Stratfield Saye House is one of the most famous country houses because of its elegance and rich history. Since 1817, it has been the dwelling place of the Dukes of Wellington. Originally, the estate was not a single building, but it was a two-manor estate that eventually merged into one. During the 12th century, it was the Stoteville family who first owned the manor. However, in the 13th century, this was passed on to the Saye family because of marriage. Later on, the manor was also passed on to the Dabridgecourts, still because of marriage.
In the year 1969, the Dabridgecourts sold the place to the Pitt family, who were closely related to the great Prime Ministers William Pitt the Elder and William Pitt the Younger. The older Pitt enlarged and re-designed the house with red bricks, which were fashionable at that time. It was then bought by Stratfield Saye in 1629. Later on, George Pitt, the first Baron Rivers, made further developments of the house and the parkland in the 18th century.
After the victory of Arthur Wellesley against Napoleon at Waterloo, the state purchased the whole estate in 1817 and gave it to him as a token of gratitude. The original plan of the first Duke of Wellington was to demolish the existing structure and create a more sophisticated one, known as the Waterloo Palace. This idea, however, was abandoned because of its expensiveness.
Inside the grand mansion is the Wellington Exhibition, which is a magnificent exhibit of the life and experiences of the first Duke. It also showcases the different collections of military relics.
Being afforded a state funeral in 1852, a carriage of bronze cannon was also specially made for the Duke. It took about 100 men to work in 18 days for the funeral carriage to be complete.
In 1863, a commemorative column was erected in the entrance of Stratfield Saye House. Standing atop the column is a bronze figure by Baron Carlo Marochetti.
The house contains many of the 1st Duke’s possessions and is still occupied by his descendants, being a family home rather than a museum.
You can visit the grave of the 1st Duke’s warhorse; Copenhagen and the 1st Duke’s funeral carriage.
Access to the house is by guided tour only, pre-booking not possible, arrive early to avoid disappointment.
The Stratfield Saye House is open to the public during the holiday seasons during Easter and Summer. Check out the time and dates provided below:
Dates: April 18, Thursday to April 22, Monday
Dates: August 1, Thursday to August 26, Monday
The elegant estate can be accessed only with an authorized tour guide. Below is the schedule of opening times for the week:
Monday to Friday – 11:30 am (tour starts at 12 noon)
Weekends and Holidays – 10:30 am (tour starts at 11 am)
Take note, however, that the cut-off of admission time is 3:30 pm and the grounds will close by 5 pm.
Farm Shop Cafe – The Duke of Wellington’s estate is not just all tours and activities. At the heart of its Farm Shop is the Wellington Farm Shop Café, which offers delicious meals for your breakfast, lunch, and snacks.
Estate – The whole estate of Wellington covers about 7,000 acres of land filled with grass, trees, and wildlife. The span of the area makes the estate highly conducive for sporting activities like parkland or woodland bird shooting, fly fishing, and coarse fishing. In the estate are commercial properties available to the public for rent as well.