Visit to Shardeloes

Date/Time
Date(s) - 25/06/2016
10:30 am - 5:00 pm

Location
Shardeloes House

Categories No Categories


Visit to Shardeloes, by kind invitation of Edward Copisarow.

A rare chance to see inside Shardeloes House and visit the private Pleasure Grounds of this well known Estate, as well as a chance for a guided tour of part of the extensive parkland.

Sharedloes has been divided into apartments since the late-mid-twentieth century, and Edward lives in the Ground Floor southern apartment, to the left of the Entrance Hall. Arrive at 10.30am for a Guided Tour of house, the Ground Floor Hall and Edward’s apartment, which includes the original Drawing Room, Library and dressing Room.
See the Historic England description.
Adam’s Architectural Drawings are held at The Soane Museum.

The Adam design for the facade at Shardeloes, familiar to people passing by on the Chiltern Line out of Aylesbury, for London Marylebone.

The Adam design for the facade at Shardeloes, familiar to people passing by on the Chiltern Line out of Aylesbury, for London Marylebone. Courtesy of The Soane Museum, London.

A history of Shardeloes House and the Tyrwhitt Drake family

In 1595 William Tothill, a lawyer and Clerk in Chancery, bought two small properties, Shardeloes and Woodrow, adjoining Wycombe Common. He built an Elizabethan house of 50 rooms at Shardeloes overlooking the Misbourne Valley. Tothill’s daughter Joanna married Francis Drake, son of an equerry to Queen Elizabeth 1st, and they inherited Shardeloes. Their son William was made a baronet and purchased the Manor of Agmodesham (Amersham) in 1665 from the Earl of Bedford.

A descendant, William Drake, who was MP for Amersham for 50 years, ordered the demolition of the original house. It was replaced during 1758–67 by an imposing neoclassical mansion which today dominates the Misbourne Valley west of Amersham.

The new house was a product of the age of prosperity in the mid eighteenth century. Fashions in country house use were changing. Thanks to improvements in roads and carriages the upper classes took to visiting friends in country houses. Entertainment became less formal. Rooms circled from the staircase instead of running through others. Extensive offices were confined to basements and wings.

The initial builder of Shardeloes House was Stiff Leadbetter who had worked on Bulstrode Park near Gerrards Cross for the Duke of Portland. He moved on and died early. The rising architect Robert Adam was asked to improve the plans for the building outside and inside. He and his two brothers used top craftsmen in the planning, decoration and furnishings.

Edward suggests that removing the low wall below the house would improve the parkland setting (and the views out) of the house. I am inclined to agree (CB).

Edward suggests that removing the low wall below the house would improve the parkland setting (and the views out) of the house. I am inclined to agree (CB). Picture by Charles Boot.

Tyrwhitt Drakes

The tombs and monuments in the Drake Chapel in St Mary’s Church, Amersham, are a fitting memorial to this important family. The church is second only in Buckinghamshire to the Bedford Chapel at Chenies in the richness of its monuments. The Chapel is opened on a few days each year and can be viewed by arrangement.

The family took the name of Tyrwhitt Drake in the eighteenth century in order to inherit land in Lincolnshire. The last member of the family to live at Shardeloes House was Thomas Tyrwhitt Drake (1893 – 1956).

The House was requisitioned as a maternity hospital in 1939 and the family moved to Bereleigh House, East Meon in Hampshire. Francis Tyrwhitt Drake lives there currently and remains Lord of the Manor of Amersham.

After the War Shardeloes House was threatened with demolition until a local preservation campaign helped to stop that. It was converted into flats in 1958 and the fabric of the building has been maintained.

Thanks to the Chiltern Society for this information.

Lunch (picnic or Red Lion, Little Missenden) from 12.30.

Badeslade's print of the estate showing the Bridgmanic layout, elements of which survive under the current layout.

Badeslade’s print of the estate showing the Bridgmanic layout, elements of which survive under the current layout. Courtesy of Edward Copisarow.

2pm Tour of grounds to be led by Dr David Brown. On our recent BGT recce David got very excited and described the Pleasure Grounds as probably the best surviving Nathaniel Richmond garden today. We were also very excited by the surviving elements of the double avenue leading towards little Missenden, cleverly converted to form clumps; their true identity only coming to light as you approach the original route of the avenue, if you see what I mean.

A remnant of the double lime avenue leading towards Little Missenden. Note the mistletoe in the battered Lime trees, a Buckinghamshire parkland speciality. picture by Charles Boot.

A remnant of the double lime avenue surviving as a clump in the parkland, originally leading towards Little Missenden. Note the mistletoe in the battered Lime trees, a Buckinghamshire parkland speciality. Picture by Charles Boot.

See the Historic England description,
perhaps more useful (with map) is the Chiltern District Council’s
Shardeloes Parkland Conservation Area leaflet.

Tea, with ginger beer & cake, to follow tour…

Full details of the Event will be sent out with your booking.
Cost: £10 for members, £12 for guests, includes tea (but not lunch!).

Although we have been invited to bring a picnic to eat in Edward’s garden, you may prefer to eat at The Red Lion, Little Missenden.

To attend please fill in and return the Booking Form, with your payment.