Friday, 12 August 2022

Wargrave History Society

MEMBERS of the society visited Kingston Bagpuize House and garden for their annual day out.

The group spent the day at the country home near Abingdon on July 19 and were shown around by owner Virginia Grant, who has lived there for 20 years.

A house with a moat was first built on the estate in 1542 by John Latton. This was replaced by the present house in the 1660s and was bought by Edmund Fettiplace a decade later.

The house later passed to John Blandy, Fettiplace’s son-in-law, and remained in the family until 1917 when it was reputedly lost in a gamble with Edward Strauss MP, the Blandys’ tenant.

Strauss, threatened with bankruptcy, sold the house in 1935 and four years later it was bought by Grace Raphael, whose plans to renovate the house and garden were delayed by the Second World War, with much of the grounds occupied by the military camp for Kingston Bagpuize Airfield.

The house then passed down through the family to current owner.

Members were given a tour of the house, including the grand staircase made of oak and pine, the library featuring a number of family portraits and bedrooms, including the Rose Room and the Pink Bedroom.

The group also walked through the garden and visited the nearby St John the Baptist Church, which is Grade II listed.

The church was built in 1800 following the demolition of a Norman church a year earlier. The 200-year-old bell tower was recently rebuilt, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Historic Churches Trust.

The day finished with afternoon tea and home-made cake back at the house.

The society’s next meeting will be on Tuesday, September 12 with a talk by Wendy England on the history of the Berkshire Women’s Institute.

On Tuesday, October 10, Martin Andrews will speak about photographer William Henry Fox-Talbot and his work in the Reading area.

Meetings take place at the Old Pavilion in the recreation ground, off Recreation Road, starting at 8pm.

For more information, call Peter Delaney on 0118 940 3121 or visit www.wargrave

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