DiCamillo Companion
England

Woodcote Park

  • Earlier Houses: An earlier house, built in the 17th century and altered in the 18th century, burned in 1934 and was replaced by the current house.

    House & Family History: Woodcote was originally built in the mid-17th century for Richard Evelyn, brother of the famous diarist John Evelyn (the house is mentioned in the diaries of Samuel Pepys). The Evelyns bequeathed Woodcote to Charles Calvert, 3rd Baron Baltimore, and it is probably this family who are most associated with Woodcote today in their roles as lords proprietor of the colony of Maryland. In 1911 the house was purchased by the Royal Automobile Club for use as a country club. In 1913 the RAC instructed the London dealer Harold Lancaster to remove and sell a number of the grand historic rooms, many of them noted for their murals by notable Italian artists, including Antonio Verrio. One of the drawing rooms from Woodcote, noted for its boiseries in the French Rococo style, complete with a marble fireplace in the Rococo style by Sir Henry Cheere, is today in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The room was acquired by Eben Howard Gray, who donated it to the MFA in 1928. Filled with Chippendale furniture, the room was unveiled and opened to the public as the Chippendale Room. Sadly, it was quickly determined that most of the pieces of Chippendale furniture that Mr. Gray donated to the MFA to furnish the room were forgeries; much later it was discovered by the architectural historian John Harris that a number of the boiseries had been manipulated (mixing genuine paneling with early 20th century reproduction pieces). Though the MFA still owns the room today, it is, not surprisingly, in storage and not on view to the public. The MFA’s boiseries are based on illustrations in the 1738 French publication "De la Distribution des Maisons de Plaisance" by J.F. Blondel. In 1934 Woodcote Park burned to the ground. The house was rebuilt over the next two years as a modern replica of the original 17th and 18th century house. During World War I soldiers were trained at Woodcote; during the Second World War the grounds were turned over to food production. The RAC continues to operate Woodcote today as a country club.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: The house is today set in 400 acres of parkland.

  • Architect: Francis Brerewood

    Date: 1753-58
    Designed: Added cupola and other embellishments to House; landscaped grounds for 6th Lord Baltimore.

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    Architect: Isaac Ware

    Designed: East Façade
    (Attribution of this work is uncertain)
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    Architect: John Vardy, Sr.

    Date: Circa 1755
    Designed: Rebuilt house for 6th Lord Baltimore
    (Attribution of this work is uncertain)
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  • 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. I, p. 231, 1852.

  • Title: Moving Rooms: The Trade in Architectural Salvages
    Author: Harris, John
    Year Published: 2007
    Reference: pgs. 155, 157, 158
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 9780300124200
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - HARDBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 2008
    Reference: pgs. 154, 1075
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 9780300125085
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Not Listed

    Park Listed: Not Listed

  • Past Seat / Home of: Richard Evelyn, mid-17th century. Charles Calvert, 3rd Baron Baltimore, late 17th-early 18th centuries. James de Teissier, Baron de Teissier, 19th century.

    Current Ownership Type: Club

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Club

    Ownership Details: Since 1911 the country club of the Royal Automobile Club

  • House Open to Public: No

    Phone: 01372-276-311

    Fax: 01372-276-117

    Email: secretary@royalautomobileclub.co.uk

    Website: https://www.royalautomobileclub.co.uk

    Historic Houses Member: No