Famous birthplaces and childhood homes

A scientist who changed the way we look at the world, members of the most iconic music band of all time and a notorious Tudor queen are among the famous and influential figures whose birthplaces or childhood homes are in our care.

The Parterre Garden at Blickling Estate, Norfolk

Blickling Estate, Norfolk 

Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s ill-fated second wife, is traditionally said to have been born at Blickling and her headless ghost is said to return on the anniversary of her execution. The present red-brick mansion was built by the Hobart family on the site of the former medieval manor after they bought the estate from relatives of Sir Thomas Boleyn, Anne’s father, during the reign of James I.

The new farmhouse at Cherryburn, against a blue sky

Cherryburn, Northumberland 

The wood engraver and naturalist Thomas Bewick revolutionised print art in Georgian England. Arguably Northumberland’s greatest artist, he came from humble beginnings and was born in a tiny cottage in the hamlet of Mickley near Stocksfield. After moving to Newcastle to work as an apprentice he often returned to visit his family. His brother later lived in the 19th-century farmhouse.

George Stephenson's Birthplace, Wylam, Northumberland

George Stephenson’s Birthplace, Northumberland 

The great railway pioneer, George Stephenson, was born in a humble miner’s cottage where the whole family lived in just one room. He constructed the world’s first public intercity railway line, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, and created the standard gauge, a measurement for the spacing of rails on a railway track. Also called the Stephenson gauge, it is used across the world. We also care for Nuffield Place in Oxfordshire, the home of Lord Nuffield, founder of the Morris Motor Company.

The view across the garden to Hardy's Cottage, the birthplace in 1840 of novelist and poet Thomas Hardy

Hardy’s Cottage, Dorset 

The cottage in Higher Bockhampton near Dorchester where Thomas Hardy was born has changed little since the family left and is evocative of 19th-century life in rural Dorset. Built by his great-grandfather from cob and thatch, Hardy wrote some of his early works there, including his novels Far From the Madding Crowd and Under the Greenwood Tree. We also care for Max Gate, the Dorchester home Hardy designed in 1885, and Slepe Heath in Dorset, thought to have been the inspiration for Egdon Heath in Hardy’s novel The Return of the Native.

The west front of Knole, Kent

Knole, Kent 

The writer and gardener Vita Sackville-West was born at Knole near Sevenoaks and her novel The Edwardians explores the country house childhood she enjoyed there. Her close friendship with the writer Virginia Woolf is celebrated in Woolf's novel, Orlando, which is also set at Knole. An only child, she was unable to inherit Knole when her father died as it passed to the male line. After his death she bought and lived at Sissinghurst Castle with her husband Harold Nicolson. We also care for Monk’s House, Leonard and Virginia Woolf's East Sussex retreat.

The road sign for Forthlin Road, the home of Paul McCartney

The Beatles’ Childhood Homes, Liverpool 

The childhood homes of John Lennon and Sir Paul McCartney – Mendips and 20 Forthlin Road in Liverpool – are a piece of music history. The Beatles wrote and rehearsed many of their earliest songs there including She Loves You. Mendips is a fine example of 1950s semi-detached housing while 20 Forthlin Road is typical of post-war terraced council housing.

The 16th-century farmhouse Ty Mawr Wybrnant, Conwy, Wales

Ty Mawr Wybrnant, Conwy 

The traditional stone-built 16th-century farmhouse of Ty Mawr Wybrnant in the Conwy Valley was the birthplace of Bishop William Morgan, the first translator of the Bible into Welsh. As well as giving Welsh people easy access to biblical teachings, Morgan also created a standard version of written Welsh for the first time.

Woolsthorpe Manor, birthplace of Sir Isaac Newton, with the famous apple tree

Woolsthorpe Manor, Lincolnshire 

Isaac Newton was born at Woolsthorpe Manor in Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth in 1642. After gaining a degree at Cambridge he returned home to escape the Great Plague and it was during the plague years of 1666-7 that he made his most important discoveries. The apple tree under which he formed his theory on gravity still stands in the garden and is one of the notable trees we look after.

The view over the stone wall at the front of Wordsworth House

Wordsworth House and Garden, Cumbria 

William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy were born and spent their childhood in a Georgian townhouse in Cockermouth near the Lake District. It was in this bustling family home and its garden that Wordsworth learned his twin loves of literature and nature that turned him into one of the world’s favourite poets and a founding father of English Romanticism. We also care for Coleridge Cottage in Somerset, home to Wordsworth’s friend and literary collaborator Samuel Taylor Coleridge.