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Dorney Court

  • House & Family History: Called Dornei in the "Domesday Book" ("island frequented by bumble bees" in Old English), Dorney Court today is primarily an early 16th century timber-framed and red brick-infill house. The Tudor entrance façade was replaced in the 1730s with a Georgian classical style façade, which was taken back to its original design in the 20th century. The 15th century Great Hall is noted for its fine roof with arched braces and its fireplace with tracery and linenfold paneling from Faversham Abbey in Kent.

    Comments: Dorney is frequently cited as one of the finest Tudor manor houses in England.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: The greenhouse at Dorney, or possibly Pin Cottage in the village, was the place where the first pineapple grown in England was supposedly raised. This event was considered so significant that the pineapple itself was presented to Charles II in 1661 and the event was commemorated in a number of famous paintings, all of which show the king being presented with a pineapple by a man on bended knee, with a house in the background that is frequently mentioned as being Dorney Court. The attribution of this house as Dorney Court seems unlikely, based on what we know about the architectural history of the house, but that doesn't mean that there isn't a stone pineapple in the Great Hall of Dorney Court today in recognition of the house's contribution to horticulture! The 1675 version of the painting, attributed to Hendrik Danckerts, entitled "John Rose, the King's Gardener, Presenting Charles II with a Pineapple," is in the collection of Houghton Hall, Norfolk. The version in the Royal Collection, "Charles II Presented with a Pineapple," circa 1675-80, is by an unknown artist of the British School. The pineapple was named by Christopher Columbus, who thought the fruit looked like a pinecone. Columbus discovered that the natives of Guadeloupe hung pineapples outside their huts as a symbol of hospitality; this symbol of hospitality was transferred to Western Europe and the pineapple went on to become the symbol of the Restoration. Charles II visited his mistress, Barbara Palmer (Countess of Castlemaine and Duchess of Cleveland), at Dorney; it was not surprising that the king would visit Dorney, as his mistress was the wife of Sir Roger Palmer, the owner of Dorney Court. Dorney today has a fine 1930s style garden, with herbaceous borders, a rose garden, a cottage, and kitchen gardens.

    Chapel & Church: The grounds contain the Church of St. James.

  • Title: Midsomer Murders on Location
    Author: Schreiner, Sabine; Street, Joan
    Year Published: 2010
    Reference: pg. 11
    Publisher: Cambridge: Irregular Special Press
    ISBN: 1901091376
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Landmarks of Britain: The Five Hundred Places that Made Our History
    Author: Aslet, Clive
    Year Published: 2005
    Reference: pgs. 214-215
    Publisher: London: Hodder & Stoughton
    ISBN: 0340735104
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Not Listed

  • "Inspector Morse" (1987 - TV series, in the episode "Service of All the Dead"). "The Lady and the Highwayman" (1989 - TV movie). "Poirot" (1990 - TV series, as Lord Yardly's home, Yardly Chase, in the episode "The Adventure of the Western Star"). "Jeeves and Wooster" (1992 - TV series, in the episode "Aunt Dahlia, Cornelia and Madeline" [aka "Comrade Bingo"], as Fothergill Hall). "Emma" (1996 - TV mini series, as Randalls). "Midsomer Murders" (1997 - TV series, as the Fox & Goose Hotel in the episode "Strangler's Wood"). "Elizabeth" (1998). "Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased)" (2000 - TV series). "The Private Life of Samuel Pepys" (2003 - TV movie). "To Kill a King" (2003). "Agatha Christie: Poirot" (2003 - TV series, as Poirot's hotel in the episode "Sad Cypress"). "Miss Marple: The Body in the Library" (2004 - TV series, as Gossington Hall). "Midsomer Murders" (2005 - TV series, as the Bantling home in the episode "Bantling Boy"). "Agatha Christie Marple: The Sittaford Mystery" (2006 - TV series, as the interiors of Sittaford House). "Marple" (2006 - TV series, as the vicarage in the episode "The Moving Finger"). "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" (2007 - as Sir Walter Raleigh's house, assumed to represent Sherborne in Dorset). "Cranford" (2007 - TV series, as Woodley). "Sense & Sensibility" (2008 - TV mini series, as Barton Park sitting room and Delaford Vicarage exterior). "Midsomer Murders" (2009 - TV series, as Allenby House in the episode "Secrets and Spies"). "Midsomer Murders" (2010 - TV series, as Pelfe Hall in the episode "Not in my Backyard"). "Doctor Thorne" (2016 - Amazon TV series, as the exterior of the rectory and for the interiors of Dr. Thorne's house). "The Personal History of David Copperfield" (2019). "Bridgerton" (2020 - TV series, as the coaching inn where the Duke and Duchess of Hastings spend their wedding night).
  • Current Seat / Home of: James Palmer; the Palmer family has been here for 400 years.

    Past Seat / Home of: Sir Roger Palmer, 17th century.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 01628-604-638

    Fax: 01628-665-772

    Email: [email protected]

    Website: https://dorneycourt.co.uk/

    Awards: One of the finalists in "Country Life's Quest to Find the Nation's Finest Manor House, 2006."

    Historic Houses Member: Yes