DiCamillo Companion
England

Apley Park (Apley Hall)

  • Earlier Houses: There was at least one earlier house on the site of the current house.

    House & Family History: Considered one of Shropshire's most important country houses, Apley Park sits romantically above the River Severn, its Gothick style exterior bristling with battlemented parapets and mullioned windows. Inside there are grand staterooms, ornate plasterwork, fan vaulted ceilings, and a monumental central staircase, the fittings of which were brought from Shobdon Court and Wigmore Hall, both in Herefordshire. Apley was built in its current form for the Whitmore family in the early 19th century (Thrybergh Park in Yorkshire, designed by the same architect, is a smaller version of Apley, which was probably the inspiration for the Yorkshire house). In 1867 Apley was sold for the enormous sum of £500,000 (approximately £45 million in 2020 values using the real price commodity index) to William Orme Foster, a very rich ironmaster whose family remained here until 1960. In 1962 the house was leased to Shropshire County Council, who operated it as Apley Park Boarding School until 1987. After the closure of the school the house remained empty until 1997, when it was sold, together with 25 acres and a number of outbuildings, for redevelopment into luxury condominiums. After the initial development plans stalled, the property was sold in February of 2004 to Martin Ebelis, who developed the parcel into 17 houses, apartments, and mews houses. The grand house itself was vertically divided into five impressive mansion houses, completed and sold in 2006-07: Apley Hall House (which incorporates the main entrance; it sold for £1.5 million), the Library House, the Georgian House, the Garden House, and the Courtyard House. Apley Park is generally considered the inspiration for the fictional house in P.G. Wodehouse's series of "Blandings books" that centered on Lord Emsworth's Blandings Castle. Wodehouse is known to have used many Shropshire locales in his books.

    Collections: Apley features marble mantlepieces that were supposedly removed from the 18th century Dorchester House in London. In the 19th century Apley had an important collection of paintings, including works by Reynolds (portrait of David Garrick), Turner ("Guard Ship at the Nore"), and Constable.

    Comments: house in the

  • Garden & Outbuildings: The Grade II-listed two-story stableblock has been restored and divided into ten individual homes. The stableblock is built around a courtyard and is dominated by a large central archway that supports the clock tower. Beside the stables there is the blacksmith's cottage, which has also been converted into a home. In the 1930s the orangery was converted to accommodate a swimming pool, believed to be the first private indoor swimming pool in Britain. The surrounding 8,500-acre Apley Park Estate is still owned (and has been since 1868) by the Hamilton family's Apley Estate.

  • Architect: William Adam Forsyth

    Date: 1933
    Designed: Converted Gothick style orangery into a swimming pool

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    Architect: Edward Milner

    Date: Late 19th century
    Designed: Victorian style gardens for William Orme Foster

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    Architect: John Webb

    Date: Circa 1811-12
    Designed: Stockton Lodges
    (Attribution of this work is uncertain)
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    Architect: John Webb

    Date: 1811-12
    Designed: Rebuilt house, and possibly designed landscaping, for Thomas Whitmore

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  • John Bernard (J.B.) Burke, published under the title of A Visitation of the Seats and Arms of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland, among other titles: Vol. II, p. 77, 1853.

    John Preston (J.P.) Neale, published under the title of Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, among other titles: 2.S. Vol. III, 1826.

    Country Life: May 25, 1907.

  • Title: Country Houses of Shropshire, The
    Author: Williams, Gareth
    Year Published: 2021
    Reference: pgs. 49-53
    Publisher: Suffolk: The Boydell Press
    ISBN: 9781783275397
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Burke's & Savills Guide to Country Houses, Volume II: Herefordshire, Shropshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire
    Author: Reid, Peter
    Year Published: 1980
    Reference: pg. 76
    Publisher: London: Burke's Peerage
    ISBN: 0850110319
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Disintegration of a Heritage: Country Houses and their Collections, 1979-1992, The
    Author: Sayer, Michael
    Year Published: 1993
    Publisher: Norfolk: Michael Russell (Publishing)
    ISBN: 0859551970
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Grade II*

    Park Listed: Not Listed

  • Past Seat / Home of: SEATED AT EARLIER HOUSES: Sir Thomas Lucy, until 1551. William Whitmore, 1551-93; William Whitmore, 1593-1648; Sir Thomas Whitmore, 1st Bt., 1648-53; Sir William Whitmore, 2nd Bt., 1653-99. SEATED AT CURRENT HOUSE: William Whitmore, until 1725; Sir Thomas Whitmore, KB, 1725-73; Thomas Whitmore, 1773-95; Thomas Whitmore, 1795-1846; Thomas Charlton Whitmore, 1846-65; Captain Thomas Charles Douglas Whitmore, 1865-67. William Orme Foster, 1867-99; William Henry Foster, 1899-1924; Colonel Arthur William Foster, 1924-60. Major General Edward Henry Goulburn, 1960-80; Brigadier Cuthbert Goulburn, 1980-90. James Hamilton, 4th Baron Hamilton of Dalzell, 1990-97. Neil Avery, 1997-2004.

    Current Ownership Type: Flat Owners Company / Condo Association

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Flats / Multi Family

  • House Open to Public: No

    Phone: 01952-582-770

    Email: [email protected]

    Website: https://apleyestate.co.uk/

    Historic Houses Member: No

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