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Englefield House
Englefield, Berkshire


The Manor of Englefield had supposedly been the residence of the Englefield family since the reign of King Edgar the Peaceable in the early 9th century. Though Sir Francis Englefield tried hard to keep his home, after almost 800 years of residence, the family was finally forced to leave, in 1559, due to their catholic religious beliefs. They, however, remained loyal to their old home and continued to be buried in the Englefield Chapel of the parish church until 1822. The house passed through diverse non-resident hands after the Englefields left, though the Earl & Countess of Essex seem to have taken a shine to it. In 1635, the Countess' son-in-law, the Marquis of Winchester, bought the house and it was to Englefield that he retired after his return from exile during the Commonwealth. The Marquis' descendants the Powlets and the Wrights continued to live there during the 17th and 18th centuries, until it passed, by marriage, to the Benyon family, the present owners.

Standing within one of the last remaining deer-parks in Berkshire, Englefield House is a beautiful Tudor mansion, barely of the E-Plan type with a handsome long gallery dated 1558. It was probably built at the peak of Sir Francis Englefield's carrier at the court of Queen Mary, though it was apparently altered considerably by the Earl of Essex. The house was painted by Constable in 1832. The estate village and rebuilt church were constructed nearby about thirty years later. The house was gutted by fire in 1886, resulting in a sympathetic restoration and embellishment by Armstrong for a cost of 2,556 17s. The principal addition was the eastern towered entrance hall & port-cochère. Little, if anything, remains of the Englefield's medieval house.

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