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Stratfield Saye House & Estate, Reading

(60+ reviews on the web)
Historic Site
Stratfield Saye House is a large stately home at Stratfield Saye in the north-east of the English county of Hampshire. It has been the home of the Dukes of Wellington since 1817.Early historyThe Manor of Stratfield Saye was created by the joining of two older manors. In the 12th century Stratfield was owned by the Stoteville family, and then early in the 13th century this passed by marriage to the Saye family.Before 1370 the manor passed on again by marriage to the Dabridgecourts, and in 1629 they sold the property to the Pitt family, cousins of the great father-and-son Prime Ministers.The main part of the house was extensively enlarged around 1630 by Sir William Pitt, Comptroller of the Household to King James I. Sir William's eldest son, Edward Pitt (1592-1643), MP, of Steepleton Iwerne, Dorset and later of Stratfield Saye, bought the estate for £4,800 in 1629. Further extensive alterations were carried out to the house and park in the 18th century by George Pitt, 1st Baron Rivers.Purchase by the stateThe estate was sold to the nation in 1817, in order that it could be given by a grateful nation to the victorious Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. They gave 600,000 pounds for the construction of a splendid Waterloo Palace to rival the magnificence of Blenheim Palace, home of the Dukes of Marlborough. The Hampshire site Wellington chose in 1817 was the 5000acre estate of Stratfield Saye, home of the Pitt family. He was advised on the purchase by the architect Benjamin Dean Wyatt who had once been his private secretary. He originally planned to demolish the existing house, and replace it with a more prestigious home, to be known as Waterloo Palace. The Duke abandoned these plans in 1821 when they proved to be too expensive, and subsequently made numerous additions and improvements to the existing building. All but the 1st and 6th Dukes are buried at Stratfield Saye House.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • We were initially surprised by the low key nature of the house itself and the facilities...a small cafe and shop was all there was, compared to , say, Blenheim, but we were to find out why later. Our ...  more »
  • The house is only open to the public for a few weeks a year but it is really worth a visit. Our tour guide, Mary, was extremely knowledgeable about the house and history and made the tour a joy. The a...  more »
  • We live close by and are usually away when the house is open so our visit was long overdue. Unfortunately there was work being carried out so we couldn't take a picture of the front of the house. Mary...  more »
Google
  • We spent a wonderful afternoon here last Autumn. This is more than a grand house, it is the beautifully preserved bijou home of a great man, who won countless battles for the empire all over Europe and Asia, but who we seem to have more recently forgotten. The story of the Duke of Wellingtons' rise through the Army is amazing. He was a obviously a great strategist and the most remarkable of leaders. The house is modest for such a large figure, the decorator in me especially loved the hand painted wallpaper. The museum is full of interesting facts about the period and the funeral carriage and sound effects of the huge funeral march is amazing. Only thing that let it down a bit was the tea shop!
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