Welford Park
Welford, Berkshire

Welford Park was originally the site of a monastic grange that was granted to Abingdon Abbey way back in Saxon times. The house was known as 'Farm Court' and was run on behalf of the monks by a bailiff.

After the Dissolution, King Henry VIII used the place for a time as a hunting lodge. Later, in 1546, it was granted on a long-term lease to Sir Thomas Parry Senior. It was his main residence but, shortly before his death in 1560, he was given nearby Hamstead Marshall Park and his son built a fine new residence there. Welford was used as a Dower House for his mother. She is buried in the adjoining church of St. Gregory.

The present building was built around 1652 for Richard Jones, the grandson of Sir Francis Jones, Lord Mayor of London, who purchased the property in 1618. At first it was a U-shaped structure with the main entrance across a courtyard on the site of the present dining room at the back of the building. In about 1700, Thomas Archer remodelled the house, adding a complete storey and decorating the facade with ionic columns. The interior was considerably altered in 1840.

The Archers and their descendants, the Houblons, are obscure relatives of the Jones family. They owned the property for many generations, though sometimes resided in other great houses and castles. The present owner is James Puxley, grand-nephew of the last Archer-Houblon. 

Welford Park is a private residence. It is open to the public for booked tours only on a restricted number of days in the Summer. Its gardens and the famous Snowdrop Woods are however open to the public every Spring. A back view of the house can always be easily gained from the adjoining churchyard. 

 

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