DiCamillo Companion

Ashdown House (Ashdown Park)

  • Built / Designed For: 1st Earl of Craven

    House & Family History: Ashdown was built as a hunting lodge, or villa, in the classical style by William, 1st Earl of Craven, for Elizabeth, the Winter Queen of Bohemia (sister of Charles I). Lord Craven was apparently in love in Elizabeth, though she died in 1662 before construction for the house even began. There are no reliable records for the architect or date of Ashdown, but it can be reasonably assigned to the architect William Winde on stylistic grounds and is very much in the style of the Anglo-Dutch design of the mid-17th century brought to England by the Restoration of Charles II. The five-bay house is unusually tall for its width and is frequently compared to a doll's house. Its original setting was in a forest with long, straight avenues that radiated out in four directions. During World War II Ashdown was requisitioned by the army, who left the house in near-derelict condition when they vacated. Cornelia, Countess of Craven, donated Ashdown and its estate to the National Trust in 1956. The house has been leased to tenants since it came under the ownership of the National Trust; in 2010 Pete Townshend purchased a 41-year lease on Ashdown.

    Collections: Asdown once contained the noted Craven Art Collection, which has been largely dispersed and sold.

  • Architect: William Winde (Wynne)

    Date: 1660s
    Designed: May have designed pavilion wings (and possibly the entire house) for his godfather, the 1st Earl of Craven.
    (Attribution of this work is uncertain)
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  • Country Life: XXXIII, 454, 1913.

  • Title: Belton House Guidebook - 1992
    Author: Tinniswood, Adrian
    Year Published: 1992
    Reference: pg. 8
    Publisher: London: The National Trust
    ISBN: 0707801133
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: How to Read a Country House
    Author: Musson, Jeremy
    Year Published: 2005
    Reference: pg. 24
    Publisher: London: Ebury Press
    ISBN: 009190076X
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Buildings of England: Berkshire, The
    Author: Pevsner, Nikolaus
    Year Published: 1966
    Publisher: London: Penguin Books
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Grade II

  • "The Foreman Went to France" (1942).
  • Current Seat / Home of: Pete Townshend; here since 2010.

    Past Seat / Home of: William Craven, 1st Earl of Craven, 17th century.

    Current Ownership Type: The National Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Visitor Attraction

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 01793-762-209

    Email: ashdownhouse@nationaltrust.org.uk

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

    Historic Houses Member: No