Building record 1156700000 - WADDESDON MANOR


Late nineteenth century country mansion built between 1874 and 1883 in a French chateau style

Protected Status/Designation

  • Conservation Area: Waddesdon Conservation Area
  • Listed Building (I) 1117804: WADDESDON MANOR


Type and Period (2)

  • COUNTRY HOUSE (Built 1874-1883, 19th Century - 1800 AD to 1899 AD)
  • AIR RAID SHELTER (Modern - 1939 AD? to 1945 AD?)


Grade I. Mansion. 1874-83, by Hippolyte Alexandre Destailleur, for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild. Bath stone, steeply pitched slate roofs. In the style of a C16 French chateau, incorporating elements from Blois, Maintenon, Chambord and Chaumont. Approximately E-plan with circular staircase towers in angles with side wings. Other round towers to front of N.E. wing and to rear at S.W. corner. Small wing added to S.W. 1889; Service wing attached to N.E. with Bachelors' wing altered 1890s by Andre Destailleur, to rear. 2 storeys and attic. Main range has 7 bays articulated by paired pilasters, entablatures, and parapet with wave ornament and large carved urn finials. Ground floor has arched windows, balustraded aprons, and Composite pilasters. First floor has stone mullion and transom windows, and panelled aprons and pilasters. Attic dormers with flanking festoon scrolls and elaborate gables. Tall panelled chimneys with segmental pediments on scroll modillion cornices. Centre bay has projection with rusticated quoins and separate pavilion roof, the first floor with French doors between Composite columns, the attic having an elaborate dormer with oculus in cartouche, swan-neck pediment on paired scrolls, and urn finial. Ground floor has projecting porch with segmental arches, paired Composite columns, and strapwork parapet with urn finials and central heraldic crest. Domed staircase towers with spiral balustrades, the attic storey with carved terms. Side wings have panelled pilasters, entablatures, mock machicolations below plain attic storeys, and very steep pavilion roofs with parapets and tall urn finials. Round tower to left with steep conical roof. 1889 extension to right is similar to side wings but with elaborate doorway and bay window in decorated Gothic style to rear. Fine S.E. front, the end bays and centre-piece with arched windows and Composite columns. Interior: Entrance hall and oval vestibule are of stone with coffered vaults, niches,carved cartouches and marble architrave frames to doors. Flanking Galleries, small Library and West Hall have panelling incorporating carved mid C18 French boiseries from demolished Parisian houses. Breakfast Room at E. end, and Grey Drawing Room have more complete panelling of similar origin, in delicate Rococo style, with large mirrors and carved marble fireplaces. Late C19 plaster ceilings with richly decorated coves. Dining Room is late C19 with grey marble panelling framing C18 French mirrors and pair of tapestries. C19 white marble fireplace with lamp-holding putti seated on the mantelshelf. Similarly panelled ante-room with 2 carved marble basins and access to conservatory. Red Drawing Room, to centre, has painted ceiling canvas of 1725 by Jacob de Wit, showing Apotheosis of Hercules, in elaborate C19 gilt cornice. Same room has wood and gilt carved doorcases, one with marble relief of Louis XIV's son The Grand Dauphin. Octagonal room in S.W. tower is fitted with later C18 French wooden arcading and marble gilt fireplace. Similar fireplaces in adjacent Baron's Room and room above. Stone spiral staircases in the manner of Chambord with decoratively panelled newel. 4 bedrooms on the first floor have more mid C18 French panelling, as does the very fine Green Boudoir, green and gilt, with large opposing mirrors and pink marble fireplace. N.E. wing has mezzanine room with panelling and fireplace of similar date, and access to Bachelor Wing decorated in heavier Renaissance style. Smoking room has painted beam ceiling, heavily carved wooden doorcases and carved wooden fireplace with ceramic tiles and display cabinet above. Billiard room has elaborate marble fireplace, C17 and imitation French panelling, and depressed barrel vault with stone ribs and large modillion scrolls. House now belongs to National Trust. (National Trust Guide to Waddesdon Manor. Anthony Blunt, Apollo, June 1977, p.409-15, 'Destailleur at Waddesdon.')(B1).
In 1939 one hundred small children and their nursing staff settled in Waddesdon Manor. The children were drawn from four Croydon nursery homes. The cellars at Waddesdon Manor were used as an air raid shelter for the children (B8).
Buildings report dated April 1991 held at NMR (B12).

Sources (19)

  • ---SBC20728 Aerial Photograph: Michael Farley. 2001. 2001 oblique AP by Mike Farley. SP74581426. Yes.
  • <1>SBC19269 Bibliographic reference: DoE. 1985. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. p68.
  • <3>SBC4649 Bibliographic reference: S Eriksen. 1965. WADDESDON MANOR: A GUIDE TO THE HOUSE AND ITS CONTENTS.
  • <4>SBC20263 Unpublished document: Colson Stone Partnership. 1992. Waddesdon Parkland Restoration Plan.
  • <5>SBC22410 Unpublished document: National Trust. 2003. Report Describing the Results of Archaeological Excavations Undertaken at the Aviary Garden, Waddesdon Manor.
  • <6>SBC22453 Unpublished document: Northamptonshire Archaeology. 2004. Archaeological evaluation for the site of 'The Frog Fountain' at Waddesdon Manor.
  • <7>SBC22598 Unpublished document: Northamptonshire Archaeology. 2006. Archaeological Investigation at Waddesdon Manor, June 2005.
  • <8>SBC22804 Monograph: Ivor Gurney & Norman Carr. 2004. Waddesdon Through the Ages. p169, 170, 175.
  • <11>SBC23092 Bibliographic reference: English Heritage. 2008. Durability Guaranteed: Pulhamite Rockwork - its Conservation and Repair.
  • <12>SBC23358 Unpublished document: English Heritage. 2006. NMR Buildings Reports. BF105693.
  • <13>SBC20535 Bibliographic reference: Hazelle Jackson. 2001. Shell Houses and Grottoes.
  • <14>SBC23473 Article in serial: Abi Brydon. 2009. Feature article on Waddesdon Gardens in The Bucks Herald, 1st July 2009.
  • <15>SBC23758 Bibliographic reference: Aylesbury Vale District Council. 2014. Waddesdon Conservation Area Review.
  • <16>SBC24267 Unpublished document: Archaeological Services & Consultancy Ltd. 2011. Desk-based Impact Assessment: Visitor Car Park, Waddesdon Manor.
  • <17>SBC24270 Unpublished document: Archaeological Services & Consultancy Ltd. 2011. Geophysical Survey: Old Park, Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire.
  • <18>SBC24565 Bibliographic reference: Norman Carr & Ivor Gurney. 1996. Waddesdon's Golden Years 1874-1925.
  • <19>SBC25073 Bibliographic reference: Claude Hitching. 2012. Rock Landscapes: The Pulham Legacy.
  • <20>SBC25902 Bibliographic reference: Dorothy de Rothschild (Mrs James de Rothschild). 1979. The Rothschilds at Waddesdon Manor.


Grid reference SP 73290 16497 (point)
Civil Parish WADDESDON, Aylesbury Vale, Buckinghamshire

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (6)

Related Events/Activities (2)

  • Event - Survey: Geophysical Survey at Old Park, Waddesdon Manor (EBC17547)
  • Event - Survey: Site visit (EBC13595)

Record last edited

Jan 25 2023 10:42AM

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