Stratfield Saye House

Stratfield Saye House.

Stratfield Saye House is a large stately home at Stratfield Saye in the north-east of the English county of Hampshire. It has been the home of the Dukes of Wellington since 1817.

Early history

The Manor of Stratfield Saye was created by the joining of two older manors. In the 12th century Stratfield was owned by the Stoteville family, and then early in the 13th century this passed by marriage to the Saye family.

Before 1370 the manor passed on again by marriage to the Dabridgecourts,[1] and in 1629 they sold the property to the Pitt family, cousins of the great father-and-son Prime Ministers.

The main part of the house was extensively enlarged around 1630 by Sir William Pitt, Comptroller of the Household to King James I. Sir William's eldest son, Edward Pitt (1592-1643), MP, of Steepleton Iwerne, Dorset and later of Stratfield Saye, bought the estate for £4,800 in 1629.[2] Further extensive alterations were carried out to the house and park in the 18th century by George Pitt, 1st Baron Rivers.

Purchase by the state

The coachhouses and stable blocks at Stratfield Saye House.

The estate was sold to the nation in 1817, in order that it could be given by a grateful nation to the victorious Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. They gave 600,000 pounds for the construction of a splendid Waterloo Palace to rival the magnificence of Blenheim Palace, home of the Dukes of Marlborough. The Hampshire site Wellington chose in 1817 was the 5,000-acre (20 km2) estate of Stratfield Saye, home of the Pitt family. He was advised on the purchase by the architect Benjamin Dean Wyatt who had once been his private secretary.[3] He originally planned to demolish the existing house, and replace it with a more prestigious home, to be known as Waterloo Palace. The Duke abandoned these plans in 1821 when they proved to be too expensive, and subsequently made numerous additions and improvements to the existing building. All but the 1st and 6th Dukes are buried at Stratfield Saye House.

The Wellington Exhibition

The stables are grade II listed buildings.[4][5] They now contain the Wellington Exhibition, which depicts the life and times of the 1st Duke. It houses a large collection of military mementoes. The Duke's magnificent, cast bronze funeral carriage, made from melted-down French cannons captured at the Battle of Waterloo, was moved to Stratfield Saye in the 1980s.[6]

Duke of Wellington Commemorative Column

The Wellington Memorial at the entrance to Stratfield Saye House.

The Duke of Wellington Commemorative Column stands at the entrance to Stratfield Saye on the eastern Heckfield side. The column, which can be viewed from the A33, is topped by a bronze statue by Baron Carlo Marochetti. The column was erected in 1863.[7]

Filming of the Steven Spielberg film War Horse began in August 2010 with the cavalry scenes being filmed at Stratfield Saye House, where Wellington's war horse "Copenhagen" is buried.[8]

See also


  1. John Gough Nichols, The Topographer and genealogist, Volume 1 (1846), pp. 198-208 read here on Google Books
  2. The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, edited by Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
  3. Hibbert, Christopher (2010). Wellington: A Personal History. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-00-740694-4. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
  4. North Side
  5. South Side
  6. Funeral carriage
  7. "Duke of Wellington Commemorative Column". Art & Architecture. The Courtauld Institute. Retrieved 2014-10-04.
  8. "Jockeys jump at the chance to help Spielberg". The Daily Telegraph. 6 September 2010. Retrieved 20 September 2010.
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Coordinates: 51°20′57″N 0°59′47″W / 51.34917°N 0.99639°W / 51.34917; -0.99639

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