Boughton House, Northamptonshire, England

This Tudor building was remodelled in the French style for the 1st Duke of Montagu in the 17th century, which explains why it’s often called the “English Versailles”.

Most of what you can see of Boughton House today was rebuilt for Ralph Montagu, the 1st Duke of Montagu, who inherited the house from his father in 1683. Sir Edward Montague had rescued this former monastic building just before the Dissolution of the Monasteries in England and Ralph, his son, employed lots of Huguenot craftsmen to remodel the old Tudor building. It wasn’t used very much from the mid-18th century and, as a result, the rooms are well-preserved and look almost like they did hundreds of years ago. Part of the world-famous Buccleuch art collection is on display here, including paintings by El Greco, Van Dyck and Gainsborough. You’ll find a collection of 16th-century Middle-Eastern Rugs and various weapons from all round the world in the Armoury.


The garden is French in style, too, with lots of still pools of water to reflect the Enlightenment idea that the garden should be an intellectual landscape allowing you to think and ponder life’s big questions. The 2nd Duke added lots of elm and plane tree avenues to the garden, and it’s thought that the sculptural earth forms around the estate were created by Charles Bridgeman, who also landscaped the garden at Stowe.  The most recent additions to the gardens are a sculpture on top of a pyramid-shaped grassy mound by Kim Wilkie in 2009 (Orpheus) and The Grand Etang (‘large lake’) at the north-west of the House - one of its original features that was lost for many years. 

Boughton House, Northamptonshire, England
Boughton House, Northamptonshire, England
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