The House from an 1819 engraving
Built / Designed For: Sir Edmund Wright
House & Family History: A red brick house laid in English bond on an H-plan, Swakeleys was built by Sir Edmund Wright, a successful merchant from Cheshire who became lord mayor of London in 1640. Sir Edmund purchased the Estate in 1629 and commissioned a house in the Artisan Mannerist style, part of a very cosmopolitan and limited movement that disdained the then-popular Tudor architectural style, but also found the rising Palladian style too cold and severe. Swakeleys and other buildings like it (Cromwell House, London, and Kew Palace, Richmond) blended Renaissance styles with Inigo Jones and a dash of panache. The Great Hall contains its original paneling and the 1655 Harrington Screen. Samuel Pepys dined here in 1665 and described Swakeleys as "a very pleasant place." The House was used for offices for most of the 20th century (the Foreign Office owned the Estate until 1955). Swakeleys was listed for sale in 2015 for £45 million.
Comments: Swakeleys is considered the most important house in Ickenham and one of the most outstanding Jacobean country houses built in the 1630s.
Garden & Outbuildings: The grounds are used to stage the gala day and evening events of the Ickenham Festival.
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. II, p. 121, 1853.
John Preston (J.P.) Neale, published under the title of Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, among other titles: Vol. II, 1819.
Country Life: XXVI, 526, 1909. LXI, 61 plan, 1927.
Title: Times, The (London newspaper)
Year Published: NA
Reference: Feb 10, 2015
Publisher: London: Times Newspapers Ltd.
Book Type: Newspaper
Title: Architecture in Britain, 1530-1830
Author: Summerson; John
Year Published: 1989
Reference: pg. 160
Publisher: London: Penguin Books
Book Type: Softback
Title: Best Buildings of England, The
Author: Pevsner, Nikolaus
Year Published: 1986
Publisher: London: Viking
Book Type: Hardback
House Listed: Grade I
Park Listed: Not Listed
Past Seat of: Sir Edmund Wright, 17th century; Thomas T. Clarke, 19th century.
Current Ownership Type: Unknown
Primary Current Ownership Use: Unoccupied
House Open to Public: No
Historic Houses Member: No