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The Grange, Hampshire: unexecuted designs for domestic offices and a bridge for the 1st Lord Henley, 1764 (5)

Signed and dated

  • 1764


The Grange was purchased by the Henley family in 1662, and a five-storey brick house was built in 1664-73 by Sir Robert Henley, a lawyer, to designs by William Samwell (1628-76). Samwell’s plan for the house is held at the Ashmolean Museum, and is reconstructed in Geddes's article 'The Prince of Wales at the Grange' in Furniture History, 1986. Sir Robert Henley's descendant, also Robert Henley (c1708-72, created 1st Baron Henley in 1760), a lawyer and politician, commissioned designs for domestic offices and a bridge from Robert Adam in 1764. There is no evidence that these were executed.

In 1743 Robert Henley married Jane, daughter of Sir John Hubbard, 2nd Baronet of Ipsley, Warwickshire. He served as MP for Bath in 1747-57; he was knighted in 1756, and appointed Attorney General in that year; he was then made Lord Keeper of the Great Seal in 1757-61 which was attended by appointments to the Privy Council and the Cabinet; he was created Baron Henley in 1760; he served as Lord High Steward for the trials of Lord Ferrers in 1760, and Lord Byron in 1765; he was Lord Chancellor in 1761-66; he was created Earl of Northington in 1764; he was Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire in 1764-71; and he was Lord President of the Council in 1766-67.

Through his political career Henley was particular friends with George Bubb Doddington (created Baron Melcombe in 1761), who had employed Robert Adam to make unexecuted designs for a garden pavilion at La Trappe, Hammersmith in 1762. It may have been through Bubb Doddington that Adam came to Henley’s attention.

Following the death of the 2nd Lord Henley in 1786 the Grange was sold to the banker, Henry Drummond, whose grandson, also Henry Drummond, encased the old house in the form of a Greek temple in c1809-10 to designs by William Wilkins (1778-1839). Drummond sold the house in 1816 and during the nineteenth century various additions were made for the banking family the Barings, by Sir Robert Smirke (1780-1867), Charles Robert Cockerell (1788-1863) Frederick Pepys Cockerell (1833-78), and John Cox (dates unknown). The interior of the house was stripped in 1975, and parts of the house were demolished, but the shell was saved by the Department of the Environment (now English Heritage). The Grange is now the home of the Grange Park Opera, but the majority of the house remains a roofed shell, revealing much of Samwell's original house underneath Wilkins's additions.

A. T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index pp. 15, 74; J. Geddes, ‘The Prince of Wales at the Grange, Northington: an inventory of 1795’, Furniture History XXII, 1986, pp. 176-78, 203-6; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume II, p. 218; M. Bullen, J. Crooke, R. Hubbuck, and N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Hampshire: Winchester and the north, 2010, pp. 296-98; R.R. Sedgwick, 'Henley, Robert (c1708-72), of the Grange, nr. Alresford, Hants', The history of Parliament online, 2012; R. Osborne, The Grange, Hampshire, 2012

Frances Sands, 2012



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Contents of The Grange, Hampshire: unexecuted designs for domestic offices and a bridge for the 1st Lord Henley, 1764 (5)