II
Seat of: Jean Christophe Iseux, Baron von Pfetten; here since 2014.
Past Seat of: Sir Guy Wolston, late 15th century. Sir Walter Mildmay, 16th century. Sir Francis Fane, 1st Earl of Westmorland, 17th century. Thomas Brassey, 1st Earl Brassey, 20th century.
Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust
Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home
House Open to Public: Limited Access
Historic Houses Member: No