The Verney family

Verney Family private apartments © NTPL/Elle Horder

Verney Family private apartments

Meet the Verneys

The Verney family, who still live at Claydon, can trace their roots back to ancestors who came over with William the Conquerer back in 1066. Many years of intrigue, rising and falling fortunes, successful marriages and veritable positions within the hierachy of English politics, the Verneys have made Claydon what it is today.


Verneys through the ages

Vistitors enjoying the many characters of Claydon © Julie Dearden

Vistitors enjoying the many characters of Claydon

Trace the Verney family tree and see if you can find their portraits around the house.The family history has many active figures, some of whom have lived at Claydon House as you find it today, and others that would have lived in the old Jacobean manor house that once stood on this site.

Sir Edmund Verney

Find out about our history from one of these characters © Arnhel de Serra

Find out about our history from one of these characters

Sir Edmund Verney served Charles I and famously lost his hand whilst still holding the Kings standard at the battle of Edgehill in 1642.

Sir Francis Verney

Take a wander around our museum room which holds items from foreign shores © NTPL/Elle Horder

Take a wander around our museum room which holds items from foreign shores

Sir Francis was infamous for his exploits as a pirate, operating largely in the Caribbean.

Sir Ralph Verney

Make yourself at home at Claydon House © NTPL/Arnhel de Serra

Make yourself at home at Claydon House

Sir Ralph Verney, the second Baron, came into his inheritance in 1752. He was extremely wealthy and he designed and created Claydon to be a pleasure palace.This extravagance eventually led to his downfall and the loss of his fortune. Lady Mary Verney, Countess of Fermanagh inherited Claydon and in 1791 began pulling down the ballroom and the rotunda.

Parthenope Verney

Parthenope's vision for the library © NTPL/Elle Horder

Parthenope's vision for the library

Finally, the property passed to Sir Harry who had inherited the estates from his cousin. He took the Verney name as part of the settlement and went on to marry Parthenope Nightingale,Vsister to the famous Florence. Parthenope is responsible for the layout of the library.

Florence Nightingale

A young Florence Nightingale © NTPL/Reproduced by courtesy of the Florence Nightingale Museum Trust, London

A young Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale visited Claydon often, Sir Harry Verney gave her several rooms of her own and she spent many happy hours here.

Our timeline

15th and 16th Centuries

 Rectors Listing  © NTPL/Elle Horder

Wander back in time down the historical times lines to see what was happening for various Verney members

17th Century

 Rare wedding suit © NTPL/Elle Horder

With so much happening in England this was a tumultuous period in history. Its a dangerous time being a Verney.

18th Century

18th Century dress © NTPL/Gillian Day

A century of wars ending in the birth of the United States of America, and the beheading of Marie-Antoinette and the French Royal family in France.A change in Verney fortunes and the demolition of the rotunda and second wing at Claydon House.

19th Century

Try out the talking pictures © NTPL/Elle Horder

The golden age of the Victorians and the Crimea War. Florence Nightingale and advances in medicine. A change in ownership with Sir Harry Calvert changing his name to Verney upon his inheritance of Claydon.

20th and 21st Centuries

Serving bells © NTPL/Elle Horder

Two World Wars, the Falklands, two Gulf Wars and the technological explosion of cars, planes, boats, computers, the internet and telephones to name but a few. Claydon resides in the past, but with just a few modern home comforts such as the internet, the cafe and our volunteers rather than servants.