Hardwick House, Oxfordshire

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Hardwick House
Hardwick House - geograph.org.uk - 635467.jpg
Location Whitchurch-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
Coordinates 51°29′41″N1°03′06″W / 51.4947°N 1.0516°W / 51.4947; -1.0516 Coordinates: 51°29′41″N1°03′06″W / 51.4947°N 1.0516°W / 51.4947; -1.0516
Builtearly 16th century with later additions
Governing bodyPrivately owned
Listed Building – Grade I
Official name: Hardwick House
Designated24 October 1951
Reference no.1180567
Listed Building – Grade I
Official name: Hardwick House dower house
Designated16 August 1985
Reference no.1059525
Listed Building – Grade II
Official name: Hardwick House stables
Designated16 August 1985
Reference no.1059482
Listed Building – Grade II
Official name: Hardwick House wall
Designated16 August 1985
Reference no.1059483
Listed Building – Grade II
Official name: Hardwick House pier
Designated16 August 1985
Reference no.1180578
Oxfordshire UK relief location map.jpg
Red pog.svg
Location of Hardwick House in Oxfordshire

Hardwick House is a Tudor-style house on the banks of the River Thames on a slight rise at Whitchurch-on-Thames in the English county of Oxfordshire. It is reputed to have been the inspiration for E. H. Shepard's illustrations of Toad Hall in the book The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, although this is also claimed by Mapledurham House, Fowey Hall Hotel, [1] Foxwarren Park [2] and Fawley Court [3] .

River Thames river in southern England

The River Thames, known alternatively in parts as the Isis, is a river that flows through southern England including London. At 215 miles (346 km), it is the longest river entirely in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom, after the River Severn.

Whitchurch-on-Thames village and civil parish in South Oxfordshire district, Oxfordshire, England

Whitchurch-on-Thames is a village and civil parish on the Oxfordshire bank of the River Thames, about 5.5 miles (9 km) northwest of Reading, Berkshire, in close proximity to Whitchurch Hill. Opposite Whitchurch on the Berkshire bank is the village of Pangbourne.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.



A watercolour of Hardwick House painted by Lewis John Wood RI in 1869 Hardwick House, Oxfordshire.jpg
A watercolour of Hardwick House painted by Lewis John Wood RI in 1869

King Charles I of England visited the house while he was a prisoner on escort from Oxford.

Charles I of England 17th-century monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland

Charles I was the monarch over the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649.

Hardwick House was bought by Richard Lybbe in 1526; that family ended in an heiress Isabella Lybbe who married Philip Powys in 1730 and their Powys descendants had their home there for a further 130 years. Caroline Powys, wife of Philip Lybbe Powys of Hardwick House maintained a diary from 1756 which recorded the daily social round of her class in gossipy detail. She wrote of visits to neighbouring country houses, the winter balls and assemblies in Henley and the seasons in London and Bath with their plays, concerts and balls. [4] Their great-grandson Philip Lybbe Powys, who later assumed the additional surname of Lybbe, was a rower and MP. He recalled as a child rowing from Hardwick to Mapledurham on Sunday afternoons. [5]

Rowing (sport) Sport where individuals or teams row boats by oar

Rowing, often referred to as crew in the United States, is a sport whose origins reach back to Ancient Egyptian times. It involves propelling a boat on water using oars. By pushing against the water with an oar, a force is generated to move the boat. The sport can be either recreational for enjoyment or fitness, or competitive, when athletes race against each other in boats. There are a number of different boat classes in which athletes compete, ranging from an individual shell to an eight-person shell with a coxswain.

Mapledurham village and civil parish in South Oxfordshire district, Oxfordshire, England

Mapledurham is a small village, civil parish and country estate beside the River Thames in southern Oxfordshire. Although the parish borders the large town of Reading, Berkshire, the village has a rural and picturesque character. Significant historic buildings include the Church of England parish church of St. Margaret, Mapledurham Watermill and Mapledurham House.

Charles Day Rose purchased Hardwick House shortly before he was created a baronet of "Hardwick House in the Parish of Whitchurch in the County of Oxford" on 19 July 1909. [6] Rose is said to have been one of the models for "Toad" of Toad Hall in The Wind in the Willows. [7] Hardwick House and its surrounding estate have been in the ownership of the Baronets Rose of Hardwick for several generations and the current owner is Sir Julian Rose, 4th Baronet, who succeeded his father in 1966. In 1979 he also succeeded to the Rose Baronetcy of Montreal, and became the 5th Baronet in that line.

Hardwick House is a Grade I listed building, [8] as is the adjacent dower house. [9] The stables, [10] and garden wall [11] and gate pier have their own Grade II listings. [12]

Listed building Collection of protected architectural creations in the United Kingdom

A listed building, or listed structure, is one that has been placed on one of the four statutory lists maintained by Historic England in England, Historic Environment Scotland in Scotland, Cadw in Wales, and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency in Northern Ireland.

Dower house UK term for a large house available to an estate owners widow

On an English, Scottish or Welsh estate, a dower house is usually a moderately large house available for use by the widow of the previous owner of the estate. The widow, often known as the "dowager", usually moves into the dower house from the larger family house on the death of her husband if the heir is married, and upon his marriage if he was single at his succession. The new heir occupies the now vacated principal house.

Pier (architecture) architectural upright support for a structure or superstructure

A pier, in architecture, is an upright support for a structure or superstructure such as an arch or bridge. Sections of structural walls between openings (bays) can function as piers.


To Nature in my earliest youth,
I vowed my constancy and truth;
Wherein lie Hardwick's much loved shade,
Enamoured of her charms I strayed,
And as I roved the woods among,
Her praise in lisping numbers sung.

— Dean Powys

A little above Mapledurham lock you pass Hardwick House, where Charles I played bowls.

Mapledurham Lock lock and weir situated on the River Thames in England

Mapledurham Lock is a lock and weir situated on the River Thames in England. The lock was first built in 1777 by the Thames Navigation Commissioners and the present lock dates from 1908.

Bowls sport

Bowls or lawn bowls is a sport in which the objective is to roll biased balls so that they stop close to a smaller ball called a "jack" or "kitty". It is played on a bowling green which may be flat or convex or uneven. It is normally played outdoors and the outdoor surface is either natural grass, artificial turf, or cotula.

See also

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Mapledurham Watermill

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  1. Directory, Cornwall Marine. "Cornwall Marine Directory - Fowey". www.cornwallmarine.com.
  2. "Foxwarren Park, near Cobham, Surrey". www.victorianweb.org.
  3. "RBH Biography: Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932)". www.berkshirehistory.com.
  4. "England's Past for Everyone - English history made easy". England's Past for Everyone.
  5. John Ed. Morgan, M.D University Oars (1873)
  6. "No. 28271". The London Gazette . 16 July 1909. p. 5457.
  7. Paul Goldsack River Thames:In the Footsteps of the Famous Bradt/English Heritage ISBN   1-84162-044-0
  8. England, Historic. "HARDWICK HOUSE, Whitchurch-on-Thames - 1180567 - Historic England". historicengland.org.uk. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  9. England, Historic. "HARDWICK HOUSE DOWER HOUSE APPROXIMATELY 5 METRES WEST, Whitchurch-on-Thames - 1059525 - Historic England". historicengland.org.uk. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  10. England, Historic. "HARDWICK HOUSE STABLES APPROXIMATELY 20 METERES WEST, Whitchurch-on-Thames - 1059482 - Historic England". historicengland.org.uk. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  11. England, Historic. "HARDWICK HOUSE WALL APPROXIMATELY 20 METRES WEST, Whitchurch-on-Thames - 1059483 - Historic England". historicengland.org.uk. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  12. England, Historic. "HARDWICK HOUSE PIER APPROXIMATELY 120 METRES EAST AND ATTACHED WALL TO NORTH, Whitchurch-on-Thames - 1180578 - Historic England". historicengland.org.uk. Retrieved 11 January 2019.