Built in 1588, Mapledurham House is a stunning stately home located in the peaceful village of Mapledurham by the River Thames. Its grounds are home to a collection of beautiful trees. Either side of the entrance stand two grand evergreen magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), that are said to be among the earliest specimens brought to this country. Close to the house also lies a large old gingko (Ginkgo biloba), reportedly 250 years old, which would make it one of the first imported from its native China. The grounds include two Judas trees (Cercis siliquastrum), a huge horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) measuring around 3 metres in girth and two Cedar of Lebanon trees (Cedrus libani) growing next to a ha-ha or sunken fence.
The house itself originally belonged to Michael Blount, a high official of Elizabeth I, who had the house built to replace an old manor that dated back to the 12th century; it remained within the family for four hundred years. The direct line of the Blount family died out in the 20th century and the Mapledurham estate passed by descent to the current owner, John Joseph Eyston. He has since restored the
house and now lives there with his family.
The house is famously associated with 18th century poet Alexander Pope, who was a frequent visitor. He was enamoured of two daughters of the Blount family, and it was rumoured that he was secretly married to one of them. He also influenced the layout of the gardens in conjunction with his favoured landscape
architect, William Kent.
Thanks to the owner, the house and grounds can now be visited and admired by the public. More information is on the estates' website.
The house and grounds are open to the public Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays from Easter to the end of September