The house from "Morris's Views of Seats," circa 1875.
The house from an early 20th century postcard
National Trust tin of the Charlecote gatehouse
Earlier Houses: There was at least one earlier house on, or near, the site of the current house. In 1189 Sir Walter de Cherlecote inherited the Charlecote Estate from his father, Thurstane de Cherlecote. Sir Walter's grandson, Sir William de Lucy, inherited Charlecote in 1247. Sir William was the first Lucy of Charlecote and the direct ancestor of Edmund Lucy, a soldier in Henry VII's army at the Battle of East Stoke in 1487, when the Yorkists were completely defeated.
Built / Designed For: Sir Thomas Lucy
House & Family History: Thomas Lucy was knighted here in 1565 by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, deputizing for Queen Elizabeth I. The queen spent two nights at Charlecote in 1572, sleeping in the Great Bedchamber, today the drawing room. In the 19th century George Hammond Lucy and his wife, Mary Elizabeth, renovated every room in the house in an attempt to restore the Elizabethan feeling and character of Charlecote. They also expanded the house to the south and west with large additions. The library ceiling is based on the drawing room ceiling of Hatfield House. Legend has it that William Shakespeare, before his great success, was caught in the park at Charlecote poaching deer and rabbits.
Collections: An exceptional circa 1600 Roman pietra dura table (oak superstructure with a Carrara marble top), supposedly removed from the Borghese Palace in Rome during Napoloeon's Italian campaign in 1796, is today in the collection of Charlecote. The table was purchased in Paris by William Beckford, who installed it in Fonthill Abbey, his Gothic Wiltshire palace. At the sale of Fonthill’s contents in 1823 the table was purchased by George Hammond Lucy, who acquired many objects at the auction. The table, with a carved oak base, is an explosion of exotic and semi-precious stones, including Breccia di Tivoli, Bianco e nero antico, Rosso antico, lapis lazuli, Brocatello, Giallo di Sienna, Alabaster Tartaruga, Sicilian jasper, Giallo antico, Giallo e nero di Carrara, Verde antico, Semesentom, onyx, and black Belgian marble.
Garden & Outbuildings: Capability Brown landscaped the grounds, circa 1760, at a cost of £525, for George Lucy. The 180-acre Deer Park has a rare breed of sheep, Jacob Sheep, whose ancestors were brought here by George Lucy over 200 years ago. The gatehouse is a completely unaltered Elizabethan relic. The Wash House and Brewhouse are also extant. The Coach House contains a fine collection of coaches used by the Lucy family in the 19th century. The orangery of 1857 is today the National Trust tea room.
Chapel & Church: The church was designed and built 1851-53 by John Gibson.
Architect: John GibsonDate: 1851-59
Architect: Lancelot BrownDate: Circa 1760
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. I, p. 253, 1852.
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: Vol. IV, 1821.
Country Life: I, 46, 78, 1897. XXXV, 126, 1914. CXI, 1080, 1164, 1328, 1952.
House Listed: Grade I
Park Listed: Grade II*
Current Seat / Home of: Lucy family; here since 1247.
Past Seat / Home of: SEATED AT EARLIER HOUSES: Thurstane de Cherlecote, 12th century; Sir Walter de Cherlecote, late 12th century. Sir William de Lucy, 13th century; Edmund Lucy, 15th century. SEATED AT CURRENT HOUSE: Sir Thomas Lucy, 1558-1600; George Lucy, 18th century; George Hammond Lucy, until 1845; Sir Montgomerie Fairfax-Lucy, until 1946.
Current Ownership Type: The National Trust
Primary Current Ownership Use: Visitor Attraction
Ownership Details: The Lucy family leases part of the House from the National Trust.