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Buckland Park
Buckland, Berkshire

Buckland Park, described in 'The Buildings of England' by Nikolaus Pevsner, as “the most splendid Georgian house in the County” is Grade II* listed, and occupies a commanding position with far-reaching views over the Thames Valley and surrounding countryside. The house faces due south and is situated on the edge of the picturesque village of Buckland. To the south the parkland includes a cricket ground while to the north, the house enjoys fine views over the Deer Park.

The house has some exceptional rooms and boasts a number of historically important features such as marble fireplaces, exquisite mouldings, cornicing and painted ceilings. The house is of Palladian design and is symmetrically formed with impressively long passages leading to the octagonal pavilions on both the east and west wings of the house. The bedrooms on the north side have wonderful views across the countryside, the River Thames and beyond. It is hearsay that one of these bedrooms was copied from the one at Versailles where Marie Antoinette allegedly hid her children during the French Revolution. By contrast, the bedrooms on the south side enjoys looking out onto the cricket ground and the village church. The house is approached by a sweeping gravel driveway.

The known history of the Estate dates from 1227 when Hugh de Buckland was recorded as the owner or occupier. Although it is more likely that it was granted to one Hugo, to hold as book-land, that is to say, land held by an individual, as distinguished from Folkland.

Buckland Park itself was built in 1757, in Palladian style by John Wood, who was also responsible for the Royal Crescent in Bath. He was commissioned by Sir Robert Throckmorton whose family lived there until 1908. When John Wood designed the house he provided 15 bedrooms in all to house both family and servants, but the reception rooms spread along the frontage of no less than 130 feet. It consisted only of the central square block with long corridors running east and west and terminating in the two octagonal pavilions now used respectively as a library and dining room. The latter was used by one owner as a chapel. In those days the kitchen and other domestic offices were all in the basement.

Wood's work, as seen in the interior of the saloon was typical of the best work of the latter part of the 18th century with its rich Corinthian pilasters, bold cornices and well carved festoons.

In 1908, Sir Maurice FitzGerald acquired the house and engaged the architect, Romaine Walker, to enlarge it by adding the wings on the north front which comprise the Billiard Room and the Royal Suite. Legend says that this was due to a rumour that King Edward VII wished to visit which would have required an increase in accommodation. The additions, indeed, led to extra rooms on the upper floors too, with the result that the house now has 19 bedrooms. It was also at this stage that the terrace at the back of the house was created. These changes have added considerable dignity to the house.

The FitzGerald family lived in the house until 1947 and entertained many great people including Sir Winston Churchill and Queen Mary, whose objets d'art were stored in the basement during the Second World War. The house passed to Lady Fitzgerald's grandson Major Richard Wellesley a direct descendant of the 'Iron' Duke of Wellington, who advertised the house in The Times in 1962 saying "This Georgian Mansion is yours for £8 a week". It then became an independent Oxford University hall in 1963 until the present owner bought and restored it to its current state.

Buckland Park is currently offered for sale through FPD Savills.


    © Nash Ford Publishing 2001. All Rights Reserved.