DiCamillo Companion

Hurstbourne Park (Hurstbourne House)

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

    Built / Designed For: 6th Earl of Portsmouth

    House & Family History: The house that James I visited in 1603 (the first house) burned in the late 18th century and was replaced by James Wyatt's house of 1780-85 (the second house), which, in turn, also burned (in 1870) and was replaced by the current late 19th-early 20th century house (the third 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. During World War II the house was occupied by the Bank of England. In 1965 much of Hurstbourne Park, 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 the house, together with 540 acres, up for sale at an asking price of £4.75 million.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: Though there was a Medieval deer park on the grounds, the park, as seen today, was laid out in the 18th century by Capability Brown. The Georgian stableblock (Grade II-listed) has been redeveloped into four cottages. A coat of arms from a park gate at Hurstbourne was saved and installed at Farleigh House (formerly the dower house for the estate), as were Coade Stone mermaids, which now sit on the gate piers at Farleigh.

  • Architect: Thomas Archer

    Date: 1699-1700
    Designed: Designs for house and grounds, which were probably not executed.
    (Attribution of this work is uncertain)
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    Architect: John Meadows

    Date: Circa 1780-85
    Designed: Supervised buidling of second house (destroyed by fire 1870) for 2nd Earl of Portsmouth

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    Architect: James Wyatt

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

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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: Leonie Schroder; here since 2000.

    Past Seat / Home of: SEATED AT EARLIER HOUSES: Sir Robert Oxenbridge, until 1574; Sir Robert Oxenbridge, until 1638. John Wallop, 1st Earl of Portsmouth, until 1762; John Wallop, 2nd Earl of Portsmouth, 1762-97; John Charles Wallop, 3rd Earl of Portsmouth, 1797-1853; Newton Fellowes, 4th Earl of Portsmouth, 1853-54; Isaac Newton Wallop, 5th Earl of Portsmouth, 1854-91. SEATED AT CURRENT HOUSE: Newton Wallop, 6th Earl of Portsmouth, 1892-1917; John Fellowes Wallop, 7th Earl of Portsmouth, 1917-25; Oliver Henry Wallop, 8th Earl of Portsmouth, 1925-36. Ossian Donner, 1936-36; Sir Patrick William Donner, 1936-88; Donner family here until 2000.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

  • House Open to Public: No

    Historic Houses Member: No