Cirencester Park (country house)

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Cirencester Park

Cirencester Park is a country house in the parish of Cirencester in Gloucestershire, England, and is the seat of the Bathurst family, Earls Bathurst. It is a Grade II* listed building.[1] The gardens are Grade I listed on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.[2]

History[edit]

Allen Bathurst, the first Earl Bathurst (1684–1775), inherited the estate on the death of his father, Sir Benjamin Bathurst, in 1704. He was a Tory Member of Parliament and statesman who from 1714 devoted himself to rebuilding the house formerly known as Oakley Grove, which probably stands on the site of Cirencester Castle, and laying out the parkland of what would become Oakley Park.

In 1716, Bathurst acquired the extensive estate of Sapperton from the Atkyns family, including Oakley Wood, and went on to plant one of the finest landscape gardens in England, complete with park buildings, walks, seats, grottoes and ruins. They include Alfred’s Hall, now taken to be the earliest recorded Gothick garden building in England, which is also a grade II* listed building.[3]

Allen Bathurst was raised to the peerage as a baron in 1711 and an earl in 1772, and was a patron of art and literature no less than a statesman. The poet Alexander Pope was a frequent visitor to Cirencester House; he advised on the lay-out of the gardens and designed the building known as Pope's Seat in the park, which commands a splendid view of woods and avenues. [4] Jonathan Swift was another appreciative visitor.

The house contains portraits by Lawrence, Gainsborough, Romney, Lely, Reynolds, Hoppner, Kneller and many others, and a set of giant marble columns carrying busts, which are genuine antiques, collected in Italy by Lord Apsley, the son of the third earl, at the time of the Congress of Vienna in 1814.

There were additions to the house by Sir Robert Smirke about 1830.[5]

Subsequent earls were patrons of the Arts and Crafts movement, when Ernest Gimson and the Barnsley brothers, Sidney and Ernest, settled at Pinbury Park on the Cirencester estate in 1894. Norman Jewson joined them in 1907, and describes his life as a student of Gimson in Sapperton in his classic memoir, By Chance I did Rove (1952).

The estate includes much of the villages of Sapperton and Coates, including Pinbury Park, and lays claim to containing the principal source of the River Thames.[citation needed]

Apsley House, at Hyde Park in London, was built for Lord Apsley, later the third Earl Bathurst and Lord Chancellor, by the architect Robert Adam. In 1807, the house was purchased by Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley, who in 1817 sold it to his brother, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (who presented his portrait, today still in Cirencester House).

The house has the tallest yew hedge in Britain. The semi-circular hedge, which is 33 feet (10 m) wide and 150 yards (140 m) long, is believed to have been planted in about 1710. The tonne of clippings produced by its annual trimming are sold to pharmaceutical companies who use extracts as a key ingredient of Docetaxel, a chemotherapy drug used to treat breast, ovarian and lung cancer.[6]

Listed buildings and structures[edit]

Aside from the Grade I listed gardens and Grade II* listed main house, several other buildings and structures are listed on the National Heritage List for England.

Grade II*[edit]

Grade II[edit]

  • Horse Temple[12]
  • Ivy Lodge and attached farm buildings and wall[13]
  • Four stone piers[14][15][16][17]
  • Round Tower and attached wall[18]
  • Shelter Shed[19]
  • Square Tower[20]
  • Stable range and attached mounting block[21]
  • The two Horse Guard pavilions[22][23]

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 51°43′1″N 1°58′20″W / 51.71694°N 1.97222°W / 51.71694; -1.97222

References[edit]

  1. ^ Historic England, "Cirencester Park mansion and attached offices (1280239)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 5 February 2016 
  2. ^ Historic England, "Cirencester Park (1000432)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 5 February 2016 
  3. ^ "Name: ALFRED'S HALL AT NGR SO 972 031 List entry Number: 1298719". Historic England. Retrieved 27 April 2015. 
  4. ^ "Name: POPE'S SEAT List entry Number: 1204826". Historic England. Retrieved 27 April 2015. 
  5. ^ David Verey; Alan Brooks (2002). Gloucestershire. Yale University Press. pp. 279–282. ISBN 978-0-300-09604-0. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  6. ^ "Tallest hedge in UK trimmed using cherrypicker". The Daily Telegraph ?date=7 August 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  7. ^ Historic England, "Alfred's Hall (1298719)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 5 February 2016 
  8. ^ Historic England, "Hexagon (1187402)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 5 February 2016 
  9. ^ Historic England, "Ice House (1298720)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 5 February 2016 
  10. ^ Historic England, "Pope's Seat (1204826)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 5 February 2016 
  11. ^ Historic England, "Queen Anne's Monument (1187406)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 5 February 2016 
  12. ^ Historic England, "Horse Temple (1187403)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 5 February 2016 
  13. ^ Historic England, "Ivy Lodge and attached farm buildings and wall (1187404)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 5 February 2016 
  14. ^ Historic England, "Stone Pier (1187407)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 5 February 2016 
  15. ^ Historic England, "Stone Pier (1204835)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 5 February 2016 
  16. ^ Historic England, "Stone Pier (1204841)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 5 February 2016 
  17. ^ Historic England, "Stone Pier (1298723)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 5 February 2016 
  18. ^ Historic England, "Round Tower and attached wall (1204830)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 5 February 2016 
  19. ^ Historic England, "Shelter Shed (1298721)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 5 February 2016 
  20. ^ Historic England, "Square Tower (1298722)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 5 February 2016 
  21. ^ Historic England, "Stable Range (1280168)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 5 February 2016 
  22. ^ Historic England, "Horse Guards Pavilion (1204850)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 5 February 2016 
  23. ^ Historic England, "Horse Guards Pavilion (1204846)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 5 February 2016 

External links[edit]