|Location||Englefield, Berkshire, England|
Englefield House is an Elizabethan country house with surrounding estate at Englefield in the English county of Berkshire, owned by the Benyon family. The gardens are open to the public all year round on particular weekdays and the house by appointment only for large groups.
Englefield House was the home of the Englefield family, supposedly from the time of King Edgar. Sir Thomas Englefield was the Speaker of the House of Commons. In 1559, the house was confiscated from Thomas Englefield's grandson, Sir Francis Englefield, a servant of the Catholic Queen Mary, for "consorting with [the] enemies" of the new Protestant monarch, Elizabeth I. The family later lived at Whiteknights Park in Earley and continued to be buried in Englefield parish church until 1822.
Popular local tradition is that the Queen granted Englefield to her spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, although there is no evidence of this. After a succession of short-lived residents, the estate was eventually purchased by John Paulet, 5th Marquess of Winchester, famous for his Civil War defence of Basing House in Hampshire. He retired to Englefield at the Restoration and is buried in the parish church. From his Paulet descendants, the house passed, through marriage, to the Benyon family. Numerous members of the Benyon family have also been Members of Parliament, including the current occupants of the main house of the estate, Sir William Benyon, and his son, Richard Benyon. Recent descent has been: Lord Francis Paulet (d. 1696); Francis Paulet (d. 1712); Anne Paulet (d.1729); Powlett Wright the elder (d.1741); Powlett Wrighte the younger (d. 1779); Nathan Wrighte (d. 1789); Richard Benyon the younger (d. 1796); Richard Benyon De Beauvoir (d. 1854); Richard Fellowes Benyon (d. 1897); James Herbert Benyon (d. 1935); Sir Henry Benyon, Bt. (d. 1959); and Vice-Admiral Richard Benyon (d. 1967).
Englefield inheritance inspired name changes
- Richard Benyon to Richard Powlett-Wrighte in 1814 (and then to Richard Benyon De Beauvoir in 1822);
- Richard Fellowes to Richard Fellowes Benyon in 1854;
- James Herbert Fellowes, to James Herbert Benyon in 1897,
- Richard Shelley, William Richard Shelley and Richard Henry Ronald Shelley to ... Benyon in 1964 and 1967.
Film and television
Englefield House has been the filming location for a number of movies, including X-Men: First Class, The King's Speech, and Great Expectations, and for the television series Agatha Christie's Marple, Agatha Christie's Poirot episode "Taken at the Flood", Hex and the reality television series I Wanna Marry "Harry".
The estate includes most of the parish. Today it is owned by a family company, the Englefield Estate, covering some 20,000 acres (8,100 ha); its farm receives (as all farms in the EU can apply for under the Common Agricultural Policy) European Union agricultural subsidies.
- Ford, David Nash (2001). "Englefield House". Royal Berkshire History. Nash Ford Publishing. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- Sally Bryant (22 November 2012). "Englefield House stars in Great Expectations". getreading. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
- "Hex (TV Series 2004-2005)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
- Buckland, Danny (18 May 2014). "Controversial US show to marry-off 'Prince Harry' coming to British TV". Daily Express. London. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
- Robert Verkaik (27 February 2011). "Wealthy minister earns £2m subsidies in EU farm subsidies which his department tried to cover up". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
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