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Wroxton Abbey is a Jacobean house in Oxfordshire, with a 1727 garden partly converted to the serpentine style between 1731 and 1751. It is 2.5 miles (4 km) west of Banbury, off the A422 road in Wroxton. It is now the English campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Wroxton Abbey is a modernised, 17th-century Jacobean manor house built on the foundations of a 13th-century Augustinian priory. The abbey boasts a great hall, minstrels' gallery, chapel, multi-room library, and royal bedrooms. In addition, there are 45 bedrooms (each with private bath), seminar rooms, offices, basement recreation rooms, and a reception area.
Wroxton Abbey, named for its 12th-century origins as a monastery that fell into disrepair after Henry VIII's 1536 dissolution. Remnants of that structure remain in the basement beams, though the building literally rose from the ruins when rebuilt by William Pope in the early 17th century and added to for several centuries after that as the property passed from the Popes to the Norths in 1677.
The various Lords North and their families, including Frederick, Lord North and their royal, literary, and Presidential visitors — James I in 1605, Charles I on 13 July 1643, George IV in 1805, 06 and 08, William IV, Theodore Roosevelt in 1887 where he slept in William IV the Duke of Clarence's bed, Horace Walpole, Henry James, Frederick, Prince of Wales as well as the structure itself, led to the Abbey's designation as a Grade One Listed Building.
The grounds comprise 56 acres (22.7 ha) of lawns, lakes, and woodlands, and comprise a serpentine lake, a cascade, a rill and a number of follies: the Gothic Dovecote attributed to Sanderson Miller and his Temple-on-the-Mount; the Drayton Arch was built by David Hiorn in 1771. William Andrews Nesfield advised on a formal flower garden on the south side of the house. A knot garden has been added in the 20th century and was illustrated by Blomfield as an example of a "modern garden". He wrote that "Nothing can be more beautiful than some of the walks under the apple trees in the gardens of Penshurst".
The lease for Wroxton Abbey was given to Trinity College, Oxford, by the North and Pope families in 1932. It was sold to New Jersey-based Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1964. Since 1965, Wroxton Abbey has been Fairleigh Dickinson University's Wroxton College. This campus serves American students from Fairleigh Dickinson's New Jersey campuses and international students from Fairleigh Dickinson's Vancouver (Canada) Campus and other American students studying under the British tutorial system. Students study a rigorous curriculum in a variety of courses including several political science, English, art, and other social science courses. In addition to Wroxton's own lecturers, guest lecturers from other British universities will often supplement the academic experience. Wroxton College is accredited by Accreditation Service of International Colleges and was awarded ASIC Premier College Status by that same organization.
The US Ambassador to the United Nations, Adlai Stevenson II, was scheduled to speak at the official dedication of Wroxton College on July 14, 1965, but died on the way to the conference after suffering a heart attack near the US Embassy in London.
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- Wroxton College website
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