DiCamillo Companion

Compton Wynyates (Compton Wyngates) (Compton-in-the-Hole) (Upper Compton Wynyates)

  • Earlier Houses: An early 13th century moated house was incorporated into the current house.

    Built / Designed For: Edmund Compton

    House & Family History: Edmund Compton (1481-93) built the earliest part of the current house, which consists of four wings around a quadrangle. Upon Edmund's death his son, William, aged 11, became a ward of the crown and was appointed a page to the young Prince Henry, aged two. Prince Henry became King Henry VIII and he and William became fast friends. William accompanied the king on his military expedition to France, and, after the victory at Tournay, William was knighted by the king. Sir William was given custody of Fulbroke Castle, near Warwick, which was a ruin. The custodianship, as was its intent, allowed William to use materials from the castle for the embellishment of Compton Wynyates. The timber ceiling of the present hall came from Fulbroke, as did the bay window projecting into the courtyard. It's also quite probable that other stone windows in the house originally came from Fulbroke. The Compton family enjoyed great success and were made earls of Northampton and Compton Wynyates became part of the circle of power houses in the 16th and 17th centuries; as a result, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, James I, and Charles I all stayed at the house. The family were Royalists during the Civil War; on June 12, 1644, after a siege of two days, Compton Wynyates was captured by the Parliamentarians, along with a young brother of the 3rd Earl. During the commonwealth orders were issued by parliament to Warwickshire to fill in the moat at Compton Wynyates and destroy the battlements, so as to prevent it being used again as a battle fortress. After the restoration of Charles II in 1660 the Compton family chose Castle Ashby as their primary seat and Compton Wynyates remained virtually untouched by additions and renovations until 1716, when James, Lord Compton, later the 5th Earl, lived there during his father's lifetime. It was Lord Compton who added a wing between the two corner towers on the east side of the house and heightened the walls in the courtyard into a parapet. The popular 1998 book "An Instance of the Fingerpost" by Iain Pears focused considerable attention on Compton Wynyates, as Sir William Compton (1625-63) figures prominently in the book, which weaves fact and fiction. Sir William (son of the 2nd Earl and brother of the 3rd Earl) was a Royalist soldier and conspirator, who was knighted in 1643. He was described by Cromwell as "a sober young man and godly cavalier."

    Collections: In 1768 the Compton family were temporarily ruined by gambling and the expensive support of a candidate for parliament in Northampton. Due to these financial reverses, all the contents of Compton Wynyates were sold in 1774 and have never been traced.

    Comments: Compton Wynyates is considered one of the finest Tudor houses in England.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: The estate today comprises approximately 2,000 acres.

  • Architect: Matthew Digby Wyatt

    Date: Circa 1867
    Designed: Alterations

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  • 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. I, p. 48, 1854.

    Country Life: II, 70, 1897. XXXVIII, 585 plan, 616, 1915.

  • Title: An Instance of the Fingerpost
    Author: Pears, Iain
    Year Published: 2000
    Reference: pg. 688
    Publisher: New York: Riverhead Books
    ISBN: 1573227951
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Compton Wynyates Guidebook
    Author: NA
    Year Published: NA
    Reference: pgs. 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8
    Publisher: NA
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Light Softback

    Title: Movie Locations: A Guide to Britain & Ireland
    Author: Adams, Mark
    Year Published: 2000
    Publisher: London: Boxtree
    ISBN: 0752271695
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage, 1990
    Author: Kidd, Charles; Williamson, David (Editors)
    Year Published: 1990
    Publisher: London: Debrett's Peerage Limited (New York: St. Martin's Press, Inc.)
    ISBN: 0312046405
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Country Life: 100 Favourite Houses
    Author: Green, Candida Lycett
    Year Published: 1999
    Publisher: London: Boxtree
    ISBN: 0752213334
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Best Buildings of England, The
    Author: Pevsner, Nikolaus
    Year Published: 1986
    Publisher: London: Viking
    ISBN: 0670812838
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Not Listed

  • "Candleshoe" (1977 - as exterior of Candleshoe House). "Death on the Nile" (1978 - as Wode Hall, the country house of Linnet Ridgeway Doyle). "The Mirror Crack'd" (1980). "Silver Spoons (1982–87 - TV series, as Ricky Stratton's house in the opening credits). "Lady Jane" (1985).
  • Current Seat / Home of: Spencer Douglas David Compton, 7th Marquess of Northampton; Compton family here since the 15th century.

    Past Seat / Home of: Spencer Compton, 2nd Earl of Northampton, 17th century.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

  • House Open to Public: No

    Historic Houses Member: No