Hartwell House is the jewel in the crown of the three Historic House Hotels (the others are Middlethorpe Hall, Yorkshire, and Bodysgallen Hall, Conwy). These were restored and converted by Richard Broyd, OBE, and given by him to the National Trust in 2008, whilst retaining the responsibility for their administration. The creation of Hartwell House and its grounds has involved many distinguished architects and designers over the years including James Gibbs (1682–1754), Henry Keene (1726–1776), James Wyatt (1746–1813) and Richard Woods, a well-known follower of ‘Capability’ Brown. On the outskirts of Aylesbury, it lies on a site once belonging to an illegitimate son of William the Conqueror, William Peverel (c.1040–1115). For 180 years, it belonged to the Hampdens, the last of whom, Sir Alexander (d.1617), largely rebuilt the house and left it to his sister Eleanor (1554–1633). In 1570 Eleanor married Sir Thomas Lee II (d.1626). It then remained in the Lee family until the mid-nineteenth century. In 1938, the house was sold to Ernest Cook (1865–1955), the reclusive millionaire and grandson of the first international travel agent, Thomas Cook. Ernest intended to live and house his great collection of pictures there, but military occupation supervened and from 1957 until 1983, it was let to an international girls’ college called The House of Citizenship.
National Trust, Hartwell House
Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP17 8NR England
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