Knebworth House

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Knebworth House Knebworth W front.JPG
Knebworth House

Knebworth House is an English country house in the parish of Knebworth in Hertfordshire. It is best known for being the venue which Oasis played at during their (What’s the story) Morning Glory tour, which 4.5% of Britain applied for. It is a Grade II* listed building. [1] Its gardens are also listed Grade II* on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. [2] In its surrounding park is the medieval St. Mary's Church and the Lytton family mausoleum.

English country house larger mansion estate in England, UK

An English country house is a large house or mansion in the English countryside. Such houses were often owned by individuals who also owned a town house. This allowed them to spend time in the country and in the city—hence, for these people, the term distinguished between town and country. However, the term also encompasses houses that were, and often still are, the full-time residence for the landed gentry that ruled rural Britain until the Reform Act 1832. Frequently, the formal business of the counties was transacted in these country houses.

Knebworth village in the United Kingdom

Knebworth is a village and civil parish in the north of Hertfordshire, England, immediately south of Stevenage. The civil parish covers an area between the villages of Datchworth, Woolmer Green, Codicote, Kimpton, Whitwell, St Paul's Walden and Langley, and encompasses the village of Knebworth, the small village of Old Knebworth and Knebworth House.

Hertfordshire County of England

Hertfordshire is one of the home counties in southern England. It is bordered by Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire to the north, Essex to the east, Greater London to the south, and Buckinghamshire to the west. For government statistical purposes, it is placed in the East of England region.


History and description

The home of the Lytton family since 1490, when Thomas Bourchier sold the reversion of the manor to Sir Robert Lytton, Knebworth House was originally a red-brick Late Gothic manor house, built round a central court as an open square. In 1813-16 the house was reduced to its west wing, [3] which was remodelled in a Tudor Gothic style by John Biagio Rebecca for Mrs Bulwer-Lytton, [4] and then was transformed in 1843-45 by Henry Edward Kendall Jr. into the present Tudor Gothic structure. [5]

Earl of Lytton

Earl of Lytton, in the County of Derby, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1880 for the diplomat and poet Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 2nd Baron Lytton. He was Viceroy of India from 1876 to 1880 and British Ambassador to France from 1887 to 1891. He was made Viscount Knebworth, of Knebworth in the County of Hertford, at the same time he was given the earldom, also in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.

A reversion in property law is a future interest that is retained by the grantor after the conveyance of an estate of a lesser quantum that he has. Once the lesser estate comes to an end, the property automatically reverts back to the grantor.

Gothic architecture Style of architecture

Gothic architecture is a style that flourished in Europe during the High and Late Middle Ages. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture. Originating in 12th-century France, it was widely used, especially for cathedrals and churches, until the 16th century.

Knebworth's most famous resident was Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873), the Victorian author, dramatist and statesman, who embellished the gardens in a formal Italianate fashion. The 1st Baron's great-grandson Neville (1879-1951) married Judith Blunt, a well known horse breeder who inherited Crabbet Arabian Stud in 1917 and devoted her life to it. In 1913-1914 the house was leased for ₤3,000 per year by Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia and his morganatic wife Natalia Brasova. [6]

Edward Bulwer-Lytton British statesman and author

Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, PC was an English writer and politician. He served as a Whig MP from 1831 to 1841 and a Conservative MP from 1851 to 1866. He was Secretary of State for the Colonies from June 1858 to June 1859, when he chose Richard Clement Moody to be the founder of British Columbia. He declined the Crown of Greece in 1862 after the abdication of King Otto. He became Baron Lytton of Knebworth in 1866. Bulwer-Lytton's works were highly popular and paid him well. He coined the phrases "the great unwashed", "pursuit of the almighty dollar", "the pen is mightier than the sword", and "dweller on the threshold". Then came a sharp decline in his reputation, so that he is known today for little more than the opening seven words of his novel Paul Clifford (1830): "It was a dark and stormy night". The sardonic Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest seeks the "opening sentence of the worst of all possible novels".

Victorian literature literature during the period of Queen Victorias reign

Victorian literature is literature, mainly written in English, during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837–1901). It was preceded by Romanticism and followed by the Edwardian era (1901–1910).

Giardino allitaliana style of garden

The giardino all'italiana or Italian garden is stylistically based on symmetry, axial geometry and on the principle of imposing order over nature. It influenced the history of gardening, especially French gardens and English gardens.

Much of the interior of Knebworth House was redesigned by Sir Edwin Lutyens, who married Lady Emily Bulwer-Lytton (1874-1964) - he simplified the main parterre. Lady Emily was the daughter of The 1st Earl of Lytton, who served as Viceroy of India between 1876 and 1880. A herb garden, with an interlaced quincunx design, was drawn by Gertrude Jekyll in 1907, although not planted until 1982.

Parterre formal garden constructed on a level surface, consisting of planting beds arranged to form a pleasing, usually symmetrical pattern, with gravel paths laid between

A parterre is a formal garden constructed on a level substrate, consisting of plant beds, typically in symmetrical patterns, which are separated and connected by paths. The borders of the plant beds may be formed with stone or tightly pruned hedging, and their interiors may be planted with flowers or other plants or filled with mulch or gravel. The paths are constituted with gravel or turf grass.

Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton British Viceroy of India, Ambassador to Paris, and author

Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton, was an English statesman, Conservative politician, and poet. He served as Viceroy of India between 1876 and 1880 - during his tenure as which Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India - and as British Ambassador to France from 1887 to 1891.

Quincunx Pattern of five points, four in a square or rectangle and a fifth at its center

A quincunx is a geometric pattern consisting of five points arranged in a cross, with four of them forming a square or rectangle and a fifth at its center. It forms the arrangement of five units in the pattern corresponding to the five-spot on six-sided dice, playing cards, and dominoes. It is represented in Unicode as U+2059FIVE DOT PUNCTUATION or U+2684DIE FACE-5.

The house today

Lytton Mausoleum Mausoleum at Knebworth House Herts - - 476189.jpg
Lytton Mausoleum

As of 2019, its residents are Henry Lytton-Cobbold and his family. He had a career in the film industry, living for some years in Los Angeles, and so the house and gardens are frequently used for filming.

Henry Lytton-Cobbold British screenwriter

Henry Fromanteel Lytton-Cobbold is a British screenwriter. He is the current occupant of Knebworth House in Hertfordshire, England.

They are also open to the public. The grounds include tourist attractions such as an adventure playground and dinosaur park and host various events including classic car rallies. Since 1974, concerts at Knebworth House have featured the likes of Robbie Williams, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Queen, Paul McCartney, Genesis, Mike Oldfield, The Beach Boys, Deep Purple, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Dire Straits, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Iron Maiden and Oasis. [7]

An adventure playground is a specific type of playground for children. Adventure playgrounds can take many forms, ranging from "natural playgrounds" to "junk playgrounds", and are typically defined by an ethos of unrestricted play, the presence of playworkers, and the absence of adult-manufactured or rigid play-structures. Adventure playgrounds are frequently defined in contrast to playing fields, contemporary-design playgrounds made by adult architects, and traditional-equipment play areas containing adult-made rigid play-structures like swings, slides, seesaws, and climbing bars.

A classic car is an older automobile; the exact definition varies around the world. The common theme is of an older car with enough historical interest to be collectable and worth preserving or restoring rather than scrapping.

Concerts at Knebworth House Open-air rock and pop concert

The Knebworth Festival is a recurring open-air rock and pop concert held on the grounds of the Knebworth House in Knebworth, England. The festival first occurred in 1974 when The Allman Brothers Band, The Doobie Brothers and other artists attracted 60,000 people.


Local radio station BOB FM broadcasts from the old pump house, which provided water for the house.

Numerous films and television series have been shot at Knebworth, including:

See also


  1. Historic England. "KNEBWORTH HOUSE (1102767)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  2. Historic England, "Knebworth (1000255)", National Heritage List for England , retrieved 16 February 2018
  3. 'Parishes: Knebworth', A History of the County of Hertford: volume 3 (1912), pp. 111-18. Date accessed: 27 August 2007].
  4. Colvin, Howard (1995) A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, 3rd ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, s.v. "John Biagio Rebecca".
  5. Colvin, Howard (1995) A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, 3rd ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, s.v. "Henry Edward Kendall", note.
  6. Donald Crawford, The Last Tsar: Emperor Michael II (Kindle Location 630.) Murray McLellan. Kindle Edition
  7. "Knebworth: The Stately Home of Rock". Knebworth Retrieved 19 February 2011

Coordinates: 51°52′22″N0°12′53″W / 51.8728°N 0.2148°W / 51.8728; -0.2148

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Lytton Mausoleum Mausoleum in Hertfordshire, England

The Lytton Mausoleum is a family mausoleum in Knebworth Park, Hertfordshire, England. It was commissioned by Elizabeth Barbara Lytton and built in 1817.

Richard John Warburton Lytton was an English landowner and Fellow of the Royal Society. A member of the prominent Lytton family, he was the father of Elizabeth Barbara Lytton and grandfather of Henry Bulwer, 1st Baron Dalling and Bulwer and Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton.