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Glympton Park, Oxfordshire, England

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Glympton Park, Oxfordshire, England

Glympton Park is a former deer park at Glympton, 3.5 miles (5.6 km) north of Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England. It includes Glympton House (an 18th-century country house) and has a 2,000 acres (810 ha) estate including the village of Glympton, its Norman parish church of St. Mary, 21 stone cottages and 167 acres (68 ha) of parkland.


Glympton House is the successor to a manor house that had occupied the site since the 16th century or earlier.[1] The property was owned by John Cupper and his wife, Audrey Peyto, and their descendants from 1547 to 1632. William Wheate bought the manor in 1633 and either he or one of his successors had the house remodelled later in the 17th century. By the early part of the 18th century it had an H-shaped plan with north and south courtyards each flanked on three sides by wings of the house.

In the first half of the 18th century either Sir Thomas Wheate, 1st Baronet or Sir Thomas Wheate, 2nd Baronet had the house remodelled with a Georgian elevation of seven bays. By the early part of the 19th century the western range of the old house had been demolished. When the 2nd Baronet died without a male heir in 1746, the baronetcy passed to his brother Sir George Wheate, 3rd Baronet but Glympton Park became the dower house of his widow Mary.

George Henry Barnett, the nephew of Sir Jacob Wheate, 5th Baronet, inherited Glympton Park in 1846. In 1849 Barnett removed the east and west wings from the main front, re-faced the main front in Bath stone in mid-18th century style and added an Italianate kitchen block on the east side. Barnett moved the main entrance to the west side, and gave the new entrance a Tuscan porch. Glympton Park remained in the Barnett family until Benjamin Barnett sold it in 1944.

Current owner

Glympton Park's current owner is a trust created by Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the nephew to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and long-time Saudi ambassador to the US, bought the estate at its lowered price of £8 million in 1992. Prince Bandar is said to have spent £42 million in restoring Glympton House. The driveway has obstacles and bulletproof glass to stop terrorists. He has transformed the house and estate since that date, buying another 500 acres (200 ha) of land and various houses within the estate, including the old rectory and Ludwell, reconstructing the house, laying out new gardens, replanting the park, establishing a pheasant shoot and developing the farm.

Edward, whose boundary touched the north-west of Wootton parish in 958, and Aegelric of Glympton who witnessed a charter c. 1050 (fn. 52) presumably held GLYMPTON, or part of it. In 1066 Glympton, with estates in Wootton, Finmere, and Hethe, was held freely of Edward the Confessor by Wulfward the White, who survived the Conquest, (fn. 53) but by 1086 it was part of the fee of Geoffrey, bishop of Coutances; it presumably passed with Geoffrey's other lands to his nephew Robert de Mowbray, earl of Northumberland, and was forfeited to the Crown on his rebellion in 1095. (fn. 54)

The bishop's tenant in 1086 was William, perhaps the ancestor of the next recorded lord, Geoffrey de Clinton, Henry I's chamberlain, who first appears in 1110, and certainly held Glympton by 1122 when he granted the church there to Kenilworth priory. (fn. 55) He gave Glympton to his brother William de Clinton, who was succeeded by his son Ralph. (fn. 56) From Ralph the manor passed to his brother Jordan de Clinton (d. 1189) who exchanged it with Geoffrey's grandson, Henry de Clinton. (fn. 57)

Henry de Clinton gave or sold Glympton to King John's minister William Brewer, who held a knight's fee in Glympton in 1202. (fn. 58) William's son, another William Brewer, died without issue in 1233, and his property was divided among his 5 sisters or their heirs. Glympton was assigned to his widow Joan Brewer in dower, and then to his sister Alice, widow of Reynold de Mohun. (fn. 59) In 1274 and 1279 the manor, variously assessed at 1 knight's fee and knight's fee, was held of Alice's great grandson John de Mohun (d. 1279). (fn. 60) John's son John (d. 1330) was overlord in 1284 and 1291, and the younger John's grandson, another John de Mohun, in 1362. (fn. 61) With the death of the last John in 1375 the male line of the de Mohuns ended, (fn. 62) and the overlordship of Glympton was not recorded thereafter.

Before 1226 the elder William Brewer granted the manor to William de Mohun, (fn. 63) presumably a junior member of the de Mohun family. William de Mohun was still holding in 1242, but by 1253 the manor had passed to Henry of Bath. After Henry's death c. 1261, his widow Aline and her second husband Nicholas of Yattendon held the manor in dower until Aline's death in 1274, when it passed to Henry and Aline's son John of Bath (d. 1291). (fn. 64) John's heir was his daughter Joan de Bohun, but in 1300 Glympton was held by John of St. John who, before 1306, gave it to his younger son Nicholas. (fn. 65) The grant was confirmed in 1317 by John's elder son John. (fn. 66) Nicholas of St. John was lord as late as 1347, but in 1362 John of St. John, perhaps his son, died seised of the manor and was succeeded by his grandson, another John of St. John. (fn. 67) He died before 1376 and was succeeded by his brother Thomas (d. 1432), who was followed by his granddaughter Clemence and her husband John Lydeard. (fn. 68) The manor passed from them to their son Thomas Lydeard (d. 1480), to Thomas's son Anthony, and to Anthony's sons William (d. 1545) and Edmund, who sold it in 1547 to John Cupper. (fn. 69)

In 1581 Cupper settled the manor on his son Richard and his wife Frances and their heirs male with remainder to his younger son Thomas and his heirs male. (fn. 70) Richard died in 1583, leaving only a daughter, but his widow Frances who remarried a Mr. Pollard held the manor for her life. She leased it to Thomas Tesdale, cofounder of Pembroke College, Oxford, and his wife Maud until Maud's death in 1616. (fn. 71) In 1618, although both Thomas Cupper and Frances Pollard were still alive, Thomas's son John Cupper made a settlement of the manor. (fn. 72) Thomas Cupper died in 1621, and in 1632 John, with Frances Pollard's consent, sold the manor to Sir John Sedley who sold it the following year to William Wheate. (fn. 73)

The manor descended in the Wheate family until the early 19th century, being held by William Wheate (d. 1659), his son Thomas (d. 1668), and Thomas's son Thomas (d. 1721), created baronet in 1696, and grandson Sir Thomas (d. 1746). Sir Thomas had no sons, and on the death of his widow Mary in 1765, the manor was bought, presumably from his nephew Sir Jacob Wheate, for his daughters Sarah (d. 1805) and Anne (d. 1807) Wheate and Mary Lloyd (d. 1803), who held jointly. They were succeeded by Mary's son Francis Sackville Lloyd, who assumed the additional surname Wheate. After his death in 1812, his widow Elizabeth and her second husband William Way held Glympton until Elizabeth's death in 1846. The manor then passed, under the terms of F. S. Lloyd Wheate's will, to George Henry Barnett, nephew of Sir Jacob Wheate. G. H. Barnett (d. 1871) was succeeded by his son Henry (d. 1896), by Henry's son Frank Henry (d. 1907), and by Frank Henry's son George Henry (d. 1942) whose son Benjamin sold it in 1944 to A. P. Good. On Good's death in 1953 the estate was sold to Garfield Weston who sold it in 1957 to E. W. Towler, the owner in 1981. (fn. 74)

A plan of the manor house, Glympton Park, at the beginning of the 18th century (fn. 75) shows it to have been of half H form with the wings running out northwards flanking a courtyard and a small extra block at the south-east corner. It had probably been remodelled in the later 17th century, receiving a new staircase at the west end of the central range, but the irregular plan suggests that it incorporated an older building of the late 16th century or earlier.

Early in the 18th century Sir John Vanbrugh prepared drawings for the remodelling of the south elevation and the rooms behind it but the work was not carried out. Nevertheless, extensive alterations appear to have been made for Sir Thomas Wheate (d. 1721) or his son Sir Thomas (d. 1746) on similar but less elaborate lines. The elevation was rearranged as a recessed centre of seven bays with central doorway between slightly projecting wings (fn. 76) and the principal rooms were refitted. By the early 19th century the western range of the old house had been demolished. (fn. 77) G. H. Barnett (d. 1871) remodelled the house in the late 1840s. (fn. 78) He removed the east and west wings from the main front and refaced it in mid 18th-century style, adding a balustraded parapet to the roof and replacing the entrance, which he moved to the west side, by a bay window. He also added a large kitchen block in a plain Italianate style on the site of the eastern range of the 18thcentury house.