Reddish House

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Coordinates: 51°01′36″N 1°56′47″W / 51.0268°N 1.9464°W / 51.0268; -1.9464

Reddish House Broad Chalke.jpg

Reddish House, also known as Reddish Manor, in the village of Broad Chalke in Wiltshire, England, is an early 18th-century manor house possibly built in its current form for Jeremiah Cray, a clothier. It is a Grade II listed building.[1]

Whilst the history of the property can be traced to the early 16th century, the house as it currently stands appears to have been developed in the early 18th century, when owned by a series of three absentee landlords all sharing the name Jeremiah Clay. The construction and design appear to show a melange of influences of the architectural styles favoured during the reigns of Charles II (1660–1685); William and Mary (1689–1702); and Queen Anne (1702–1714).[2]


16th century[edit]

In the early 16th century, Littlecote farm was bought from John Littlecote by Sir Richard Elyot, serjeant-at-law and Attorney-General to the Queen consort, Elizabeth of York. After his death in 1522 it passed to his only son, Thomas Elyot a diplomat and author. The 50 acre farm was taken by the crown at the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and it is surmised that this was because Sir Thomas Elyot had included it in an endowment to Salisbury Cathedral.[3] In 1560 Queen Elizabeth I granted it to William Reddiche who already owned several properties in the village as a 'Free tenant' of the Earl of Pembroke in Wilton.[2]

William Reddiche of Maiden Bradley was married to Alice Dyer, daughter of Sir James Dyer, a judge and Speaker of the House of Commons.[4]

During the Dissolution period (circa 1530s) the farm appears to have been leased by John Penny. He died in 1555 bequeathing to his son the 80 sheep, grazing rights, sown crops and farm equipment.[2]

17th century[edit]

The Reddish/Reddiche family owned the estate from 1560 until 1696 but as they lived in Maiden Bradley it was inhabited by a series of lessees. These appear to include the descendants of John Penny because in 1630 a new lease was granted to a John Penny.[2]

The absentee Reddish family who owned the house and farm included Christopher Reddish (circa 1599); Edward Reddish (circa 1628); his sons William Reddish (circa 1662) and James Reddish who sold it in 1696 to Jeremiah Cray.[3] Of Ibsley, Hampshire, Cray was another absentee landlord who owned several estates including Cray's Farm at Verwood.[2][5][6][7]

18th century[edit]

Jeremiah Cray died in 1709 (or 1710[3]) bequeathing most of his estates to either his brother Alexander[3] or his nephew John Cray.[5] In 1725 John Cray passed it to his own son Jeremiah who died in 1731[3] and whose own son, another Jeremiah Cray (the third Jeremiah) died in 1786.[3][5] During the Cray ownership Reddish had been inhabited and farmed by a series of lessees including a mercer John Coombs from 1702–1706, and George Northover for over 50 years and James Lawes.

In 1786 Jeremiah Cray's estates were shared by his two daughters, Sarah and Margaret, wives of Sir Alexander Grant, 7th Baronet and Percival Lewis respectively.

19th century[edit]

In 1806 the house was sold to George Young from Horton in Dorset who became the first resident owner for 246 years.[2][3] He bequeathed it to his son George Bland Young in 1828, and on to George Edgar Young in 1893.[2]

20th century[edit]

The house was inhabited by Norah Young until 1918, and by Major C.A. Wells until 1929 when it was purchased by R.W. Williamson to amalgamate the 100 acres into the neighbouring Knowle farm. In 1935 Claude Williamson sold the house and its 2.5 acre gardens to Dr. Lucius Wood and his wife Clare who lived there from 1935 until 1947, running his General Practice and dentistry. Their son, the artist Christopher Wood is buried in the village churchyard; his headstone was carved by Eric Gill.[2]

Society photographer and artist Sir Cecil Beaton bought Reddish house in 1947 and transformed the interior. Beaton added rooms on the eastern side, extended the parlour southwards, and introduced many new fittings. Greta Garbo was a visitor.[3] The upper floor had been equipped for illegal cock-fighting at the beginning of the 20th century but Beaton used the cages as wardrobes to store the oscar-winning costumes from his set design of My Fair Lady. He remained at the house until his death in 1980 and is buried in the churchyard.[2][8][9]

In 1980 Ursula Henderson bought the house from the estate of Cecil Beaton and lived there until 1987 when she moved to the neighbouring village of Bishopstone before her death in 1989. She was born Ursula von Pannwitz and was once styled Countess of Chichester from her first marriage to John Pelham, 8th Earl of Chichester who died on active service in 1944.[2]

The house was owned and extensively renovated by musicians Robert Fripp and Toyah Willcox from December 1987 until July 1999.[2][10]


  • Anon, 1980, Reddish House Broadchalke Wiltshire. The Property of the Late Sir Cecil Beaton, C.B.E. London, Christie, Manson & Woods. Catalogue of the sale of Cecil Beaton's works of art, furniture, silver, pictures, porcelain and garden effects on Monday 9 June 1980 and Tuesday 10 June 1980 by Christie's the auctioneers.
  • Anon, "Reddish House, Broad Chalke (Wiltshire)" Country Life volume 121, pages 540 and 596
  • Beaton, Cecil, introduction by Vickers, Hugo, 2003 The Unexpurgated Beaton: The Cecil Beaton Diaries as He Wrote Them, 1970-1980 London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson
  • Field, Horace and Bunney, Michael, 1928, "Reddish House, Broad Chalke" in English Domestic Architecture of the XVII and XVIII Centuries London: J. H. Jansen, 108
  • Sills, Stephen and Huniford, James, 2003, "Cecil Beaton's Reddish House" Architectural Digest January 2003


  1. ^ Historic England. "Reddish House (1146140)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 27 February 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Broad Chalke, A History of a South Wiltshire Village, its Land & People Over 2,000 years. By 'The People of the Village', 1999
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Victoria County History - Wiltshire - Vol 13 pp36-52: Broad Chalke". British History Online. University of London. Retrieved 27 February 2016. 
  4. ^ Notes & Queries For Somerset and Dorset, Edited by Frederic William Sheafer, M.A., F.S.A., Vicar of Milton Clivdon
  5. ^ a b c "Victoria County History - Hampshire - Vol 4 pp579-580: Ibsley". British History Online. University of London. Retrieved 27 February 2016. 
  6. ^  Smith, George Barnett (1890). "Grant, Alexander Cray". In Stephen, Leslie; Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography. 22. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 376. 
  7. ^ History of Verwood
  8. ^ Beaton, Cecil (2003). The Unexpurgated Beaton: The Cecil Beaton Diaries as He Wrote Them, 1970-1980. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. 
  9. ^ Wiltshire Council - Community History of Broad Chalke
  10. ^ "Robert Fripp's diary for Wednesday 4th April 2007". Robert Fripp's diary. Retrieved 2008-11-09.