Mapledurham House

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Mapledurham House
Location Mapledurham, Oxfordshire, England
Coordinates 51°29′5.28″N 1°2′7.80″W / 51.4848000°N 1.0355000°W / 51.4848000; -1.0355000Coordinates: 51°29′5.28″N 1°2′7.80″W / 51.4848000°N 1.0355000°W / 51.4848000; -1.0355000
Built c.1585
Governing body Mapledurham Estate
Listed Building – Grade I
Official name: Mapledurham House
Designated 24 October 1951
Reference no. 1368944
Mapledurham House is located in Oxfordshire
Mapledurham House
Location of Mapledurham House in Oxfordshire

Mapledurham House is an Elizabethan stately home located in the civil parish of Mapledurham in the English county of Oxfordshire. It is a Grade I listed building, first listed on 24 October 1951.[1][2]

History and architecture[edit]

The property was first held by Michael Blount[2] and has remained in the Blount-Eyston family to this day.[3] Building was started around 1585, at the time of the Spanish Armada,[2] in the classic Elizabethan E-shape.[citation needed] It includes a late 18th-century chapel built in the Strawberry Hill Gothic style for the recusant Roman Catholic owners of the house.

Prior to the Catholic Emancipation, the owners would hide priests in its priest holes, some of which were only discovered in the 21st century, and secretly celebrate Mass with a makeshift altar hidden inside a writing desk.[3] The estate covers much of the village including Mapledurham Watermill and part of the church.

Art and Literary associations[edit]

The poet Alexander Pope was a frequent visitor to the house as he was enamoured of two daughters of the Blount family.[citation needed] The house and surrounding village were used for the filming of the 1976 film of The Eagle Has Landed and also for several television series, including Midsomer Murders.[4] It is also reputed to have been the inspiration for E. H. Shepard's illustrations of Toad Hall for Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows, although this is also claimed by Hardwick House, Fowey Hall Hotel,[5] Foxwarren Park[6] and Fawley Court[7].

Noise complaints[edit]

Sight-seeing helicopter flights run from the estate, with up to 70 short flights per day, caused complaints about noise levels, with one local resident describing it in 2013 as like being "in Vietnam during a high intensity attack". A representative of the estate responded by saying that they had taken account of the complaints by reducing the number of helicopter flight days from 20 to 10 per year.[8][9]



  1. ^ Explorer Map 159 - Reading (Map). Ordnance Survey. 2006. 
  2. ^ a b c "Mapledurham House - 1368944". Historic England. Archived from the original on 22 October 2015. Retrieved 22 October 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Thompson, Damian (1 June 2011). "Mapledurham: the Catholic country house that's still yielding up its secrets". The Daily Telegraph. 
  4. ^ "Mapledurham and the Hollywood watermill". Visit Midsomer County (South Oxfordshire District Council). Archived from the original on 20 October 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2015. 
  5. ^ Directory, Cornwall Marine. "Cornwall Marine Directory - Fowey". 
  6. ^ "Foxwarren Park, near Cobham, Surrey". 
  7. ^ "RBH Biography: Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932)". 
  8. ^ "Mapledurham House sightseeing helicopters prompt row". BBC News. 9 May 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2013. 
  9. ^ "Villagers angry as helicopter flights resume". Higgs Group. 7 May 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2013. 

External links[edit]