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. In 1913-1914 it was leased for ₤3,000 per year by Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia and his morganatic wife Natalia Brasova. Its most famous resident was Edward Bulwer-Lytton, the Victorian author, dramatist and statesman, who embellished the gardens in a formal Italianate fashion. Much of the interior was redesigned by Sir Edwin Lutyens, who simplified the main parterre. A herb garden, with an interlaced quincunx design, was drawn by Gertrude Jekyll in 1907, although not planted until 1982.
The house today
The current residents are Henry Lytton-Cobbold and his family. The house is open to the public together with its surrounding gardens and park. In the park is the medieval St. Mary's Church and the Lytton family mausoleum. Although it is called Knebworth House, the house and surrounding grounds are located within the borough of Stevenage.
The grounds include tourist attractions such as an adventure playground, mini railway (closed in 2012) and dinosaur park and host various events including classic car rallies and, since 1974, major open air rock and pop concerts, featuring the likes of 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.
Radio and cinema
Numerous films have been shot at Knebworth, including:
- Anastasia (1956) - Palace of the Empress
- Decline and Fall... of a Birdwatcher (1968)
- 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
- 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.
- Homewood, Knebworth, the dower house
- "Name: KNEBWORTH HOUSE List entry Number: 1102767". Historic England. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
- '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