DiCamillo Companion

Hurstbourne Park (Hurstbourne House)

  • Earlier Houses: Two earlier houses on the site of the current house burned down.

    House & Family History: The house that James I visited in 1603 burned in the late 18th century and was replaced by James Wyatt's house of 1780-85, which, in turn, also burned (in 1870) and was replaced by the current late 19th-early 20th century house. Thomas Archer also made plans for Hurstbourne, 1699-1700, which probably remained unexecuted. In 1936 the 8th Earl of Portsmouth sold Hurstbourne to the Finnish textile magnate and ambassador to the Court of St. James's, Ossian Donner, for £18,000. In 1965 much of the House, including the large Ballroom, was demolished. The original dower house (Farleigh House) survives and is today the seat of the 10th Earl of Portsmouth. Hurstbourne appears in the writings of Jane Austen, who wrote in 1800 to her sister: "I believe I drank too much wine last night at Hurstbourne. I know not how else to account for the shaking of my hand." At the end of 2000 the Donner family put Hurstbourne, and 540 acres, up for sale at the asking price of £4.75 million.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: Capability Brown laid out the grounds in 1740. The Georgian Stableblock (listed Grade II) now forms four cottages. A coat of arms from a park gate at Hurstbourne was saved and installed at Farleigh House, as were Coade Stone mermaids, which now sit on the gate piers at Farleigh.

  • Architect: John Meadows

    Date: Circa 1780-85
    Designed: Supervised rebuilding of House (destroyed by fire 1870) to designs of James Wyatt for 2nd Earl of Portsmouth

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    Architect: James Wyatt

    Date: Circa 1780-85
    Designed: House for 2nd Earl of Portsmouth (destroyed by fire 1870)

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    Architect: Lancelot Brown

    Date: 1740
    Designed: Park

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  • Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - SOFTBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 1995
    Reference: pgs. 649, 1116
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 0300072074
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire, The
    Author: Pevsner, Nikolaus; Williamson, Elizabeth
    Year Published: 1994
    Reference: pg. 459
    Publisher: London: Penguin Books
    ISBN: 0140710620
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Not Listed

    Park Listed: Grade II

  • Current Seat / Home of: Donner family

    Past Seat / Home of: John Wallop, 1st Earl of Portsmouth, 18th century; Wallop family here until 1936. Ossian Donner, 20th century.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

  • House Open to Public: No

    Historic Houses Member: No