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|Design and construction|
Appuldurcombe House (also spelt Appledorecombe or Appledore Combe) is the shell of a large 18th-century baroque country house of the Worsley family. The house is situated near to Wroxall on the Isle of Wight.
It is now managed by English Heritage and is open to the public. A small part of the large and 1.2 km² estate which once surrounded it is still intact, but other features of the estate are still visible in the surrounding farmland and nearby village of Wroxall, including the entrance to the park, the Freemantle Gate, now used only by farm animals and pedestrians.
The present house was begun in 1702, replacing the large Tudor mansion bequeathed to Sir Robert Worsley, 3rd Baronet. The architect was John James. Sir Robert never saw the house fully completed. He died on 29 July 1747, in his memory a monument was erected overlooking the house on Stenbury Down.
The house was greatly extended in the 1770s by his great nephew Sir Richard Worsley, 7th Baronet of Appuldurcombe. The newly extended mansion was where Sir Richard brought his new wife, whom he married ‘for love and £80,000’. Capability Brown was commissioned in 1779 to design the ornamental grounds at the same time as the extensions. A romantic ruined folly known as "Cooke’s Castle" was built on the hill opposite to improve the view.
During Sir Richard's time the house held a magnificent art collection, and was the setting for Sir Richard's entertaining of some of the most eminent figures of the age.
The subsequent owner, Charles Anderson-Pelham, the 2nd Baron Yarborough (later first Earl of Yarborough), founder of the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes, made few changes to the house, and was quite happy to retain the property as a convenient base for his sailing activities. In 1855 the estate was sold. An unsuccessful business venture ran Appuldurcombe as a hotel, but with its failure, the house was then leased for use as a college for young gentlemen.
The house was inhabited for a few years in the early 20th century by the large community of Benedictine monks who had been exiled from Solesmes Abbey in France and were shortly to settle at Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wight. Troops were billeted in the house during both world wars. It was badly damaged in the Second World War, when a Dornier Do 217 that was engaged in a mine laying mission turned inland and dropped its final mine very close to the house on 7 February 1943 before crashing into St Martin's Down.
Although the house is now mainly a shell, its front section has been re-roofed and glazed, and a small part of the interior recreated. Today, the house has become well known as one of the most haunted places on the island, with frequent tales and claimed sightings of ghosts. These have included a phantom carriage parked outside the front of the house, brown-clad monks, dark shapes seen roaming the grounds, a baby's cry and claims of unseen hands going through pages of the visitor's book.
 Tudor Appuldurcombe
The drawing by Sir Robert Worsley dated 1720 is annotated in his hand as follows:
"Appuldurcombe as I found it in 1690 & of which I have not left one stone standing. This place took its name from its situation for in ye old Armoric Language Pul is a Bottom or Ditch or A Pool And Dur is water. ye Armoric Language is ye of ye Brittons in France And agrees much with ye Cornish & was probably ye language of ye old inhabitants of this Island. ye Saxons added Combe which in their language signifies a Bottom. I thought fitt to leave this Memorandum to Posterity & refer them to Lhuyds Dictionary in ye oldest Court Roll I have which was ye 16 year of King Henry ye Sixth I find it entered Appuldurcombe as above & likewise in some of ye old ones since but they often varyed in ye spelling of it not knowing from whence it was derived." Signed "Rob. Worsley, 1720". Also annotated are, from l to r: "Bowling Green, Great Dining Room with library over it this was formerly a tennis court, Staircase, Parlour, Hall, Hall, Chapell, Stables" Published in Worsley, Sir Richard, History of the Isle of Wight, London, 1781, between pp.180/1.
- Appuldurcombe House website
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