- Heritage Category:
- Listed Building
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Statutory Address:
- WOBURN ABBEY
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- Statutory Address:
- WOBURN ABBEY
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Central Bedfordshire (Unitary Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SP 96463 32551
SP 9632-9732 WOBURN WOBURN PARK
22.10.52 Woburn Abbey
Country house, home of the Russells, Dukes of Bedford. Stands on site of and
incorporates a little fabric of the Cistercian Abbey (founded 1145 by Hugh de
Bolebec) granted to Lord John Russell, later 1st Earl of Bedford, in 1547.
Rebuilt c1630 by Francis 4th Earl. Little of this survives due to subsequent
reworkings, 1747-61 by Henry Flitcroft (based on plans by John Sanderson) and
1787-1790 by Henry Holland. Lesser contributions by William Chambers.
Ashlar, mostly Ketton oolite and Totternhoe clunch. Slated Mansard roofs.
Formerly of quadrangular plan, but E wing and E ends of N and S wings
demolished 1949-50, after which Sir Albert Richardson added pavilions to N and
S wings. 2 storeys and attics, with 3-storeyed pavilions. N elevation:
irregular. 3-bay C17 facade survives fairly intact to RH two-thirds, with
heavily rusticated loggia to ground floor of central bay and round-arched
niches between windows of both floors of outer bays. Whole elevation has
sash windows in variety of openings and surrounds, those to C17 part
symmetrically arranged. W (now front) elevation: by Flitcroft.
Symmetrical, with central pedimented block and pavilions to outer angles.
1:5:3:5:1 windows, all sashes with glazing bars. Outer pavilions have
Venetian windows to first floor and Diocletian windows to 2nd floor. Other
first floor windows have eared architraves and triangular pediments, the
central 3 with broken pediments. Ground floor is rusticated. Central block
ground floor has 3 round arches, central one containing part-glazed double
doors, outer ones sashes. Above this are 4 engaged giant order Ionic
columns. Tympanum has carved Russell achievement. Balustraded parapets to
lower blocks, behind which are gabled dormers. Variety of multiple chimney
stacks. Adjoining main block at both ends are small single-storeyed
rusticated blocks. Each has round-arched doorway and balustraded parapet
terminating in carved sphinx on rectangular plinth. S elevation: thought to
be by Chambers but heavily reworked by Holland. Truncate, although symmetry
maintained by Richardson's work. Ground is banked higher to S side than
elsewhere, being at first floor level of building. Main block is same height
as pavilions, giving a 2-storeyed facade. 2:9:2 sash windows with glazing
bars. Ground floor windows are full-length, with shouldered architraves and
triangular pediments. Those to outer bays are set into shallow round-arched
recesses. Balustraded parapet. Stone-flagged terrace runs whole length of
elevation. Interior: some C17 features, particularly the ornate grotto to N
wing, attributed to Isaac de Caux, with nymphs, putti, masks etc in carved
stone and inlaid shells. Elsewhere mostly rich ornamentation from the
Flitcroft and Holland alterations. Many chimney pieces by Rysbrack and
Deval. S range contains Holland's tripartite library. N range includes
room with Chinese wallpaper showing birds, plants and trees and Rococo
N Pevsner, Buildings of England: Bedfordshire, pp166-170;
VCH (Bedfordshire), vol.III, pp459-461; Woburn Abbey visitor's guide, 1983.
Listing NGR: SP9646332551
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Woburn Abbey Visitors Guide, (1983)
Doubleday, AH, Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Bedford, (1904), 459-461
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Bedfordshire, Huntingdon and Peterborough, (1968), 166-170
Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England, Part 2 Bedfordshire,
This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.
End of official listing