The first House from an 1888 wood engraving
An 18th century engraving of the Villa Farnese, Caprarola. Wimbledon Palace's terraces and axial stairs were very likely copied from the Villa Farnese.
Built / Designed For: Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter.
House & Family History: Wimbledon Palace, the first house on the site, was completed in 1588 for Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter, son of the famous Lord Burghley, Queen Elizabeth I's most important adviser (the 1st Earl of Exeter entertained Queen Elizabeth at Wimbledon Palace for three days in 1599). After the death of Lord Exeter's son, Viscount Wimbeldon, in 1638, his family sold Wimbledon Palace to Charles I, who gave it to his wife, Queen Henrietta Maria. The queen engaged Inigo Jones to rebuild and expand the House between 1640 and 1641. This house was mostly demolished in 1720 and replaced by a smaller 18th century house.
House Replaced By: In 1720 Sir Theodore Janssen engaged Colin Campbell to erect a new house, on a different site, using brick from the first house. This second house, Wimbledon Manor House, was demolished in the 20th century to make way for the Belvedere Estate housing development.
Garden & Outbuildings: Wimbledon Palace's terraces and axial stairs were very likely copied from the Villa Farnese at Caprarola (see "Images" section).
Chapel & Church: Edward Cecil, 1st Viscount Wimbledon, is buried in the Cecil Chapel at St. Mary's Church, Wimbledon, near the site of his demolished house.
Title: Life at Burghley: Restoring One of England's Great Houses
Author: Leatham, Lady Victoria
Year Published: 1992
Reference: pgs. 78-79
Publisher: Boston: Little, Brown and Company
Book Type: Hardback
House Listed: Demolished
Park Listed: Destroyed
Past Seat / Home of: SEATED AT FIRST HOUSE: Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter, 1589-1623; Edward Cecil, 1st Viscount Wimbledon, 1623-38. Queen Henrietta Maria, 17th century. General John Lambert, 1649-60. Lady Bristol (widow of the 1st Earl of Bristol), 17th century. Thomas Osborne, Earl of Danby and 1st Duke of Leeds, until 1712. SEATED AT SECOND HOUSE: Sir Theodore Janssen, 1st Baronet of Wimbledon, 1717-48. Martha Rush, 1749-59; Samuel Rush, 1759-83; Sir William Beaumaris Rush, 1783-1833.
Current Ownership Type: Demolished
Primary Current Ownership Use: Demolished
House Open to Public: No
Historic Houses Member: No