The house from a 1905 postcard
The Drawing Room
The Great Hall
The Octagon Saloon
Earlier Houses: There was at least one earlier house on, or near, the site of the current house.
Built / Designed For: 1st Earl Somers
House & Family History: Eastnor Castle is an early 19th century mock castle located in a 5,000-acre estate in the Malvern Hills. The house was begun in 1812 and was designed to look like a medieval castle guarding the Welsh borders. It cost the then-enormous sum of £85,000 to build (approximately £63 million in 2016 inflation-adjusted values using the labour value commodity index). The Eastnor Estate was started in the late 16th century when the Cocks family purchased local land; later marriages into the Nash and Somers families enriched the Cockses and eventually enabled the 1st Earl Somers to build the current castle. Eastnor is today the seat of James Hervey-Bathurst, the grandson of Arthur Somers-Cocks, 6th Baron Somers. A noted Victorian scandal involved Lady Henry Somerset, born Isabel Cocks in 1851, the first child and heir of John Somers-Cocks, 3rd Earl Somers. At the age of 22 she was pressured into an arranged marriage with Lord Henry Somerset, the second son of the 8th Duke of Beaufort. The marriage was not a success; Lord Henry probably abused her and Lady Henry left her husband on the grounds that he was a homosexual (as a result of these charges, Lord Henry was forced to live a life of exile abroad). Lady Henry left the Church of England and became a Methodist and a leader in the temperance movement. She devoted her life to studying the causes of crime and poverty and working to relieve their effects on the poor of England. In 1890 she became president of the British Woman's Temperance Association.
Collections: The collection at Eastnor includes early Italian pieces, 17th century Venetian furniture, Flemish tapestries, medieval armor, and paintings by van Dyck, Romney, Wootton, and Watts. A.W.N. Pugin worked at Eastnor between 1849 and 1850, designing interiors and furniture; a Gothic style library table designed by Pugin, and made 1849-50 by J.G. Crace of oak with wood inlay, remains today in the collection at Eastnor. The library table was exhibited at "The Treasure Houses of Britain" exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1985-86. A similar library table was presented by Pugin to his friend Sir Thomas Reddington on the occasion of Reddington's marriage, which took place at Talbot Castle, Co. Meath, in 1842. This table was in the hands of the French dealers Didier Aaron in 1992. The Eastnor collection also includes letters, diaries, clothes, and furniture formerly owned by Horace Walpole, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Tennyson, Watts, Virginia Woolf, and Julia Margaret Cameron (the 3rd Earl Somers was married to Julia's sister).
Comments: Eastnor is considered one of the most spectacular Normal Revival style castles in Britain.
Garden & Outbuildings: The 300-acre deer park used to be part of a medieval chase and is today a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
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: Vol. II, 1819.
Country Life: CXLII 524, 606, 668, corr. 1221, gardens.
Title: Didier Aaron Catalogue, 1992
Year Published: 1992
Reference: item 49
Publisher: Paris: Didier Aaron Et Cie
Book Type: Softback
Title: Treasure Houses of Britain, The - SOFTBACK
Author: Jackson-Stops, Gervase (Editor)
Year Published: 1985
Reference: pg. 609
Publisher: Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art (New Haven: Yale University Press)
Book Type: Softback
Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - SOFTBACK
Author: Colvin, Howard
Year Published: 1995
Reference: pg. 880
Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
Book Type: Softback
Title: Country Life Cumulative Index: Volumes I to CXCIII to December 1999
Year Published: 2000
Publisher: London: IPC Magazines Limited
Book Type: Light Softback
House Listed: Grade I
Park Listed: Grade II
Current Seat / Home of: James Felton Somers Hervey-Bathurst, son of Elizabeth Hervey-Bathurst, daughter of the 6th Baron Somers; family here since the 16th century.
Past Seat / Home of: SEATED AT CURRENT HOUSE: John Somers Cocks, 1st Earl Somers and 2nd Baron Somers, 1815-41; John Somers Somers-Cocks, 2nd Earl Somers and 3rd Baron Somers , 1841-52; Charles Somers Somers-Cocks, 3rd Earl Somers and 4th Baron Somers, 1852-83; Philip Reginald Cocks, 5th Baron Somers, 1883-99; Arthur Herbert Tennyson Somers-Cocks, 6th Baron Somers, 1899-1944. Elizabeth Hervey-Bathurst (née Somers-Cocks), 1944-88.
Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust
Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home