Beckley Park

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Beckley Park, Oxfordshire
Beckley Park in the 1930s

Beckley Park is a stately home located near the village of Beckley, in Oxfordshire, England.

It was built in 1540 by Lord Williams of Thame, who also built a great house at Rycote, a few miles away. It was originally built as a lodge for use when the lord and a party hunted the great park. Today it is the main headquarters of the Beckley Foundation and the cherished home of Amanda Feilding, who is married to James Charteris, 13th Earl of Wemyss, who is himself the owner of Stanway House in Gloucestershire.

The Tudor brick edifice of the house is encircled by three moats which attest to the place's importance in former days. Beckley Park remained with the descendants of Lord Williams, the Earls of Abingdon, until 1920 when it was bought by Mr. Feilding, father of Amanda Feilding, Lady Neidpath. It is situated in Otmoor just outside of Oxford.

The house is closed to the public, although it is regularly used for photo shoots and as a film location.

History[edit]

Beckley Park was first enclosed in the 12th century from land held by Roger D’Ivry and later by Richard, Duke of Cornwall, who built a palace on Beckley Hill around which grew the village. He then limited the area of the park by a stone wall, partly extant, and stocked with deer. The hunting lodge was built on a Saxon site at this spot in the centre of the enclosure. First mentioned in 1347, the lodge was re-built in 1376 for King Edward III; the moats, hall buttresses date from the late 14th century. The park was crowned property and its keepers appointed by the King for two centuries: notable families were the Hamdens, the Verneys; and Sir John, later Lord Williams of Thame who in 1550 held the park by grant, rebuilt the lodge to probably the present structure. The park and lodge passed to the Norreys family, whose head in the late 17th was created Earl of Abingdon. In the early 17th Century also a family of Ledwells lived there for generations. The Estate was sold by the son of the seventh Earl of Abingdon to the grandfather of the present owner in 1919.

The house remains unaltered and 'unmodernised' to an unusual extent. It is a Grade I listed building of historic interest. The moats as well have been listed.

Beckley Today[edit]

Yew Garden

In 2003 Beckley Park was used as the set for one of the opening scenes of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in which Frank Bryce runs through the garden to The Riddle House. Photographers who have worked here include Mario Testino.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°48′12″N 1°09′51″W / 51.8034°N 1.1643°W / 51.8034; -1.1643

References[edit]

  • Timothy Mowl (07 edition (1 May 2007)). Historic Gardens of Oxfordshire. London: Tempus Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-0752440866.