Wrotham Park

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Wrotham Park
Brayley(1820) p5.105 - Wrotham Park, Middlesex.jpg
Wrotham Park in 1820
Wrotham Park is located in Hertfordshire
Wrotham Park
location within Hertfordshire
General information
TypeEnglish country house
Architectural styleNeo-Palladian
LocationNear Potters Bar, Hertfordshire
Coordinates51°40′38″N 0°11′48″W / 51.67722°N 0.19667°W / 51.67722; -0.19667Coordinates: 51°40′38″N 0°11′48″W / 51.67722°N 0.19667°W / 51.67722; -0.19667
Destroyed1883 (fire), then rebuilt
ClientAdmiral John Byng
OwnerRobert Byng
Grounds2,500 acres
Design and construction
Architect(s)Isaac Ware
Other information
Number of rooms18 bedrooms
Entrance to Wrotham Park

Wrotham Park (pronounced /ˈrtəm/, ROO-təm)[1] is a neo-Palladian English country house in the parish of South Mimms, Hertfordshire. It lies south of the town of Potters Bar, 17 miles (27 km) from Hyde Park Corner in central London. The house was designed by Isaac Ware in 1754 for Admiral John Byng, the fourth son of Admiral George Byng, 1st Viscount Torrington, and remains in the family at the heart of a 2,500-acre (10 km2) estate. It is one of the largest private houses near London inside the M25 motorway. Its distinctive exterior has been used over 60 times as a filming location.

The house is listed as a Grade II* building on the National Heritage List for England, and its landscaped park and gardens are Grade II listed on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.[2][3]


Originally part of an estate known as Pinchbank (also Birchbank), first recorded in Middlesex in 1310 and owned in the 17th and early 18th centuries by the Howkins family, the property passed to Thomas Reynolds, a director of the South Sea Company, who renamed the estate Strangeways. His son, Francis, sold the property to Admiral John Byng who had the house rebuilt by Isaac Ware in 1754.[4]

Admiral John Byng changed the name of the house to Wrotham Park in honour of the original family home in Wrotham, Kent.[5] Byng never had an opportunity to live in retirement at Wrotham. Following his inadequately equipped expedition to relieve Menorca from the French during the Seven Years' War, he was court martialled and executed in 1757. This event was satirised by Voltaire in his novel Candide. In Portsmouth, Candide witnesses the execution of an officer by firing squad; and is told that "in this country, it is wise to kill an admiral from time to time to encourage the others" (pour encourager les autres).[4]

The house was inherited by John Byng, 1st Earl of Strafford in 1847 and passed to his son, George Byng, 2nd Earl of Strafford, on the first earl's death in 1860.[4] A disastrous fire in 1883 burned slowly enough to permit retrieval of the contents of the house, but gutted it.[4] The house was rebuilt exactly as it was and still remains in the hands of the Byng family.[6]

Filming location

Wrotham Park has often been used as a filming location including: Hart to Hart;[citation needed] White Mischief (1987);[citation needed] Inspector Morse (1989);[7] Jeeves and Wooster (1990–1993);[citation needed] King Ralph (1991);[8] Bridget Jones's Diary (2001);[9] Gosford Park (2001); Peter's Friends;[citation needed] 2004 film version of Vanity Fair;[citation needed] The Line of Beauty (2006);[citation needed] Sense and Sensibility (2008); Norland Park was filmed there;[10] 2011 version of Jane Eyre;[citation needed] The Hour (2011);[citation needed] 2012 film version of Great Expectations;[citation needed] Kingsman: The Secret Service, Kingsman: The Golden Circle and The King's Man;[citation needed] Mr Selfridge (2014);[citation needed] Agatha Christie's Poirot episodes "The Adventure of Johnnie Waverly"[11] and Third Girl;[citation needed] The Gentleman (2019);[12] Downton Abbey; The Crown and Bridgerton (2022).[citation needed]

Social events

Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece and the former Marie-Chantal Miller had a pre-wedding reception attended by approximately 1,300 guests two days before their 1 July 1995 wedding.[citation needed]

Chelsea and England footballer Ashley Cole and Girls Aloud singer Cheryl had their wedding blessed at Wrotham Park on 15 July 2006[citation needed] – they weren't allowed to have their wedding there because Wrotham Park did not have a licence to hold civil weddings.


  1. ^ Woods, Judith (25 January 2002). "Palladian marvel outshines a cast of stars". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
  2. ^ Historic England, "Wrotham Park and stable block (1174715)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 1 March 2018
  3. ^ Historic England, "Wrotham Park (1000254)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 1 March 2018
  4. ^ a b c d Wrotham Park, Barnet Hertfordshire Genealogy
  5. ^ 'South Mimms: Other estates', A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 5: Hendon, Kingsbury, Great Stanmore, Little Stanmore, Edmonton Enfield, Monken Hadley, South Mimms, Tottenham (1976), pp. 285–290
  6. ^ History, Wrotham Park.
  7. ^ IMDB Ghost in the Machine https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0611641/locations
  8. ^ "Where was King Ralph filmed?". British Film Locations. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  9. ^ "Jane Eyre". The Castles and Manor Houses of Cinema's Greatest Period Films. Architectural Digest. January 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2013.
  10. ^ Glancey, Jonathan (16 September 2011). "Constructive criticism: the week in architecture". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  11. ^ The Adventure of Johnnie Waverly Poirot, 27 May 2014
  12. ^ IT, SCEEN. "The Gentlemen at Wrotham Park - filming location". www.sceen-it.com. Retrieved 18 September 2021.

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