DiCamillo Companion

St. Osyth Priory (St. Osyth's Priory) (Priory of St. Osyth)

  • Earlier Houses: 12th and 13th century fragments from an Augustinian abbey (founded on the site circa 1127) were incorporated into the current house. In "Gesta Pontificum Anglorum" (aka "The Chronicle of the English Bishops") William of Malmesbury wrote in praise of the great learning of the 12th century canons at St. Osyth's.

    House & Family History: St. Osyth's was originally an Augustinian abbey, founded before 1127. The House attached to Abbey was built for Abbot John Vintoner in 1527. The Estate was acquired by the D'Arcy family after the Dissolution of the Monasteries. George III, when he went to inspect the camp at Colchester, stayed at St. Osyth's as the guest of the 4th Earl of Rochford; the king expressed his gratitude for the earl's hospitality by giving him two portraits: of himself and Queen Charlotte in their coronation robes. Lord Rochford was a friend of both George II and George III; at George II's death he was groom of the stole, and, as such, was entitled to the furniture of the room in which the king died. In 1865 St. Osyth's was remodeled for Sir John Johnson. General Kincaid-Smith purchased the House in 1924 and was famous for his parties, entertaining, among others, Queen Mary. The society that purchased St. Osyth's in 1948 converted the the House into a recovery home. Author Somerset de Chair bought the House in 1954 and restored the Gatehouse as his private home.

    Collections: Some contents were sold at Christie's on June 4-5, 1984 for £581,547. Much of the collection of Wentworth Woodhouse was brought to St. Osyth's by Lady Juliet Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, daughter of the 10th and last Earl Fitzwilliam, who married Somerset de Chair. They made their home here until the death of de Chair in 1997; in 1999, upon her marriage to Dr. Christopher Tadgell, Lady Juliet sold St. Osyth's and moved the Fitzwilliam Collection (now owned by The Trustees of the Rt. Hon. Olive, Countess Fitzwilliam's Chattels Settlement) to Bourne Park, Kent, the house she now shares with her new husband. The Beth Shan bust, a monumental Roman marble double herm of Ariadne and Bacchus, circa 2nd-3rd century AD, was in the collection at St. Osyth's until 1995. The herm was sold at Bonhams on May 1, 2008.

    Comments: St. Osyth's is considered to be among the finest monastic ruins in Britain.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: The Earls of Rochford acquired the House in the 18th century and added the range of reticence and lawns in Picturesque style in the mid-18th century. The first Lombardy poplars were introduced to England here by the 3rd Earl of Rochford.

  • Country Life: XIV, 304, 1903. XLIV, 524, 550, 576, 1918. CXXIV, 360, 1958.

  • Title: Apollo (magazine)
    Author: NA
    Year Published: NA
    Reference: Apr 2008, pg. 67
    Publisher: London: Apollo Magazine Ltd.
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Magazine

    Title: Radical Classicism: The Architecture of Quinlan Terry
    Author: Watkin, David
    Year Published: 2006
    Reference: pg. 168
    Publisher: New York: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc.
    ISBN: 0847828069
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Georgian: The Magazine of the Georgian Group, The
    Author: NA
    Year Published: NA
    Reference: Jan 2002, pg. 13
    Publisher: London: The Georgian Group
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Magazine

    Title: Art Newspaper, The
    Author: NA
    Year Published: NA
    Reference: Jul-Aug 1998, pg. 3
    Publisher: London: Umberto Allemandi & Co.
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Newspaper

    Title: Disintegration of a Heritage: Country Houses and their Collections, 1979-1992, The
    Author: Sayer, Michael
    Year Published: 1993
    Publisher: Norfolk: Michael Russell (Publishing)
    ISBN: 0859551970
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: English Country House From the Archives of Country Life, 1897-1939, The
    Author: Hall, Michael
    Year Published: 1994
    Publisher: London: Mitchell Beazley
    ISBN: 1857325303
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Burke's & Savills Guide to Country Houses, Volume III: East Anglia
    Author: Kenworthy-Browne, John; Reid, Peter; Sayer, Michael; Watkin, David
    Year Published: 1981
    Publisher: London: Burke's Peerage
    ISBN: 0850110351
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Grade II

  • "The Chiltern Hundreds" (1949). "Death in Holy Orders" (2003 - BBC TV mini series, as St. Anselm's Theological College).
  • Current Seat / Home of: Sargeant family; here since 1999.

    Past Seat / Home of: Abbot John Vintoner, early 16th century. Thomas Cromwell, 16th century. Thomas Darcy (D'Arcy), 1st Baron Darcy of Chiche, late 16th century. Frederick Nassau de Zuylestein, 3rd Earl of Rochford, 18th century. Sir John Johnson, 19th century. General Kincaid-Smith, 20th century. Lady Juliet Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, 20th century.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

  • House Open to Public: No

    Historic Houses Member: No