He lived in the Chilterns at both Bradenham Manor and Hughenden Manor, north of High Wycombe. He is buried in Hughenden Churchyard
21st December 1804
19th April 1881
Benjamin Disraeli served as Prime Minister twice and Chancellor of the Exchequer three times. He was a favourite of Queen Victoria who visited his grave at Hughenden Church yard on 30th April 1881.
In 1825 Isaac (Benjamin’s father) rented Hyde Heath House (two miles east of Great Missenden) where Disraeli started his first novel, Vivian Grey. In 1829 the family moved to Bradenham Manor, three miles north of High Wycombe, which was rented by Isaac. Disraeli wrote many of his novels here including Alroy, Contarini Fleming, Coningsby and The Young Duke.
In 1832, 28 year old Benjamin Disraeli addressed the people of High Wycombe from the portico of the Red Lion in the main street. His attempt to represent Wycombe in Parliament failed then, but by 1847 he was MP for Shrewsbury, then changed his seat for the county seat of Buckinghamshire.
Disraeli was ambitious and spent much of his time with the wealthy and the landed gentry whom he aspired to join. With some difficulty he managed to borrow sufficient funds to complete a protracted purchase (Dec 1846 – Sept 1848) of Hughenden Manor. A long process of re-modelling the main house and landscaping the grounds began, driven by the energy of Disraeli’s wife Mary Anne. This included the creation of ponds along the Hughenden Stream and the planting of the ‘German Forest’ area, inspired by the Black Forest in Germany.
Disraeli wrote, "when I come to Hughenden I pass the first week sauntering about the park examining all my trees, and the second examining my books".
Disraeli loved Hughenden, and perhaps going against the tide of the Buckinghamshire County set, would not allow shooting or hunting on the estate, whilst Mary Anne held annual parties in the park for the children of the town. Perhaps his favourite time of year was the autumn... ‘The limes are golden, the beeches ruddy brown, whilst the oaks, elms and pines are still dark and green. But not a leaf has fallen. They wait the first whisper of frost and then they go out like the lamps when the dawn breaks on a long festival!’
In 1848 Bradenham Manor was vacated on the death of his parents as the property was only leased. His brother James moved to Small Dean Farm near Bradenham.
Disraeli became Chancellor of the Exchequer for the first time in 1852. He took up the role again in 1858 and then for the third time in 1866. In 1868 Mary Anne, his wife, was created Countess of Beaconsfield. From February to December of that year Disraeli served as Prime Minister for the first time.
From 1874 to1880 he served as Prime Minister for a second time and in 1876 Queen Victoria conferred upon him the title of Earl of Beaconsfield.
In 1880 his novel Endymion was published - thought to be based on Bradenham Manor with descriptions of the surrounding countryside including references to juniper heath (probably references to the now heavily wooded Naphill and Downley Commons).
On 19th April 1881 Disraeli died in London and on 29th April he was buried in Hughenden Churchyard. On 30th April his grave was visited by Queen Victoria and Princess Beatrice. The Queen placed a plaque in the church which reads: ’From his grateful sovereign, Kings love him who speaketh right’.
Disraeli’s heir, his nephew Coningsby, died childless in 1936 and the Disraeli connection with the Chilterns ended.
Hughenden Manor and Estate is owned by the National Trust and is open to the public. The German Forest is being restored and there is an audio trail available from the ticket office.
Bradenham Manor is now leased to an accountancy company but occasionally there are open days for the house and grounds
St Botolph's church, next to Bradenham Manor and where Disraeli’s parents are buried, is open for regular services and on request.
There is open public access to the National Trust properties of Hughenden Manor and Bradenham Woods. There is also open access to the neighbouring Downley and Naphill commons. Benjamin Disraeli must have often crossed the commons whilst travelling between his home at Hughenden Manor and his parents’ home at Bradenham which are 3 miles apart.
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