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History of The Vyne

Close up detail of the 16th-century stained glass window in the Chapel at the Vyne, Hampshire
Close up detail of the 16th-century stained glass window in the Chapel at the Vyne | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

The Vyne has been home to lords and ladies for over five centuries. Through the years it's hosted Tudor kings and queens, been the home of a Speaker for the House of Commons and sheltered evacuees during the Second World War. With only two families owning the estate through history, there are many stories to be uncovered.

A long history

The Vyne was transformed from a cluster of medieval buildings into a Tudor palace between 1500 and 1520. This was the work of William Sandys, who became Lord Chamberlain to King Henry VIII in 1526.

Now approximately a third of its original size, The Vyne once extended as far as the lake and was described as ‘one of the Principale Houses in all Hamptonshire.'

The Chutes

Chaloner Chute acquired The Vyne in 1653, only to demolish two thirds of it to create space for what is now the north lawn. The Chute family remained the owners of The Vyne until it was left to the National Trust in 1956.

Explore the timeline below to find out more about the Sandys and the Chutes and how the house and its occupants have changed through the centuries.

The Vyne: a journey through history

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Early history

1268: First known reference to The Vyne appears in a medieval document. Over time the spelling changes between 'Vyne' and 'Vine'. 

1337: A chantry chapel is founded on the estate. Chantry chapels were used to pray for the souls of the dead, usually the donor, so that they could atone for sins committed during their lifetime. 

1386: The Sandys family become owners of The Vyne through marriage. 

1420: Joanna, the daughter of Walter Sandys, marries William Brocas, the owner of the neighbouring Beaurepaire estate, and The Vyne passes into Brocas ownership. 

1488: Sir William Sandys 'recovers' The Vyne from the Brocas family, and the Sandys remain at the mansion until 1653. 

1496: It was a tradition to give the eldest son the same first name as the father, so when William Sandys (I) dies in 1496, William Sandys (II) inherits. Savvy and diplomatic, he goes onto have a successful career in the court of Henry VIII, at a time when others were falling foul of this feisty Tudor monarch.

A detailed close up of Lord William Sandys' crest (the winged half-goat) found in the Oak Gallery at The Vyne, Basingstoke, Hampshire
A detailed close up of Lord William Sandys' crest (the winged half-goat) in the Oak Gallery at The Vyne | © National Trust Images/James Mortimer

History of the garden

In 1635, Chaloner Chute built two summerhouses in the grounds to the east of the house. These would have likely been the focus of the 17th-century garden and are thought to have been two of the first garden buildings in the country.

The red brick buildings took the shape of a Greek cross with four doors and a central chamber. Only one of the summerhouses remains, its twin being removed by 1776.

Today, the remaining summerhouse forms the focus of the formal garden with beds which reflect the shape of the structure itself. Although the current garden is a recent installation, there is evidence from a painting in the house that the summerhouse garden was enclosed at one stage.

Creating a pleasure garden

In 1755 much of the existing formal garden was dismantled by John Chute to make way for a pleasure garden, which was in style at the time. The new garden was planted informally with trees and several orchards, and the lake was created – much of which still exists today.

John Chute also built the Grade II listed walled garden. The original glasshouses were demolished but, following careful research, one was rebuilt in 2008 in its original location.

Close up detail of the 16th-century stained glass window in the Chapel at the Vyne, Hampshire

Discover more at The Vyne

Find out when The Vyne is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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History 

Learn about people from the past, discover remarkable works of art and brush up on your knowledge of architecture and gardens.

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The Vyne's collection 

Explore the objects and works of art we care for at The Vyne on the National Trust Collections website.