The Entrance Facade
The Rear Facade
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, Library, and 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 two other historic house hotels, 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, together with Bodysgallen Hall and Middlethorpe Hall.
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 WyattDate: Circa 1780
Architect: Richard WoodsDate: 1760s
Architect: James Paine, Sr.Date: 1783-89
Architect: Henry KeeneDate: 1780
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
Year Published: NA
Reference: Spring 2010, pg. 25
Publisher: New York: The Royal Oak Foundation
Book Type: Magazine
Title: Encyclopedia Britannica
Author: Benton, William (Publisher)
Year Published: 1959
Reference: Vol. 5, pg. 276
Publisher: Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.
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
Book Type: Softback
Title: Paris Between Empires, 1814-1852
Author: Mansel, Philip
Year Published: 2001
Reference: pg. 3
Publisher: London: John Murray
Book Type: Hardback
Title: Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire, The
Author: Pevsner, Nikolaus; Williamson, Elizabeth
Year Published: 1994
Publisher: London: Penguin Books
Book Type: Hardback
House Listed: Grade I
Park Listed: Grade II
Past Seat / Home of: Sir Alexander Hampden, 17th century. Sir Thomas Lee, 3rd Bt., late 17th-early 18th centuries. King Louis XVIII of France, 1809-14. 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.