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Hartwell House

  • Earlier Houses: There was probably an earlier house on the site of the current house.

    House & Family History: The north facade of Hartwell is early 17th century, probably enlarged by Sir Alexander Hampden from an earlier house. After Hampden's death in 1617 the house became, through marriage, the property of the Lee family of East Claydon. Sir Thomas Lee laid out elaborate formal gardens in 1690. King Louis XVIII of France, while in exile, lived at Hartwell (from 1809 until 1814), together with approximately 140 courtiers. During the king's occupation the flat roof was used as a virtual farmyard, with chickens and rabbits in cages and a vegetable garden housed in large pots. During this time the uncrowned French king issued the famous Declaration of Hartwell, a document which promised—should he be installed as king of France—stability, freedom, and peace as part of his acceptance of the post-revolutionary settlement in France. Charles Philippe, Count of Artois, later King Charles X of France, spent time at Hartwell between 1795 and 1813. Post-1938 Hartwell was a school, during which time it was badly treated. In 1963 a fire destroyed the first floor and parts of the dining room, the library, and the staircase. In 1986 the Ernest Cook Trust, who own the freehold, sold a long-term lease to Historic House Hotels, who restored it as a five-star hotel. In 2008 Historic House Hotels gave Hartwell, together with Middlethorpe Hall and Bodysgallen, to the National Trust. The Royal Meteorological Society was formed in 1850 by ten gentlemen assembled in the library at Hartwell.

    Collections: One of a suite of chairs made circa 1740 for Sir Thomas Lee, 3rd Bt., sold from Hartwell in the 1938 sale, was purchased by the National Trust in 2010 for $37,500 with funds donated by Richard Broyd, who donated Hartwell to the Trust in 2008.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: Hartwell had many follies, few of which exist today. These included: the Doric Column, topped by statue of William III by Henry Cheere; the Ionic Temple; the obelisk; the Gothic Tower; the Egyptian Well, and the Edwardian Star Lodge. The bridge of 1780 by Keene was replaced in 1901 by James Paine's Kew Bridge of 1783-89. The house today is surrounded by 90 acres of gardens and parkland.

  • Architect: James Gibbs

    Date: 1739-40
    Designed: Great Hall for 3rd Baronet; follies.

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    Architect: Henry Keene

    Date: 1759-63
    Designed: Classical recasting for 4th Baronet

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    Architect: James Wyatt

    Date: Circa 1780
    Designed: Completed bridge designed by H. Keene (demolished); designs for offices; probably designed semi-circular vestibule for Sir William Lee, Bt.

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    Architect: Richard Woods

    Date: 1760s
    Designed: Naturalistic Landscaping
    (Attribution of this work is uncertain)
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    Architect: James Paine Sr.

    Date: 1783-89
    Designed: Kew Bridge re-erected at Hartwell in 1901; replaced Keene's Bridge of 1780.

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    Architect: Joseph Bonomi, II (the Younger)

    Date: 1851
    Designed: Egyptian Well

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    Architect: Eric Throssell

    Date: 1986-89
    Designed: Restored house for Richard Broyd

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    Architect: Henry Cheere

    Date: 1730s
    Designed: Statues and follies

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    Architect: Henry Keene

    Date: 1780
    Designed: Bridge; replaced in 1901 with Paine's Kew Bridge of 1783-89.

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    Architect: Geoffrey Alan Jellicoe

    Date: Circa 1979
    Designed: Landscaping

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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: Vol. I, p. 12, 1852. 2.S. Vol. II, p. 116, 1855.

    Country Life: XXXV, 378, 414, 1914.

  • Title: Royal Oak Newsletter, The
    Author: NA
    Year Published: NA
    Reference: Spring 2010, pg. 25
    Publisher: New York: The Royal Oak Foundation
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Magazine

    Title: Encyclopedia Britannica
    Author: Benton, William (Publisher)
    Year Published: 1959
    Reference: Vol. 5, pg. 276
    Publisher: Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - SOFTBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 1995
    Reference: pg. 1115
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 0300072074
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Paris Between Empires, 1814-1852
    Author: Mansel, Philip
    Year Published: 2001
    Reference: pg. 3
    Publisher: London: John Murray
    ISBN: 0719556279
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire, The
    Author: Pevsner, Nikolaus; Williamson, Elizabeth
    Year Published: 1994
    Publisher: London: Penguin Books
    ISBN: 0140710620
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Grade II*

  • Past Seat / Home of: SEATED AT CURRENT HOUSE: Sir Alexander Hampden, 17th century. Sir Thomas Lee, 3rd Bt., late 17th-early 18th centuries. King Louis XVIII of France (as tenant), 1809-14. Charles Philippe, Count of Artois (later King Charles X of France (as tenant), until 1813. Leith family.

    Current Ownership Type: Charity / Nonprofit

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Hotel

    Ownership Details: Owned by the Ernest Cook Trust and leased to the National Trust until 2111. The NT's subsidiary, Historic House Hotels Ltd., operates the hotel.

  • House Open to Public: By Appointment

    Phone: 01296-747-444

    Fax: 01296-747-450

    Email: [email protected]

    Website: https://www.hartwell-house.com/

    Historic Houses Member: No