Obelisk commemorating Benjamin Disraeli


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Rayners House, Penn, High Wycombe, HP10 8LZ


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Statutory Address:
Rayners House, Penn, High Wycombe, HP10 8LZ

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Buckinghamshire (Unitary Authority)
Chepping Wycombe
National Grid Reference:


A commemorative obelisk, erected by Sir Philip Rose, Bart, in memory of his friend, the former Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and the visit of Queen Victoria to Rayners following his death.

Reasons for Designation

The Obelisk commemorating Benjamin Disraeli at Rayners House, Penn, High Wycombe is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* the memorial is in the form of an obelisk and has a particular context in its setting beside the route taken by Queen Victoria as she travelled to visit the grave of her former Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, shortly after his death.

Historic interest:

* the monument celebrates the strong ties of friendship, loyalty and duty between the Queen and her Prime Minister;

* it provides a record of an act of respect from the monarch towards her Prime Minister, whose funeral she had been unable to attend due to the constraints of royal protocol.

Group value:

* with Rayners House, Penn and Rayners Lodge, Penn, which are recommended for addition to the List at Grade II.


The estate around Rayners House was originally two farms which were bought by Philip Rose in 1845; Rayners Farm and Colehatch Farm. Rose had been born in Wycombe and became a successful City solicitor. His partnership was responsible for the legal work on behalf of the Great Northern Railway, and Rose himself invested in the company. Personally, he also became a friend of Disraeli and both helped to found the Brompton Hospital for Tuberculosis patients. Disraeli’s house, Hughenden Manor is close to Rayners and Rose looked after his legal affairs from 1846. In 1874, when Disraeli became prime minister, he made Rose a baronet.

The essentially bare farmland was gradually turned into an estate with gardens and the planting of belts of trees during the latter part of the C19. The first part of the house was built in 1847 with additions made in the 1850s and a substantial remodelling in 1867-1868 by David Brandon. Garden buildings including the greenhouses to the north-west of the house were added by the second baronet. Bricks were made using clay dug from the estate.

The house was initially used as a summer retreat from London by the family, but it became a more conventional country estate which eventually extended to 550 acres. The second baronet died in 1919 and the estate passed to his grandson, whose trustees decided to sell. It was bought in 1920 by the London County Council who turned the house into a school for deaf children. It remained as a school, with a large classroom block and gymnasium added to the east in the mid C20. The school closed in 2016.

The obelisk commemorates the visit of Queen Victoria to Rayners on 30 April 1881 when she retraced the journey which took Disraeli home after his final visit to Windsor Castle.


A commemorative obelisk, erected by Sir Philip Rose, Bart, in memory of his friend, the former Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and the visit of Queen Victoria to Rayners following his death in 1881.

MATERIALS & PLAN: the obelisk is of polished maroon Peterhead granite with Portland stone dressings and inset lead lettering. The obelisk rises from a stepped plinth and is set on the northern side of the driveway leading east from the house.

The plinth has two steps with chamfered top edges. At the mid point it is interrupted by a projecting stone band which has miniature pediments to each side. An inscription to the upper body on the south side reads: ‘THE RT. HON. / BENJAMIN DISRAELI / K.G. / EVER TO BE REMEMBERED / AS AUTHOR, ORATOR / STATESMAN, PATRIOT / AND FRIEND / BORN DEC. 21. 1804 / DIED APRIL 15 1881’. Below the stone band is a further inscription: ‘ON APRIL 30. 1881. / H.M. QUEEN VICTORIA / PASSED THIS SPOT ON HER WAY FROM / WINDSOR TO HUGHENDEN CHURCH YARD / TO VISIT THE LAST RESTING-PLACE OF HER / FAITHFUL FRIEND AND FORMER MINISTER / WHOSE LOSS THE NATION MOURNS. / BY EXPRESS DESIRE, HER MAJESTY / FOLLOWED THE ROUTE TAKEN BY LORD / BEACONSFIELD ON RETURNING FROM HIS / LAST VISIT TO WINDSOR CASTLE / DEC: 8-10, 1880 WHEN HE ENTERED BY / THE LOWER LODGE AT LOUDWATER, / REMAINED TO LUNCH AT RAYNERS, AND / WENT HOME BY CRIERS HILL. / A GROOM OF SIR PHILIP ROSE’S / HAVING BEEN COMMANDED TO MEET THE ROYAL / CORTEGE AT TAPLOW TO SHOW THE WAY.’ A further inscription on the plinth identifies the coachman who helped to lead the royal coach through the estate. The other sides are without inscription.


Books and journals
Green, Miles , Tiddy, Jo, Mansions and Mud Houses, (2007), 28
Green, Miles, Clark, Evelyn, The Rose Family, Rayners and Tyler's End Green, (1999), 10


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

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