DiCamillo Companion

Chevening House

  • House & Family History: Chevening has been attributed for years to Inigo Jones, a claim that Howard Colvin dismissed. Chevening's architect, whomever it might have been it, very likely influenced the design of Kingston Lacy House. Chevening House was bequeathed to the government in 1967 by the 7th Earl Stanhope on the condition that it be used by the prime minister, a cabinet minister, or a descendant of King George VI as a government retreat house. Chevening has been the official country residence of the British foreign secretary since 1979. The 3rd Earl Stanhope was an accomplished scientist who studied mathematics under Georges-Louis Le Sage at University of Geneva in the 18th century. In 1779 Lord Stanhope published “Principles of Electricity,” which outlined his theory on the "return stroke” – the results from the contact with the earth of the electric current of lightning. Lord Stanhope is most famous today for his circa 1800 invention of the Stanhope Press (see print in "Images" section), the first hand press made entirely out of iron, which significantly improved the efficiency of the hand press.

  • Architect: Alexander Fort

    Date: 1717 or 1718
    Designed: Added pedmited wings to House for 1st Earl Stanhope

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    Architect: James Wyatt

    Date: 1786-96
    Designed: Refronted House with pilasters and mathematical tiles (removed circa 1970) for 3rd Earl Stanhope

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  • Vitruvius Britannicus: C. II, pl. 85, 1717.

    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: Vol. I, p. 61, 1852.

    Country Life: XLVII, 512, 548, 586, 627 [Library], 1920. CXXV, 1312, 1959. CXLIII, 102, 1968.

  • Title: Walford's County Families of the United Kingdom, 1914
    Author: NA
    Year Published: 1914
    Reference: pg. 1127
    Publisher: London: Spottiswoode & Co.
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Irish Georgian Society Newsletter
    Author: NA
    Year Published: NA
    Reference: Summer 2004, pg. 6
    Publisher: Dublin: Irish Georgian Society
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Magazine

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Grade II

  • Past Seat / Home of: James Stanhope, 1st Earl Stanhope, 18th century; Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl Stanhope, until 1816; James Richard Stanhope, 13th Earl of Chesterfield and 7th Earl Stanhope, 20th century; Stanhope family here until 1967.

    Current Ownership Type: Government

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Other

    Ownership Details: Country residence of the British foreign secretary

  • House Open to Public: Limited Access to Grounds Only

    Historic Houses Member: No