Park Place, Berkshire

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Park Place, Berkshire

Park Place is a historic Grade II Listed country house and gardens in the civil parish of Remenham in Berkshire, England, set in large grounds above the River Thames near Henley, Oxfordshire.


Lord Archibald Hamilton bought the estate in 1719 from Mrs Elizabeth Baker and built a new villa on the site.[1] Frederick, Prince of Wales (father of King George III) bought the house from Lord Archibald in 1738.[1]

Conway's Bridge

The estate was purchased by Henry Seymour Conway in 1752[2] and he made extensive improvements.[1] Humphrey Gainsborough, brother of the artist Thomas Gainsborough, designed Conway's Bridge, built in 1763 at Park Place. This is an interesting rustic arched stone structure close to the River Thames that still carries traffic on the road between Wargrave and Henley-on-Thames.[3]

Henry Hawkins Tremayne visited Park Place in 1785 whilst touring various gardens in southern England. He enthused about the garden, being especially impressed by its subterranean passages, menagerie, temples and "Rustick" bridge. These provided inspiration for his own new garden, now better known as the Lost Gardens of Heligan.[4]

In 1797, following the death of Conway, the estate was bought by James Harris, 1st Earl of Malmesbury who auctioned the estate in 1816 with the main lot (mansion & park) being purchased by Henry Piper Sperling.[1] In 1824 Henry Sperling exchanged the estate for Norbury Park, Surrey, with his cousin Ebenezer Fuller Maitland of Shinfield Park, Berkshire. He erected The Obelisk in memory of Queen Victoria's ascension, also known as the Victoria memorial – originally the late 17th century spire of St. Bride's, Fleet Street, designed by Christopher Wren.[5]

Ebenezer Fuller Maitland died in 1858 at which point Queen Victoria visited with the intention of purchasing the estate for the Prince of Wales; Ebenezer's wife remained in the house until her death in 1865 when their son William Fuller Maitland took over ownership. An attempt to sell by auction was made in 1866, but the eventual sale took place in 1867.[1] The estate was bought at that time by Charles Easton of Whiteknights, Reading – a speculator, purchased with the intention of dividing the then 800-acre estate.[1]

In 1869 the estate was bought by John Noble (Noble's Paints & Varnishes). The Noble family owned the estate until 1947 when John Noble's son Wilson Noble auctioned the property and land off in a number of lots.[1] The house was bought by the Middlesex County Council and in 1965 ownership was transferred to Hillingdon Council.[1] The house was used as a boarding school for children 11 to 16 with health or emotional problems until 1988 when it was sold to private owners.[1]

The house was purchased by a consortium which looked to develop it into a country club, but failed to gain planning permission from Wokingham Council. After use for outside scenes in the filming of the 2007 film St Trinian's, in June 2007 it was sold for to Mike Spink, a developer who specialises in upmarket properties, for £42 million, which made it the most expensive house sale in the United Kingdom outside London.[6]

Spink spent over £100 million restoring the gardens and the main house. In 2011 he sold Park Place to Andrey Borodin for £140 million, making it the most expensive house sale in the United Kingdom.[7] The sale included: the main house; three substantial houses; ten tenanted cottages; another eight cottages in need of renovation; a gabled boathouse; a stable block; an agricultural yard; various dilapidated agricultural outbuildings; and two golf courses. Spink retained 300 acres (120 ha) for a development.[8]

In 2011, Park Place was sold for £140 million to a Russian businessman[9] later identified as Andrey Borodin, a banker who was granted political asylum by the United Kingdom in 2013. In 2016, the property was ordered seized by Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court, allegedly for the hundreds of millions of pounds it says Borodin stole from the bank that he ran. Borodin amassed billions of pounds as the chief executive of the Bank of Moscow. Borodin fled Russia in 2011 after being accused of massive fraud, but says it was for political reasons for his support of dissident politicians to former President Dmitri Medvedev. Experts believe that it is unlikely that the house will end up in the Russian court system.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Park Place, Remenham". Mysterious Britain. Retrieved 5 August 2012. 
  2. ^  Stephen, Leslie, ed. (1887). "Conway, Henry Seymour". Dictionary of National Biography. 12. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 
  3. ^ "History of Remenham". Royal Berkshire History. Retrieved 5 August 2012. 
  4. ^ Smit, Tim (1999). The Lost Gardens of Heligan. Victor Gollancz. pp. 118–119. ISBN 0-575-06765-9. 
  5. ^ "The Obelisk in the grounds of Park Place". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 5 August 2012. 
  6. ^ Davies, Helen (17 June 2007). "Britain's most expensive country house". The Times. London. Retrieved 27 April 2008. 
  7. ^ "Russian Banker buys £140m Henley Pile", Sunday Times, p. 13, 5 August 2012
  8. ^ Hough, Andrew (13 August 2011). "Park Place: Britain's most expensive home sold for record £140m". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 13 August 2011. 
  9. ^ Eleanor Harding (August 15, 2011). "Russian billionaire buys Britain's priciest home in Berkshire for £140m". The Daily Mail. Retrieved May 12, 2016. 
  10. ^ Roland Oliphant (May 12, 2016). "Russian court 'seizes' Britain's most expensive home". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved May 12, 2016. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°31′58″N 0°52′52″W / 51.5328°N 0.8812°W / 51.5328; -0.8812