National Trust, Claydon

Image credit: National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

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Claydon was initially designed and partially built by the gentleman architect Sir Thomas Robinson of Rokeby (c.1702–1777), 1st Bt, between 1752 and 1768 for the 2nd Earl Verney. It once had an immense columned ballroom, or ‘Egyptian hall’, and a domed rotunda in the centre housing a saloon but these were pulled down only 20 years after they were built, by the Earl’s successor, his niece, Mary (1737–1810), created Baroness Fermanagh in her own right. Sir Harry Calvert William Verney (1881–1974), 4th Bt, and his son Sir Ralph Bruce Verney (1915–2001), 5th Bt, gave the house, and restrictive covenants over the park, to the National Trust in 1956. In 1987 Sir Ralph created Claydon House Trust, to ensure that family portraits and papers always remain there. Permission has not been granted to reproduce the 67 pictures that still belong to them, but they are on public display. The miscalled portrait of Florence Nightingale’s housekeeper was given to Claydon because of her association with the house, which she visited after it was inherited by Sir Harry Verney (1801–1894), 2nd Bt, who was married to Frances Parthenope Nightingale (d.1890), her elder sister.

Middle Claydon, near Buckingham, Buckinghamshire MK18 2EY England

01494 755561

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