Kingston Bagpuize House & Garden



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Miss Marlie Raphael bought Kingston Bagpuize House from Lord Ebury in 1939. When she died, in 1976, she was succeeded by her niece, Lady Grant, now Lady Tweedsmuir. Her father-in-law was the writer John Buchan, most famous for his action-packed adventure stories, such as The Thirty Nine Steps. Mystery surrounds the origins of the house. Some experts date it to about 1710, because it looks like the work of Wren and Gibbs. However, the family has found deeds showing that the house existed in 1670, and other suggested architects are Sir Roger Pratt, who built nearby Coleshill in 1652, and William Townesend. The high-ceilinged rooms have Queen Anne fireplaces and a wealth of architectural detail; the furniture is mainly a mixture of French and English pieces from the 18th century. One of the most striking features of the house is the staircase and gallery, magnificently cantilevered so that the wall supports all the weight, leaving the entrance hall free of pillars. In the library is an intricately carved chimney piece in the style of Grinling Gibbons. The panelling in the morning room was found in the stables by the indomitable Miss Raphael, who had it restored to its rightful place. Upstairs there are five bedrooms. One of these, the Rose Room, was originally the Great Chamber, when it was larger by one bay. Lady Tweedsmuir’s bedroom was the original drawing room of the house. Look out for the Victorian doll’s house on your way down the stairs. The late Miss Raphael’s influence goes well beyond the house, for she also laid out the English garden, extending it beyond the mellow brick walls, and creating a woodland garden and a large shrub border. There is also an early 18th-century gazebo built over an Elizabethan cockpit.

Kingston Bagpuize House & Garden


Opening times
  • Opening Times: House & Gardens open selected dates 2pm-5pm

About the area

Discover Oxfordshire

Located at the heart of England, Oxfordshire enjoys a rich heritage and surprisingly varied scenery. Its landscape encompasses open chalk downland and glorious beechwoods, picturesque rivers and attractive villages set in peaceful farmland. The countryside in the northwest of Oxfordshire seems isolated by comparison, more redolent of the north of England, with its broad views, undulating landscape and dry-stone walls. The sleepy backwaters of Abingdon, Wallingford, Wantage, Watlington and Witney reveal how Oxfordshire’s old towns evolved over the centuries, while Oxford’s imposing streets reflect the beauty and elegance of ‘that sweet city with her dreaming spires.’ Fans of the fictional sleuth Inspector Morse will recognise many Oxford landmarks described in the books and used in the television series.

The county demonstrates how the strong influence of humans has shaped this part of England over the centuries. The Romans built villas in the pretty river valleys that thread their way through Oxfordshire, the Saxons constructed royal palaces here, and the Normans left an impressive legacy of castles and churches. The philanthropic wool merchants made their mark too, and many of their fine buildings serve as a long-lasting testimony to what they did for the good of the local community.

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