Knebworth House is an English country house in the parish of Knebworth in Hertfordshire. It is a Grade II* listed building. Its gardens are also listed Grade II* on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. In its surrounding park is the medieval St. Mary's Church and the Lytton family mausoleum.
History and description
The home of the Lytton family since 1490, when Thomas Bourchier sold the reversion of the manor to Sir Robert Lytton, Knebworth House was originally a red-brick Late Gothic manor house, built round a central court as an open square. In 1813-16 the house was reduced to its west wing, which was remodelled in a Tudor Gothic style by John Biagio Rebecca for Mrs Bulwer-Lytton, and then was transformed in 1843-45 by Henry Edward Kendall Jr. into the present Tudor Gothic structure.
Knebworth's most famous resident was Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873), the Victorian author, dramatist and statesman, who embellished the gardens in a formal Italianate fashion. The 1st Baron's great-grandson Neville (1879-1951) married Judith Blunt, a well known horse breeder who inherited Crabbet Arabian Stud in 1917 and devoted her life to it. In 1913-1914 the house was leased for ₤3,000 per year by Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia and his morganatic wife Natalia Brasova.
Much of the interior of Knebworth House was redesigned by Sir Edwin Lutyens, who married Lady Emily Bulwer-Lytton (1874-1964) - he simplified the main parterre. Lady Emily was the daughter of The 1st Earl of Lytton, who served as Viceroy of India between 1876 and 1880. A herb garden, with an interlaced quincunx design, was drawn by Gertrude Jekyll in 1907, although not planted until 1982.
The house today
As of 2019, its residents are Henry Lytton-Cobbold and his family. He had a career in the film industry, living for some years in Los Angeles, and so the house and gardens are frequently used for filming.
They are also open to the public. The grounds include tourist attractions such as an adventure playground and dinosaur park and host various events including classic car rallies. Since 1974, concerts at Knebworth House have featured the likes of Robbie Williams, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Queen, Paul McCartney, Genesis, Mike Oldfield, The Beach Boys, Deep Purple, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Dire Straits, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Iron Maiden and Oasis.
Numerous films and television series have been shot at Knebworth, including:
- Anastasia (1956) - Palace of the Empress
- Danger Man - "The Sanctuary" (1959)
- The Champions - "The Night People" (1967)
- The Avengers - "Invasion of the Earthmen" (1967/68)
- Decline and Fall... of a Birdwatcher (1968)
- Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) - "Somebody Just Walked Over My Grave" (1969)
- Carry On Henry - Exterior shots (1970)
- The Persuaders! - opening credits (1970/71)
- The Adventurer - "Action!" (1972)
- Horror Hospital (1973)
- Keep It Up Downstairs (1976) - filmed entirely on location as the fictitious 'Cockshute Towers'
- The Big Sleep (1978) - General Sternwood's country mansion
- The Great Muppet Caper (1981) - exterior of the Mallory Gallery
- Sir Henry at Rawlinson End (1980) - interior and exterior
- The Shooting Party (1985) - filmed entirely on location
- Haunted Honeymoon (1986) - exterior of the home
- Porterhouse Blue (1987) - interior and exterior of the home of Sir Cathcart D'Eath
- The Lair of the White Worm (1988) - exterior of the D'Ampton mansion
- Batman (1989) - exterior scenes of Bruce Wayne's manor
- The Canterville Ghost (1996)
- Sacred Flesh (1999) - exterior scenes of the convent
- Jane Eyre (1997) - Thornfield Hall
- Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London (2004) - some scenes in and around the grounds
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) - Yule Ball Staircase Scene
- St Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold - (2009) used as the St.Trinian's all girl school.
- Jonathan Creek - provided the location of Metropolis in the 2008 Christmas Special.
- The King's Speech (2010) - Balmoral Party and other scenes
- Agatha Christie's Marple (2010) - significant interior and exterior scenes.
- The Hour (2011) - Lord Elms residence
- The Scapegoat (2012) - significant interior and exterior scenes
- Midsomer Murders Series 15 Episode 1 (The Dark Rider) - significant exterior scenes.
- Woman Like Me (2018 music video) - Little Mix
- Homewood, Knebworth, the dower house
- Historic England. "KNEBWORTH HOUSE (1102767)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
- Historic England, "Knebworth (1000255)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 16 February 2018
- 'Parishes: Knebworth', A History of the County of Hertford: volume 3 (1912), pp. 111-18. Date accessed: 27 August 2007].
- Colvin, Howard (1995) A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, 3rd ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, s.v. "John Biagio Rebecca".
- Colvin, Howard (1995) A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, 3rd ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, s.v. "Henry Edward Kendall", note.
- Donald Crawford, The Last Tsar: Emperor Michael II (Kindle Location 630.) Murray McLellan. Kindle Edition
- "Knebworth: The Stately Home of Rock". Knebworth House.com. Retrieved 19 February 2011
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Knebworth House.|
- Knebworth House website
- Flickr Knebworth House Photo Group
- Cobbold Family History
- Knebworth House on IMDb