The Vyne

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The Vyne
Interior view
Ring of Silvianus

The Vyne is a 16th-century estate and country house outside Sherborne St John near Basingstoke in Hampshire, England.


The Vyne was built for Lord Sandys, Henry VIII's Lord Chamberlain.[1] The house retains its Tudor chapel, with stained glass. The classical portico on the north front was added in 1654 by Inigo Jones's pupil John Webb for the lawyer and politician Chaloner Chute.[2] In the mid-eighteenth century The Vyne belonged to Horace Walpole's close friend John Chaloner Chute, who designed the Palladian staircase, whose magnificent apparent scale belies its actual small size.[citation needed]

In 1827, The Vyne was inherited by William Lyde Wiggett Chute[3] from the reverend Thomas Vere Chute.[4] Chute lived there from the death of Elizabeth Chute in 1842, widow of William Chute, until his death in 1879 during which time he greatly improved the estate, particularly the access routes which were known for their poor quality. Horace Walpole had described them in the eighteenth century as so bad that the house "must be approached upon stilts".[4] His improvements were recorded in articles[5] that he wrote for the journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England.[4]

The Vyne was bequeathed by its final Chute owner, Sir Charles Chute, to the National Trust in 1956.[6]

The Vyne's roof underwent a two-year-long, 5.4 million restoration project before the house was fully reopened in October 2018.[7]

In 2018, conservationists are undertaking the six-month restoration and cataloguing of the 2,500 books in the library at The Vyne, and have uncovered a number of centuries-old doodles in the margins of the collection's books.[8][7]

Inspiration for Lord of the Rings[edit]

The Vyne holds an inscribed Roman ring as well as a lead tablet that speaks of a curse on the one who stole it. J. R. R. Tolkien was asked to comment on it as an expert on Anglo-Saxon history, including its connection to a mine fabled to have been dug by dwarves, and a few days after began writing Lord of the Rings.[9][10]


  1. ^ The Vyne. Images of England, Historic England. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  2. ^ Express, Britain. "The Vyne, Basingstoke, Hampshire | Historic Hampshire Guide". Britain Express. Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  3. ^ Woodcock, Thomas; Robinson, John Martin (2000). Heraldry in National Trust Houses. National Trust, Aylesbury. p. 181.
  4. ^ a b c Chute, Chaloner William (1888). A History of the Vyne in Hampshire: Being a Short Account of the Building & Antiquities of that House &c. Winchester: Jacob & Johnson. pp. 131–133.
  5. ^ "Farming in Hampshire", Vol. XLVIII.
  6. ^ "Brief history of the house at The Vyne". National Trust. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  7. ^ a b "See inside The Vyne as it fully reopens after £5.4m refurb". Basingstoke Gazette. Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  8. ^ Flood, Alison (2018-11-20). "Eighteenth-century schoolboy's doodles uncovered as library is restored". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  9. ^ Maev Kennedy (2 April 2013). "The Hobbit ring that may have inspired Tolkien put on show". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  10. ^ NPR: J.R.R. Tolkien's Ring On Display At Estate's Exhibit

Further reading[edit]

  • Chute, Francis. (2005) The Chutes of the Vyne: An Illustrated History of the Chute Family and Their 300 Year Connection with Stately Home The Vyne at Basingstoke in Hampshire. Woodfield Publishing. ISBN 978-1903953921

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°18′25″N 1°5′18″W / 51.30694°N 1.08833°W / 51.30694; -1.08833