History

Over 500 years of history

Claydon House has a great story to tell © Andrew Butler

Claydon House has a great story to tell

Claydon House has been the seat of the Verney family since 1620. The present house is almost entirely 18th-century having undergone major redevelopment in 1757 and 1771 to rival the nearby manor house at Stowe. Today, only a fragment of the great house is still standing with its magnificent 18th-century state rooms.

History of the house

The main stairs have some very detailed wooden decorations

The main stairs have some very detailed wooden decorations

The original house consisted of two wings, just the right hand wing remains today. The 2nd Earl's had a taste for grandeur and lavish entertainments and so he greatly extended the house with an immense addition to the north, which almost trebled the length of the existing house. The work began in 1766, just as an earlier phase of building work was being completed. This chiefly consisted of two huge reception rooms, a circular entrance hall or rotunda and a ball room.

When you visit, stand before the west front of the house and try and imagine a second, duplicate building to the far left where the current car park stands. Behind its facade lay an immense columned ballroom or 'Egyptian Hall', seven bays long and two storeys high. Between the two wings stood the rotunda with by six giant Corinthian columns on the outside, with the front door in the centre. This was finished by a domed cupola with a gilt pineapple on its summit.

Beautiful decoration

An unusual view of Claydon library

Much of the plaster work, wood work and elaborate carvings found throughout the house are mostly the work of Luke Lightfoot, with additions by Joseph Rose and perhaps Benjamin Carter. 

The many faces of Claydon House

  • Claydon House West View © NTPL/Elle Horder

    Ornamental West front

    The principle, ornamental front of of the house overlooks the park and the lake. It's a  seven bay grey cut stone frontage with a terrace.

  • Claydon House North View © NTPL/Elle Horder

    North entrance

    When you arrive, you'll first come across the imposing north front of the house. It was built around 1791 of cut grey stone to repair and replace the damage caused by the demolition of the original rotunda and second wing.

  • Claydon House East Wing © NTPL/Elle Horder

    East wing

    The red brick East wing currently houses the private Verney family apartments and our shop and offices. It overlooks the courtyard to the front and was built on the site of an old Jacobean manor house.

  • Claydon House South View © NTPL/Elle Horder

    South view

    The South view is only accessible from the gardens which remain the private property of the Verney family. For a small seperate entrance fee you can visit the gardens and see the impressive bay windows which adorn this side of Claydon House.

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