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Home > New Search > Hartwell House

Hartwell House  England 
Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England

Circa Date: Early 17th century w/18th century alterations and additions

Status: Fully Extant

Special Info / Location/ Date

Special Info
Phonetic Pronunciation of House Name

District Today
 Historic County
 City / Town / Village

Start Date
Completion Date
Circa Date
Early 17th century w/18th century alterations and additions

The Entrance Façade

Click on thumbnail for a larger view

The Entrance Façade
The Rear Façade
The Hall
The Library
The Staircase
The Church

Designed   Landscaping
Date   Circa 1979

Designed   Bridge; replaced in 1901 with Paine's Kew Bridge of 1783-89.
Date   1780

Designed   Statues and follies
Date   1730s

Designed   Restored house for Richard Broyd
Date   1986-89

Designed   Egyptian Well
Date   1851

Designed   Kew Bridge re-erected at Hartwell in 1901; replaced Keene's Bridge of 1780.
Date   1783-89

Designed   Naturalistic Landscaping
Date   1760s
Attribution of this work is uncertain.

Designed   Completed bridge designed by H. Keene (demolished); designs for offices; probably designed semi-circular vestibule for Sir William Lee, Bt.
Date   Circa 1780

Designed   Classical recasting for 4th Baronet
Date   1759-63

Designed   Great Hall for 3rd Baronet; follies.
Date   1739-40

Extant / Listed / References

Extant Type
Fully Extant
Extant Details

House Listed As 
Grade I
Gardens Listed As  
Grade II*
Country House:  Yes

Vitruvius Britannicus
Vitruvius Scoticus
J.B. Burke (Burke's Visitation of Seats)
Vol. I, p. 12, 1852. 2.S. Vol. II, p. 116, 1855.
Country Life
XXXV, 378, 414, 1914.
J.P. Neale (Neale's Views of Seats)
Access / Ownership / Seat

Open to Public Please note: Houses listed as being open "By Appointment" are usually country house hotels, B&Bs, or schools.
By Appointment
Historic Houses Association Member
Phone Number If calling from the U.S., delete the first "0" in British numbers.
Fax Number

Current Ownership
Current Ownership Type
Private Non-Profit
Primary Current Ownership Use
Current Ownership Use / Details
Owned by the Ernest Cook Trust and leased to the National Trust until 2111. The NT's subsidiary, Historic House Hotels Ltd., operates the hotel.

Seat ("Seat" is loosely defined as any family that occupied the house for a period of 2 years or more)
Today Seat of
A Past Seat(s) of
Sir Alexander Hampden, 17th century. Sir Thomas Lee, 3rd Bt., late 17th-early 18th centuries. King Louis XVIII of France, 1809-14. Leith family.
Possible (Unsure) Seat of
History / Gardens & Park / Movies

Earlier House(s) / Building(s)
House Replaced By
Built / Designed For
House & Family History
The North Facade of Hartwell is early 17th century, probably enlarged from an earlier house by Sir Alexander Hampden. After Hampden's death in 1617 the House became, through marriage, the property of the Lee family of East Claydon. Sir Thomas Lee laid out elaborate formal gardens in 1690. King Louis XVIII of France, while in exile, lived at Hartwell (from 1809 until 1814), together with approximately 140 courtiers. During the King's occupation the flat roof was used as a virtual farmyard, with chickens and rabbits in cages and a vegetable garden housed in large pots. During this time the uncrowned French King issued the famous Declaration of Hartwell, a document which promised -- should he be installed as King of France -- stability, freedom, and peace as part of his acceptance of the post-revolutionary settlement in France. Charles Philippe, Count of Artois, later King Charles X of France, spent time at Hartwell between 1795 and 1813. Post-1938 Hartwell was a school, and badly treated. In 1963 a fire destroyed the first floor, and parts of the Dining Room, Library, and Staircase. In 1986 the Ernest Cook Trust, who own the freehold, sold a long-term lease to Historic House Hotels, who restored it as a five-star hotel. In 2008 Historic House Hotels gave Hartwell, together with two other historic house hotels, to the National Trust. The Royal Meteorological Society was formed in 1850 by ten gentlemen assembled in the Library at Hartwell.
Collections This field lists art objects that are currently or were previously in the collection of the house.

For information on the history of British currency, click here.  To use a chart that allows you to compare the purchasing power of money In Great Britain from 1264 to any other year, including the present, click here.  To use a currency conversion to see the current value of the British pound, click here.
One of a suite of chairs made circa 1740 for Sir Thomas Lee, 3rd Bt., sold from Hartwell in the 1938 sale, was purchased by The National Trust in 2010 for $37,500 with funds donated by Richard Broyd, who donated Hartwell to The National Trust in 2008, together with Bodysgallen Hall and Middlethorpe Hall.

Gardens & Park
Garden, Park, Follies and Outbuildings
Hartwell had many follies, few of which exist today. These included: the Doric Column, topped by statue of William III by Henry Cheere; the Ionic Temple; the Obelisk; the Gothic Tower; the Egyptian Well, and the Edwardian Star Lodge, with an Arts and Crafts design. The Bridge of 1780 by Keene was replaced in 1901 by James Paine's Kew Bridge of 1783-89. The House today (2010) is surrounded by 90 acres of gardens and parkland.
Chapel & Church

Location for Movies / TV

Author   Pevsner, Nikolaus; Williamson, Elizabeth
Year Published   1994

Author   Mansel, Philip
Year Published   2001
Reference   pg. 3

Author   Colvin, Howard
Year Published   1995
Reference   pg. 1115

Author   Benton, William (Publisher)
Year Published   1959
Reference   Vol. 5, pg. 276

Author   NA
Year Published   NA
Reference   Spring 2010, pg. 25

Author   NA
Year Published   NA
Reference   Autumn 2016, pg. 66

There are no documents associated with this house.

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