The entrance facade from a circa 1910 photo
The house from "Dugdale's England and Wales Delineated," circa 1857.
House & Family History: The core of the House and the Stableblock were built circa 1630 by Sir William Pitt, comptroller of the household to James I. George Pitt, 1st Baron Rivers, had the brick house faced in stucco in the 18th century. Stratfield Saye was the gift of the nation to Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington (the "Iron Duke"), for his victories in the Napoleonic wars; the duke later became prime minister and a prominent statesman. The House has been the seat of the dukes of Wellington since 1817. The dish Beef Wellington and Wellington Boots, or Wellies, were both named after the 1st Duke. Beef Wellington bears his name not because the duke was a great gourmet, but because the finished joint of beef was thought to resemble one of the brown shiny military boots which were named after him.
Collections: Tommaso di Stefano Lunetti's "Adoration," dated 1813, was given to the 1st Duke of Wellington by King Ferdinand VII of Spain; the painting was seized from the royal collection of Joseph Bonaparte's luggage at Vittoria. The painting was sold at Christie's on June 26, 1979 for £42,000. Sir Francis Grant's "Melton Hunt Going to Draw Ram's Head Covert," purchased by the 1st Duke from the artist in 1839, was sold at Christie's on June 22, 1979 for £30,000. Benjamin Dean Wyatt's drawings for Waterloo Palace were sold at Sotheby's on December 11, 1980. The Waterloo Dispatch was sold by negotiation to the British Library in 1989-90.
Architect: Giovanni Battista BorraDate: Probably 1750s
Architect: John PittDate: 1755
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: 2.S. Vol. I, p. 214, 1854.
Country Life: CIV, 1050, 1106, 1162 plan, 1218, 1948. CV, 202 [Furniture & Relics], 1949. CLVII, 899, 982, 1975.
Title: Treasure Houses of Britain, The - SOFTBACK
Author: Jackson-Stops, Gervase (Editor)
Year Published: 1985
Reference: pg. 336
Publisher: Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art (New Haven: Yale University Press)
Book Type: Softback
Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - SOFTBACK
Author: Colvin, Howard
Year Published: 1995
Reference: pgs. 145, 757, 1105
Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
Book Type: Softback
Title: Disintegration of a Heritage: Country Houses and their Collections, 1979-1992, The
Author: Sayer, Michael
Year Published: 1993
Publisher: Norfolk: Michael Russell (Publishing)
Book Type: Hardback
House Listed: Grade I
Park Listed: Grade II
Current Seat / Home of: Arthur Charles Valerian Wellesley, 9th Duke of Wellington; Wellesley family here since 1817.
Past Seat / Home of: Sir William Pitt, 17th century; George Pitt, 1st Baron Rivers, 18th century.
Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust
Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home