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Bradwell Grove Manor House, Oxfordshire, England

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  • Cecil Francis or Reginald C Heyworth-Savage, OBE (1864 - 1949)
    This person is unconfirmed - A search for Colonel Heyworth Savage tends to bring up Cecil Francis (further details below) but searching in Family Search for Cecil Heyworth brings up RC Heyworth born in...
  • John Heyworth (1925 - 2012)
    John Heyworth From Telegraph Obituaries : John Heyworth, who died aged 87, was a farmer, point-to-point rider, dendrologist and noted breeder of Red Poll and Limousin cattle; but he was best known ...

Bradwell Grove Manor House, Oxfordshire, England

Now The Cotsold Wildlife Park

In 1804 the estate's owner William Hervey had the current Manor House designed by William Atkinson and built by Richard Pace of Lechlade, in the then fashionable Georgian Gothic style. This followed the example of Strawberry Hill, Horace Walpole's masterpiece at Twickenham. The house replaced an original 17th century Jacobean residence, part of which was incorporated into the North service wing. Hervey also planted a great number of trees in the park, many of which can still be seen including a huge Wellingtonia tree on the west lawn. This tree is over 40 metres high and can be seen on the skyline from many miles away.

In 1923 the house and estate were purchased by Colonel Heyworth-Savage, and on his death in 1948 the estate was passed to his grandson John Heyworth. The house was rented out for twenty years to Oxford Regional Hospital Board, until in 1969 Mr. Heyworth decided to open the gardens to the public, and since 1970 the house has been the heart of the Wildlife Park.

John Heyworth was born in the Manor House in 1925 and mainly brought up at Bradwell Grove. When he left school he served from 1943–1947 in the Royal Dragoons. This regiment had been commanded by his father, who was killed in action in North Africa in 1941.

John Heyworth has many memories of his early years in the 1930s living in the Manor House. What we now know as the Walled Garden, in those days the kitchen garden, was brimming with fruit and vegetables; the area which now houses the marmosets and tamarins contained cold fruit frames full of parma violets and other delicate plants, and on the site of the gardeners' greenhouse stood two structures reputed to be the oldest greenhouses in Oxfordshire. The Tropical House has taken the place of three adjoining greenhouses, the first for carnations, the second for rare hot-house plants and a fig tree, and the third for nectarines and peaches. The water supply for the Walled Garden came from a central well now covered over but still marked. There was a cricket pitch on what is now the grass car park, and two grass tennis courts outside the drawing room and brass-rubbing room. Many years ago there was even a private nine hole golf course covering what is now the ostrich enclosure and surrounding area

The Manor House now has various roles, with its many rooms being used as visitor areas. The old dining room, still with its original curtains, panelling and fireplace, has become the brass-rubbing centre; the drawing room is used for meetings, exhibitions and conferences; the library is now a bar area; the original kitchen has been turned into a storeroom and a self-contained flat; and other rooms are used as administration and maintenance offices, storerooms and staff accommodation. Even the maze of cellars is used for hibernating certain species from their reptile collection! The old stables and other out-buildings now the reptile and bat houses, classrooms, offices and the quarantine area, and the billiard room (which is now the restaurant kitchen), housed a billiard table which was used to form the lower tier of the waterfall in the penguin enclosure.
// this project is in History Link