DiCamillo Companion

Batsford Park

  • Earlier Houses: A house existed here by at least the early 17th century; this house was replaced by the current house (on a new site) in the 1880s.

    House & Family History: Batsford is a late 19th century ashlar Cotswold Elizabethan style house built for Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford, 1st Baron Redesdale (raised to the peerage in 1902). Lord Redesdale, called Bertie, was a politician, diplomat, and author who inherited large estates in Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, and Northumberland. He died in 1916 and was succeeded by his second son, David Freeman-Mitford, 2nd Baron Redesdale, famous as the extraordinarily eccentric father of the Mitford sisters. His eldest daughter, Nancy Mitford, based part of her novels "The Pursuit of Love" and "Love in a Cold Climate" on their time at Batsford. The Mitfords had always been cash poor, so it wasn't a surprise when financial circumstances forced the sale of the Estate in 1919 to Gilbert Wills, 1st Baron Dulverton, an heir to the W.D. & H.O. Wills tobacco fortune. King Edward VII stayed at Batsford in the early 20th century.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: Batsford Park was inherited in 1886 by Algernon Freeman-Mitford, 1st Baron Redesdale (Bertie), who had spent significant time in Asia. In the 1890s he created the garden as a wild landscape with natural plantings inspired by what he had seen in Japan and China. He became an authority on Asian gardens and published "The Bamboo Garden" in 1896 and contributed to William Robinson's "The English Flower Garden" (1883) and Robinson's periodical "Flora and Sylva" (1903-05). The famous Batsford Arboretum was donated to the Batsford Foundation, a charitable trust, in 1984 by the 2nd Baron Dulverton, who had done much to restore the Arboretum in the 1960s and 70s. As of 2015, the Batsford Estate stands at 5,000 acres (not including the Arboretum).

  • Architect: Ernest George

    Date: 1888-92
    Designed: House for A.B. Freeman-Mitford, 1st Lord Redesdale

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  • 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. I, 1824.

  • Title: Edwardian Great House, The
    Author: Airs, Malcom (Editor)
    Year Published: 2000
    Reference: pgs. 84, 135
    Publisher: Oxford: Oxford University
    ISBN: 0903736306
    Book Type: Softback

  • House Listed: Grade II*

    Park Listed: Grade II

  • "Love in a Cold Climate" (2001 - TV mini series, as Uncle Matt and Aunt Sadie's country house).
  • Current Seat / Home of: Gilbert Michael Hamilton Wills, 3rd Baron Dulverton.

    Past Seat / Home of: SEATED AT EARLIER HOUSE: John Croker, early 17th century. Barker family, 17th century. Richard Freeman, early 18th century. Walter Edwards (took the name of Freeman), mid-18th century. SEATED AT CURRENT HOUSE: Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford, 1st Baron Redesdale, late 19th-early 20th centuries; David Bertram Ogilvy Freeman-Mitford, 2nd Baron Redesdale, early 20th century. Gilbert Wills, 1st Baron Dulverton, early 20th century.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

  • House Open to Public: No

    Historic Houses Member: No