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 Historic England

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John V Asia Teacher
John V Asia Teacher

PostSubject: Historic England   19.07.17 21:10

Fawsley Hall

England has a long history of periodic architecture and aside from recent war damage and the destruction during the Dissolution of the Monasteries Acts in the 16th century by Henry VIII, much of its historic legacy remains intact.

One such architectural structure is Fawsley Hall in Northamptonshire, with a rich history going back to the 7th century and initially used by early Anglo-Saxon nobility and royalty. The adjoining two thousand-acre grounds and formal gardens, partly designed by the renowned landscape designer ‘Capability’ Brown in the mid 1700’s, also retain their former splendour.

The building retains the charm of successive historical periods

Eventually, Fawsley Hall, bought by Sir Richard Knightley, passed into private ownership of the Knightley family in 1416, after they came to England with William the Conqueror in 1066, first settling in Staffordshire. Throughout the following centuries spanning the Tudor, Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian dynasties, the building and surrounding land retain the charm of successive historical periods, each generation of the Knightley’s adding to its splendour in their particular period style. Later additions and modifications to the north wing in 1732 by Francis Smith, Thomas Cundy in 1815 and the southeast wing by Anthony Salvin in 1867.

The Tudor period Great Hall, commissioned in 1537, still remains intact (the roof rebuilt to original specifications in 1988), with its central fireplace and high beamed ceiling. Interestingly, the Latin term ‘Sub Rosa’, translated as meaning confidentiality, or the requirement for secrecy, is said to originate in legal terms from the Tudor period rose emblem embedded in the ceiling of the Great Hall.

Throughout its long history, Fawsley Hall retained links to royalty

Throughout its long history, Fawsley Hall retained links to royalty. Elizabeth I, (the daughter of the ill-fated Anne Boleyn), was a guest in 1575 on her way to see Sir Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester and unofficial consort. Moreover, her father, Henry VIII, was a frequent visitor and King Charles I spent the night at Fawsley Hall on the eve of the nearby battle of Naseby during the English civil war in 1645. Following the battle, Oliver Cromwell stayed there after his victory.

The links to the Knightley’s began to decline in 1913 with the death of Lady Louisa Mary Knightley ending five hundred years of Knightley occupancy and the Knightley lineage finally ended with the death of the 6th Baronet Sir Henry Francis Knightley, who died in 1938.

The hall passed as an inheritance to Viscount Gage, requisitioned during the war and eventually fell into a general state of disrepair. In the 1970’s bought as a family run hotel and its present owners, a hotel group, repurchased the building in 2013 as a hotel and spa.

Nearby attractions and places of interest

Within walking distance is the Church of Saint Mary, still in use and dating from 1209. Inside is a list of Priests officiating for the past 800 years.
Nearby and five miles from Fawsley is Canons Ashby house, previously a medieval Augustinian monastery and dating from the 16th century.
Sulgrave Manor, ten miles from Fawsley and the ancestral home of George Washington is now a museum and consequently fly’s the American flag as a reminder of its American connections.

Fawsley is located in the East Midlands, four and a half miles south of Daventry in Northamptonshire and 14 miles north of Banbury.

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