DiCamillo Companion

Thame Park

  • Earlier Houses: Thame is built on the site of an important Cistercian abbey, founded in 1138 by Alexander, Bishop of Lincoln.

    House & Family History: The current house includes the early 16th century abbot's lodgings (to the south) and a small 13th-14th century range on the north, which incorporates arched cloisters. In the mid-18th century these various pieces were linked by a new house built on the west, probably on the site of other monastic buildings. The result is a house with 25,000 square feet of interior space sporting a west facade that's Georgian and a late Gothic south facade, complete with crenellated turrets and mullioned windows. The 16th century interiors are some of the earliest examples of the Italian Renaissance style in England. In 1984 Sir Frank Bowden, whose grandfather founded the Raleigh Bicycle Company (by 1913 the largest bicycle manufacturing company in the world), sold Thame Park to a Japanese family. The new owners intended to turn Thame into a country house hotel and started work on refurbishing the interiors; however, in 1992 all work came to a stop and in 2000 Thame was put up for sale for £8 million. The estate sold for £6 million in 2002, the outlying farmland was sold off and the house was restored and converted back into a private home.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: Thame has 450 acres of parkland, with 30 acres of gardens that are listed Grade II, complete with a seven-acre lake and a sunken rose garden, all set within a 1,200 acre estate. The Grade II-listed stables are also extant. In the early 21st century new greenhouses and potting sheds were built.

    Chapel & Church: There is a fine Grade II-listed chapel in the park.

  • Architect: Gerald Berkeley Wills

    Date: 1920s-30s
    Designed: Alterations and additions

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    Architect: William Smith the Younger

    Date: Circa 1745
    Designed: Rebuilt House for 6th Viscount Wenman
    (Attribution of this work is uncertain)
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    Architect: Henry Bateman Hudson

    Date: 1837
    Designed: Restored The Prebendal House in the Park for Charles Stone

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    Architect: Henry Bateman Hudson

    Date: 1843-45
    Designed: Restored Thame Church

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    Architect: Robert Abraham

    Date: 1836
    Designed: Reconstructed Chapel for Baroness Wenman

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  • Country Life: XXVI, 90, 1909. CXXII, 1092 plan, 1148, 1957.

  • Title: Buildings of England: Oxfordshire, The
    Author: Sherwood, Jennifer; Pevsner, Nikolaus
    Year Published: 1974
    Reference: pg. 809
    Publisher: London: Penguin Books
    ISBN: 0140710450
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Movie Locations: A Guide to Britain & Ireland
    Author: Adams, Mark
    Year Published: 2000
    Publisher: London: Boxtree
    ISBN: 0752271695
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - SOFTBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 1995
    Reference: pgs. 48, 518, 903
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 0300072074
    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)
    ISBN: 0859551970
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Grade II*

  • "Lady Chatterley" (1993). "The Madness of King George" (1994). "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" (1996). "Emma" (1996 - TV mini series, as Abbey Mill Farm, Hartfield interiors, Donwell strawberry beds, derelict cottages, gypsy camp, and the sea at Weymouth). "Midsomer Murders" (1997 - TV series, hunt scenes in the episode "Death of a Stranger"). "The Governess" (1998). "Saving Private Ryan" (1998 - in the following scenes: storming the machine nest, all the shots of large fields, and the half-track ambush). "Midsomer Murders" (1999 - TV series, as Tye House in the episode "Death's Shadow"). "The Wyvern Mystery" (2000 - TV mini series, as Carwell Grange).
  • Current Seat / Home of: Paul Matthews

    Past Seat / Home of: Abbot Robert King, 1530-39. John Williams, 1st Baron Williams of Thame, until 1559. Richard Wenman, 1st Viscount Wenman, until 1640; Thomas Wenman, 2nd Viscount Wenman, 1640-65; Philip Wenman, 3rd Viscount Wenman, 1665-86; Richard Wenman, 4th Viscount Wenman, 1686-90; Richard Wenman, 5th Viscount Wenman, 1690-1729; Philip Wenman, 6th Viscount Wenman, 1729-60; Philip Wenman, 7th Viscount Wenman, 1760-1800. Sophia Elizabeth Wykeham, Baroness Wenman, 1800-70; Wenman family here from 1559 until 1870. Charles Stone, 19th century. Mr. W.A. Wykeham-Musgrave, early 20th century. Sir Harold Bowden, 2nd Bt., until 1960; Sir Frank Houston Bowden, 3rd Bt., 1960-84.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

  • House Open to Public: No

    Historic Houses Member: No


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