The Database of Houses
Pronunciation Guide
Burke's Peerage Search
British Money
Lord W
Privacy Policy
Contact Us
The Help Center


Home > New Search > Badminton House (Madmintune)

Badminton House (Madmintune)  England 
Badminton, near Chipping Sodbury, South Gloucestershire, England

Circa Date: 15th century core w/17th and 18th century additions and alterations

Status: Fully Extant


Special Info / Location/ Date

Special Info
Phonetic Pronunciation of House Name

District Today
South Gloucestershire
 Historic County
 City / Town / Village
Badminton, near Chipping Sodbury

Start Date
Completion Date
Circa Date
15th century core w/17th and 18th century additions and alterations

The North Façade

Click on thumbnail for a larger view

The North Façade
The South Façade
The West Façade
The Conservatory
The Orangery
The Clock Arch and Brewhouse
The Laundry Pavilion
The Gibbs Pavilion
Swangrove Lodge
Worcester Lodge - Distance View
Worcester Lodge - Up Close
Worcester Lodge - Interior
Badminton Church
Badminton Church interior
The North Façade from a 1904 postcard
The Badminton Cabinet in the Liechtenstein Museum, Vienna
Badminton library ladder in the Art Institute of Chicago
The Great Drawing Room from a late 19th-early 20th century postcard

Designed   Church of St. Michael, which replaced an earler medieval church.
Date   1782-85

Designed   Landscaping for 5th Duke
Date   1776-82

Designed   Clock Arch and cupola, together with T.H. Wyatt.
Date   1843

Designed   Clock Arch and cupola, together with David Brandon.
Date   1843

Designed   Work for 8th Duke: Stable quadrangle (1878) and Porte Cochere on West Front (1883).
Date   1878-83

Designed   Deformalized (naturalized) Park for 3rd Duke
Date   18th century
Attribution of this work is uncertain.

Designed   Laundry Pavilion, Brewhouse, and landscaping, including Swangrove Lodge, for 2nd Duke of Beaufort.
Date   1703

Designed   Park
Date   Early 18th century
Attribution of this work is uncertain.

Designed   Altered interiors and added parapets to the single story links between the North Front and Gibbs’s pavilions for 6th Duke of Beaufort.
Date   1809-11

Designed   Cupolas and pediment to the North Front of the House for 4th Duke
Date   18th century

Designed   Pavilions at the furthest ends of the House for 3rd Duke (executed to Gibbs's designs by Stephen Wright)
Date   Circa 1730-40

Designed   Father (Francis) and son (William) remodeled House for 3rd Duke
Date   Circa 1729-30s

Designed   Follies for 4th Duke of Beaufort, including Hermit’s Cell, Chinese Temple, Castle Barn, Ragged Castle, Root House, and cottages for village.
Date   Circa 1750-56

Designed   Chimneypiece in Drawing Room for Dowager Duchess of Beaufort
Date   1773

Designed   Advised on gardens; designed Worcester Lodge (finished by Stephen Wright), and other garden buildings for 3rd Duke of Beaufort.
Date   1740s

Extant / Listed / References

Extant Type
Fully Extant
Extant Details

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

Vitruvius Britannicus
Vitruvius Scoticus
J.B. Burke (Burke's Visitation of Seats)
2.S. Vol. I, p. 44, 1854.
Country Life
XXII, 378, 1907. LXXXVI, 550, 574, 600, 630 [Furniture], 1939. CXLIII, 800 plan, 1968.
J.P. Neale (Neale's Views of Seats)
2.S. Vol. II, 1825.
Access / Ownership / Seat

Open to Public Please note: Houses listed as being open "By Appointment" are usually country house hotels, B&Bs, or schools.
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
Individual / Family Trust
Primary Current Ownership Use
Private Home
Current Ownership Use / Details

Seat ("Seat" is loosely defined as any family that occupied the house for a period of 2 years or more)
Today Seat of
Duke of Beaufort, also Marquess of Worcester, Earl of Worcester, and Baron Herbert of Raglan, Chepstow and Gower; Somerset family here since 1612.
A Past Seat(s) of
Boteler or Butler family, 1275-1612.
Possible (Unsure) Seat of
History / Gardens & Park / Movies

Earlier House(s) / Building(s)
House Replaced By
Built / Designed For
House & Family History
Today covering 22,000 acres, Badminton is the only ducal seat in Gloucestershire. It is a prime example of a great estate that has been in the possession of only two families since the 13th century (recent discoveries on the Estate have revealed the existence of a large and splendid Roman villa). In the medieval period the Boteler (or Butler) family built a large manor house near the parish church; in 1612 Nicholas Boteler sold the Estates of Great and Little Badminton (called Madmintune in the Domesday Book) to Edward Somerset, 4th Earl of Worcester, who had married the heiress of Raglan Castle and Chepstow Castle and acquired huge estates in Wales. Henry, 5th Earl (later 1st Marquess of Worcester), lived at Raglan, defended it for Charles I during the Civil War, and lent his distressed monarch huge sums of money. After his death Badminton and other estates passed to Henry, Lord Herbert, 3rd Marquess of Worcester (1629-99), who was created 1st Duke of Beaufort by Charles II in 1682 in recognition of his family’s loyalty to the Stuart dynasty (the family reportedly spent over £900,000, worth an estimated £1.9 billion in 2012 inflation-adjusted values, using the commodity labor value index, on the Royalist cause during the Civil War. The 1st Duke held Bristol against the Duke of Monmouth in 1685 and later [in 1688] against William of Orange; though William later forgave him and visited Badminton in 1690). The 1st Duke was a descendant of Charles Somerset, 1st Earl of Worcester, illegitimate son of Henry Beaufort, 3rd Duke of Somerset, a Lancastrian leader in the Wars of the Roses. The name Beaufort refers to a castle in Champagne, France (now Montmorency-Beaufort), and is the only current British dukedom to take its name from a place outside the British Isles. Armed with great wealth and favor, the 1st Duke began to transform the old, modest, gabled Elizabethan house of the Botelers at Badminton into a palace that suited his elevated status, and he seems to have played a principal role in its design. The central (north) block of circa 1670 was probably inspired by John Webb’s Queen’s Gallery at Old Somerset House of 1662-63, with a rusticated ground floor and giant Corinthian pilasters through the two upper floors. The Duke had traveled extensively in Europe during the 1650s and was also well-versed in contemporary Parisian architecture. At the same time he remodeled other parts of the earlier house and extended wings on either side of the entrance façade. Work on the interiors did not end until 1691; the total cost was nearly £30,000 (over £4 million in 2009 inflation-adjusted values). Outside, the 1st Duke and Duchess laid out enormous parterres around the House and miles of avenues stretching through ducal forests and beyond, visible in Johannes Kipp’s engravings of the Estate for Atkyns’s "History of Gloucestershire" of 1712 (the enormous hub of 28 avenues radiated from the House across the countryside). Mary, 1st Duchess of Beaufort (1630-1715), was a gifted embroiderer, a keen and respected gardener, botanist, and a philanthropist; she headed a household that ran on feudal lines, with a staff of over 200. Henry Scudamore, 3rd Duke of Beaufort (1705-45), inherited Badminton as a child and, in 1725-27, went on the Grand Tour, purchasing magnificent works of art which were shipped back to Badminton, including paintings, sculpture, and slabs of marble intended to line the walls of a luxurious study (now in the Church). The star of the 3rd Duke’s collecting was the famous Badminton Cabinet (begun in 1726 in the Grand Ducal Workshop in Florence, where it took 30 men five years to complete). The cabinet was sold in 1990 for £8,580,000 to Barbara Piasecka Johnson of New Jersey (a Johnson & Johnson heiress). On December 9, 2004 the Cabinet was sold by Christie's for £19,045,250, earning Mrs. Johnson a £10 million profit and making it the most expensive non-pictorial work of art ever sold at auction (the Cabinet was purchased by Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein for the Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna). The 3rd Duke sent the artist John Wootton to study in Rome and commissioned him to paint five large hunting scenes for his Great Hall. Keenly interested in architecture, the Duke enlarged his father’s petite hunting lodge, Swangrove, on the edge of the Estate, adding a paneled and japanned viewing chamber between the gabled roofs. (The 2nd Duke employed William Killigrew in 1703 to redesign Swangrove, Sir Thomas Seymour's Jacobean Hunting Lodge, as a maison de plaisance in the Cotswold Revival Style). From 1727 the 3rd Duke remodeled a substantial part of the House, using three architects at different stages: Francis Smith of Warwick; then James Gibbs, from 1730-35, who produced designs for the Great (North) Hall, frequently called one of the greatest rooms in Britain, and pavilions at the east and west ends of the north front; and finally William Kent, who dramatically altered the 1st Duke’s North Front, adding a huge central pediment and domed open cupolas at each end (made of wood made to look like masonry in order to lighten the weight). Inside, the most important rooms to survive from this period are the Great (North) Hall (where the game of Badminton was invented on a rainy afternoon in 1863; to this day the standard size of a badminton court is that of the Great Hall), and the Dining Room, where the 1st Duke’s carved trophies by Grinling Gibbons (removed from Beaufort House, London) were embellished with other fine work by Edward Poynton, circa 1732. The Library boasts the famous views of Badminton, 1749, by Canaletto and has an exceptional carved panel by Poynton over the fireplace that depicts 40 different botanicals. The East Room contains Sir Henry Cheere’s masterpiece: a panther and griffin-headed fireplace of Sienna and Carrara marble topped off by a glittering overmantel mirror originally made for Worcester Lodge. The Great Drawing Room contains a recess in the north wall that was originally created to house the Badminton Cabinet; the room also boasts a very fine Italian Neoclassical fireplace with caryatids of vestal virgins and a frieze based on a Barberini marble. When he inherited Badminton in 1745, Charles Noel, 4th Duke (1709-56), continued to build, commissioning Kent’s masterpiece: Worcester Lodge, built in 1746 as a combination banqueting pavilion and entrance gate. This majestic building, standing at the end of a vista three miles long to the north of the House, was completed in 1750 by Stephen Wright after Kent’s death. The 4th Duke employed Thomas Wright, “The Wizard of Durham,” to create many intriguing buildings in the Park, of which the Hermit’s Cell (1747) is the best preserved 18th century root house to survive in England. The Ragged Castle, the Chinese Temple, Castle Barn (an evocation of ancient Roman town walls), Tump Barn, and Pump and Thatched Cottage in the village are also Wright’s work. The 4th Duke and his Duchess (the sister of Norborne Berkeley, Viscount Botetourt, the last Royal Governor of Virginia) commissioned a magnificent suite of furniture in the Chinoiserie taste from William Linnell of Berkeley Square, London, circa 1752, which formed one of the earliest Chinoiserie interiors in Britain (the bed from the Chinese Bedroom is now in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum). Next to the House the 5th Duke built a new church, 1783-85, (replacing an earlier medieval church) under the direction of Charles Evans; the interior is a miniature version of James Gibbs’s St. Martin-in-the Fields, London, complete with pews, pulpit, and choir stalls. The Church also contains magnificent monuments to the first four Dukes of Beaufort by Grinling Gibbons and Rysbrack (Grinling Gibbons's huge monument to the 1st Duke was removed from the Somerset Chapel in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle). Sir Jeffry Wyatville (1766-1840) made substantial alterations to the interior of Badminton House for the 6th Duke between 1809 and 1813. He added a Conservatory, a new top-light to the staircase, a new and much larger Drawing Room, and a new Library with 18th century bookcases by Thomas Eborell of Warwick. Wyatville also added parapets to the single-story links between the North Front and Gibbs’s pavilions. Nicholas Kingsley, writing in "The Country Houses of Gloucestershire: Volume Two, 1660-1830," states that it was probably Wyatville who removed Kent’s pedimented gables from the returns of the East and West Wings. The Oak Room is paneled with Jacobean paneling and an overmantel purchased in 1895 from Troy House, having been installed there from the Somersets’ ancestral seat of Raglan Castle. Badminton does not stand isolated in its park like most British country houses, but rather is a part of the village, much like many Central European great houses. The House is the home of the famous Beaufort Hunt and the annual Badminton Horse Trials, one of the highlights of the British horse season (in 1953 Badminton was the home of the first European Championship). Queen Mary, whose niece was the Duchess of Beaufort, lived at Badminton during the Second World War and was guarded, while there, by the Royal Gloucestershire regiment. Since 1987 David, the 11th Duke of Beaufort, has undertaken a massive program of conservation and redecoration at Badminton. In 1990 the Duke commissioned Francois Goffinet to design a formal compartmented garden, a wonderful new complement to the landscaping. The Park boasts a herd of 400 fallow, red, and Virginia deer. (We are grateful to Lisa White and the Attingham Summer School for contributing to this history of Badminton.)
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.
The Entrance Hall at Badminton was specially designed to display five equestrian paintings by John Wootton, who was a protégé of Henry Scudamore, 3rd Duke of Beaufort (1707–45). The 3rd Duke purchased in Rome an entire gallery of artwork from Cardinal Alberoni, who had formed the collection in the 18th century. Aert van de Neer’s "A Winter Landscape in Evening" was sold in December 1980, for £180,000. Paul de Lamerie’s silver breadbasket with Beaufort arms, 1740, was sold for £203,500. The famous Badminton Cabinet, completed in 1726 for the 3rd Duke in the Grand Ducal Workshop in Florence, was sold in 1990 for £8,580,000 (at that time the highest price ever paid for a piece of furniture) to Barbara Piasecka Johnson of New Jersey, an heiress of the Johnson & Johnson fortune. On December 9, 2004 the Cabinet was sold by Mrs. Johnson at Christie's for £19,045,250, earning her a £10 million profit and making it the most expensive non-pictorial work of art ever sold at auction. The Cabinet was purchased by Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein for the Liechtenstein Museum (Palais Liechtenstein) in Vienna. The Cabinet took 30 craftsmen five years to complete and is the largest and grandest Baroque cabinet (it measures 152" high by 91" wide) ever created by the Ducal Workshop and is among the most important pieces of furniture ever made. The Chinese style Badminton Bed, made for Charles Noel Somerset (1709–56), 4th Duke, by William and John Linnell, circa 1754, is now in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. It was part of one of the earliest Chinoiserie interiors in Britain when it was installed in the Chinese Bedroom at Badminton. In November 2004 Sotheby's sold a silver-gilt toilet service made in 1729 by John White for the 3rd Duke; the service is considered to be one of the finest examples of its kind. The Badminton Sarcophagus, an early 3rd century AD Roman sarcophagus showing Bacchus riding a panther flanked by the four seasons, Mother Earth, and a River God, was sold to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, in 1955. For over 200 years (since 1733) the sarcophagus sat in the Entrance Hall at Badminton, resting on a base designed by William Kent.
Badminton is frequently called the most comfortable large country house in England. John Harris: "Once passing through Clock Arch, the visitor surveys an immemorial scene, more continental than English, with the point-de-vue James Gibbs's monumental pavilion with its massive blocked columns."

Gardens & Park
Garden, Park, Follies and Outbuildings
The Park at Badminton was originally quite modest; permits were obtained from Cromwell in 1658 and Charles II in 1664 to enlarge it. On a scale befitting the county’s only ducal seat, the beginning of the 18th century saw the Park sporting an enormous hub of avenues that radiated from the House across the countryside; at a point southeast of the House 28 avenues met. The architect for these immense improvements may have been John Mansfield. By 1699 a formal garden had been laid out to the east of the house. The 2nd Duke employed William Killigrew in 1703 to redesign Swangrove, Sir Thomas Seymour's Jacobean Hunting Lodge, as a maison de plaisance in the Cotswold Revival Style. The interiors of Swangrove feature early Chinoiserie decorations and a marble cistern with a Chinese head made by John Harvey of Bath in 1706. The 3rd Duke implemented a scheme to deformalize the gardens, most likely employing Charles Bridgeman for the job. When the 4th Duke brought William Kent to Badminton, it was originally to advise on the gardens; Kent succeeded magnificently with the creation of Worcester Lodge, a combination banqueting pavilion and entrance gate that stands three miles from the House. Worcester Lodge is routinely considered one of Kent’s masterpieces; it was finished in 1750 (at a cost of £721), after Kent’s death, by Stephen Wright. Thomas Wright designed much for the Park, including the Hermit’s Cell, in 1747 (probably the best preserved root house in England); a Chinese Temple; Castle Barn, an evocation of ancient Roman town walls; Ragged Castle; and a number of buildings in Badminton Village, including lodges (dressed up as cottages orné) and cottages. The famous Badminton Horse Trials, begun in 1949 by the 10th Duke of Beaufort, is one of the highlights of the sporting calendar in England. The 11th Duke has created fine formal gardens on the south and east sides of the House. 18th century iron gates from Stoke Park, Northamptonshire, today guard the entrance to Badminton House, where they were installed in 1909 by Mewes & Davis, the architectural firm who designed the Ritz Hotel in London. The ducal Kennels have housed hounds since 1640. Essex House, on the Badminton Estate, was the home of the noted British architectural historian James Lees-Milne in the late 20th century. In 1990 the 11th Duke commissioned Francois Goffinet to design a formal compartmented garden, a wonderful new complement to the landscaping. The Park today (2010) boasts a herd of 400 fallow, red, and Virginia deer. The Badminton Estate covers 22,000 acres.
Chapel & Church
The 18th century Church of St. Michael replaced an earlier medieval church. In 1874 the chancel was extended by T.H. Wyatt to house Grinling Gibbons's huge monument to the 1st Duke, removed from the Somerset Chapel in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. The Church is connected to the House and contains tombs by Rysbrack for the first four Dukes of Beaufort. The interior is a miniature version of James Gibbs’s St. Martin-in-the Fields, London.

Location for Movies / TV
“The Remains of the Day” (1993 - one of the four houses used as Darlington Hall [entrance hall, conservatory where Hopkins' father is taken ill, servant's quarters]). "Pearl Harbor" (2001). "28 Days Later..." (2002).

Author   Pym, John
Year Published   1995
Reference   pg. 107

Author   Green, Candida Lycett
Year Published   1999
Reference   pg. 153

Author   Colvin, Howard
Year Published   1995
Reference   pgs. 205, 403, 585, 889, 1101, 1131

Author   Kidd, Charles; Williamson, David (Editors)
Year Published   1990
Reference   pg. P 104

Author   Kingsley, Nicholas
Year Published   1992
Reference   pgs. 54-60

Author   Jackson, Anna; Hinton, Morna
Year Published   2002
Reference   pg. 63

Author   Hussey, Christopher
Year Published   1955
Reference   pg. 161

Author   Linley, David
Year Published   1996
Reference   pgs. 32-33

Author   NA
Year Published   NA
Reference   Oct 2004, pg. 53

Author   Scott, Jonathan
Year Published   2003
Reference   pg. 63

Author   Sitwell, Osbert
Year Published   1975
Reference   pgs. 41, 59

Author   NA
Year Published   2004
Reference   pg. 6

Author   Harris, John
Year Published   2002
Reference   pgs. 2, 4-8, 12-13, 15-17, 20-28

There are no documents associated with this house.

This website and all its content, except where specified otherwise, is
© Copyright 1999-2016 by The DiCamillo Companion, Ltd.
All Rights Reserved
~The DiCamillo Companion name, the double griffin logo, and the double griffin logo
set within the Neoclassical door surround are trademarks of The DiCamillo Companion, Ltd.
~The Curt's Curiosities name and the Medusa head logo are trademarks of The DiCamillo Companion, Ltd.
~The griffin with flaming torch logo is a trademark of The DiCamillo Companion, Ltd.