The house and estate from a circa 1770 illustration
Earlier Houses: There was a late 17th century house on the site of the current house.
House & Family History: Ashcombe is positioned in a secluded hollow in the Wiltshire Downs. All that remains today of the much larger mid-18th century house is a three-bay fragment (most of the house was pulled down at the beginning of the 19th century). Ashcombe House was famously let by Cecil Beaton in the 1930s and 1940s; he detailed its restoration and his time there in his 1949 book, "Ashcombe: The Story of a Fifteen-Year Lease." Beaton hosted many luminaries at Ashcombe, from artists to movie stars and high society. Rex Whistler designed the Palladian front door surround, topped with a Bath stone pineapple, for Cecil Beaton and Salvador Dalí famously used the house as the backdrop in one of his paintings. In 1948 Beaton designed a fabric that he named Ashcombe Stripe after Ashcombe House (the house was probably the love of his life). Madonna and then-husband Guy Ritchie purchased the Ashcombe Estate in 2001 for £9 million. On December 7, 2008 "News of the World" reported that Ritchie received $64 million, as well as the Punchbowl Pub and Ashcombe House, in his divorce settlement with Madonna.
Garden & Outbuildings: The Grade II-listed Orangery of five bays has a projecting wing of three bays with a Palladian (Venetian or Serlian) window at its terminus. The Gatehouse (also listed Grade II) is joined to the Orangery by a archway with a Gibbs surround on a pediment. The estate today comprises 1,200 acres on Cranborne Chase, near Salisbury. The grounds are noted for their re-established wildlife; shooting yields 6,000 partridge and 7,000 pheasants per year, making Ashcombe one of the top five shooting estates in Britain. "The Field" magazine voted Ashcombe one of Britain's ten top venues for pheasant hunting. There is an active 17th century Quaker burial ground on the Ashcombe Estate.
House Listed: Grade II
Park Listed: Not Listed
Current Seat / Home of: Guy Ritchie
Past Seat / Home of: SEATED AT EARLIER HOUSE: Robert Barber, 17th century. SEATED AT CURRENT HOUSE: James Everard Arundell, 18th century. Thomas Grove, 18th century; Sir Walter Grove, 19th century. Lieutenant Alfred Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, 13th Duke of Hamilton and 10th Duke of Brandon, early 20th century. R.W. Borley, 1919-30. Cecil Beaton (as tenant), 1930-45. Hugh Borley, 1946-93. David and Toni Parkes, 1993-2001. Madonna, 2001-08.
Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust
Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home
House Open to Public: No
Awards: "The Field" magazine voted the Ashcombe Estate one of Britain's ten top venues for pheasant hunting.
Historic Houses Member: No