Charlecote Park

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Charlecote Park
stately home
Charlecote Park 2015.jpg
Charlecote Park
Country England
Region Midlands
District Warwickshire
Municipality Warwick
Founded Built c.16th century
Owner in the care of the National Trust
Visitation accessible to the public with a fee (All year round)
Website: *Charlecote Park information at the National Trust
Charlecote Park circa 1880
Charlecote Gate House 2006
A closer view of Charlecote Park dating from the 1820s.

Charlecote Park (grid reference SP263564) is a grand 16th century country house, surrounded by its own deer park, on the banks of the River Avon near Wellesbourne, about 4 miles (6 km) east of Stratford-upon-Avon and 5.5 miles (9 km) south of Warwick, Warwickshire, England. It has been administered by the National Trust since 1946 and is open to the public. It is a Grade I listed building.


The Lucy family has owned the land since 1247. Charlecote Park was built in 1558 by Sir Thomas Lucy, and Queen Elizabeth I stayed in the room that is now the drawing room. Although the general outline of the Elizabethan house remains, nowadays it is in fact mostly Victorian. Successive generations of the Lucy family had modified Charlecote Park over the centuries, but in 1823, George Hammond Lucy (High Sheriff of Warwickshire in 1831) inherited the house and set about recreating the house in its original style.

Charlecote Park covers 185 acres (75 ha), backing on to the River Avon. William Shakespeare has been alleged to have poached rabbits and deer in the park as a young man and been brought before magistrates as a result.[1] But it is unclear whether there were any deer in the park at that time.

From 1605 to 1640 the house was organised by Sir Thomas Lucy. He had twelve children with Lady Alice Lucy who ran the house after he died. She was known for her piety and distributing alms to the poor each Christmas. Her eldest three sons inherited the house in turn and it then fell to her grandchild Sir Davenport Lucy.[2]

In the Tudor great hall, the 1680 painting Charlecote Park by Sir Godfrey Kneller, is said to be one of the earliest depictions of a black presence in the West Midlands. The painting, of Captain Thomas Lucy, shows a black boy in the background dressed in a blue livery coat and red stockings and wearing a gleaming, metal collar around his neck. The National Trust's Charlecote brochure describes the boy as a "black page boy". In 1735 a black child called Philip Lucy was baptised at Charlecote.[3]

It was landscaped by Capability Brown in about 1760.

In the middle of the 19th century the Fairfax Baronets inherited the property when the male line of the Lucy family failed on the death of Henry Spencer Lucy. The baronets changed their family name to Lucy to reflect the traditions of Charlecote.


The brewery at Charlecote Park
Parterre at Charlecote Park, July 2014

The Great Hall has a barrel-vaulted ceiling made of plaster painted to look like timber and is a fine setting for the splendid collection of family portraits. Other rooms have richly coloured wallpaper, decorated plaster ceilings and wood panelling. There are magnificent pieces of furniture and fine works of art, including a contemporary painting of Queen Elizabeth I. The original two-storey Elizabethan gatehouse that guards the approach to the house remains unaltered.

On display at the house is an original letter from Oliver Cromwell, dated 1654, summoning then owner Richard Lucy to the Barebone's Parliament. Also on display is a 1760 portrait of George Lucy by Thomas Gainsborough which cost Lucy the sum of eight guineas.[4]

A set of archives for the Lucy family at Charlecote is held by the Warwickshire County Record Office[5] The house also has a display of carriages and a period laundry and brewroom.

In April 2012 Charlecote Park featured as the venue for BBC1's Antiques Roadshow.

Charlecote Park has extensive grounds. A parterre has been recreated from the original 1700's plans.


  1. ^ Terry A. Gray, The Lost Years, Palomar College.
  2. ^ Richard Cust, ‘Lucy , Alice, Lady Lucy (c.1594–1648)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 accessed 25 Nov 2015
  3. ^ The Guardian
  4. ^ Malan, A. H., (1899) "Famous Homes of Great Britain and Their Stories"


External links[edit]

Media related to Charlecote Park at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 52°12′19″N 1°37′00″W / 52.20520°N 1.61657°W / 52.20520; -1.61657