Wokefield Park

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Wokefield Park
Wokefield Park - geograph.org.uk - 1382017.jpg
Wokefield Park is located in Berkshire
Wokefield Park
Location within Berkshire
General information
Address Goodboys Lane
Mortimer
Reading
Berkshire
RG7 3AE
Coordinates 51°23′10″N 1°2′0″W / 51.38611°N 1.03333°W / 51.38611; -1.03333
Design and construction
Architect Sir John Soane

Wokefield Park, now branded as De Vere Wokefield Estate is an 18th-century country house, situated in the parish of Wokefield, near Mortimer, in the English county of Berkshire. It is currently run as an events venue.

History[edit]

Wokefield park was first mentioned in 1319 as a deer park.[1]

16th–18th century[edit]

The first house at Wokefield was built in the 1560s for Edmund Plowden;[1] it is likely that the present vaulted cellars date from this time.[2] At this time the house was alternatively known as Oakfield Park. The estate passed through the Powden family until Edmund's grandson Francis sold it to the Weaver family in 1627. Through marriage, the estate passed from the Weaver family to the Pearces (in the late 17th century) then to the Parry family (in the early 18th century). Charles Parry rebuilt the house in the 1720s in a similar design to that of Kinlet Hall in Shropshire. Parry's house is the current mansion.[1]

Wokefield Park was sold in 1742 to Henry Paget, 1st Earl of Uxbridge.[1] The Earl's grandson, Henry Paget, 2nd Earl of Uxbridge, inherited the estate before selling it to Bernard Brocas (of nearby Beaurepaire) before the latter's death in 1777.[2] Around this time, John Rocque's map of Berkshire shows that the estate was landscaped with avenues, woodland and water.[1]

19th–20th century[edit]

At the request of the Brocas family, Sir John Soane made alterations in the early 19th century onwards.[2] In 1839 the estate was put up for sale after the death of Bernard Brocas's grandson, also named Bernard.[1] The house and grounds were purchased by Robert Allfrey (1809–75) who had inherited his fortune from his father's stake in the Meux and Reid Brewery in London.[1] Upon Allfrey's death in 1875, his £400,000 estate (equivalent to £33,984,000 in 2015)[3] passed through the family until it was sold at the turn of the century to Alfred Palmer of Huntley & Palmers. Palmer undertook a complete renovations of the house's interior, adding Adamesque plasterwork and a wooden staircase screened by Ionic columns.[1]

In 1936 the house was sold to the De La Salle brothers and put to use as St. Benedict's Approved School, operating as such until the 1970s.[1] In 1984 it was converted into a conference and hospitality venue.[1]

21st century[edit]

In 2015 the building was substantially damaged by fire.[4] The fire affected around 100 of the hotel's 222 rooms,[5] though the fire was contained within a newer part of the complex than the historic house.[6]

Architecture[edit]

The house is a grade II* listed building, becoming listed in 1967.[7]

The building's two façades are the north-facing entrance front and the south-facing garden front.[1] The main building is focused around a three-storey central block with seven bays. This is connected on either side by three-bay, two-storey wings and abutted by two-wing, three-storey blocks. Upon the wings are balustraded parapets featuring urns on the two-storey sections.[7] Across the façade, the first storey is topped by a frieze and cornice, and the corners of the building feature plinths and rusticated quoins.[7] The entrance front features a porte-cochère with fluted columns and triglyph frieze.[7] In comparison, the garden front features a smaller projecting porch with Doric pilasters supporting a triangular pediment.[7]

Within the building is a black and white flagstone floor and extensive wooden panelling. Examples of Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian architecture is featured around the building's interior.[7]

Events venue[edit]

Wokefield Park is currently operated as a corporate event and wedding venue. It is owned by Starwood Capital and operates under its De Vere Venues portfolio. The complex has 222 bedrooms and 30 suites for conferences. Adjacent to the mansion house is a training centre for BMW.[8] The park has an 18-hole golf course with driving range, constructed in 1996. The mansion house building houses a small gym, with a larger gym, swimming pool, and sauna provided for executive guests. Outdoor activities such as archery, climbing and ropes courses are available.[9]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Kingsley, Nicholas. "Allfrey of Wokefield Park". Landed Families. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Ford, David Nash. "Wokefield Park". Royal berkshire History. Nash Ford Publishing. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  3. ^ UK Consumer Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Gregory Clark (2016), "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)", MeasuringWorth.com.
  4. ^ "Wokefield Park country hotel in Berkshire hit by major fire". BBC Online. BBC News. 12 November 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015. 
  5. ^ Low, Jonathan (12 November 2015). "Wokefield Park fire: See how destructive hotel blaze was". Get Reading. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 14 November 2015. 
  6. ^ Slevin, Jennie (11 November 2015). "Wokefield Park fire: Recap the blaze as it happened". Get Reading. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 14 November 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f "St Benedict's School Wokefield Park Wokefield Park (St Benedict's School), Wokefield". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 14 November 2015. 
  8. ^ "BMW Group Academy UK". BMW. Retrieved 14 November 2015. 
  9. ^ "Activities". Unique Outdoors. Grahame Robb Associates. Retrieved 14 November 2015.