The previous house was built in 1686 for the infamous Judge Jeffreys. It was sold to Hans William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland, who made it one of his principal residences and died there in 1709. In the 1740s, the architect and builder Stiff Leadbetter altered the house significantly for the 2nd Duke of Portland. Between 1806-1809, there were further re-modellings and additions, including the castellated West Wing, to the designs of James Wyatt for the 3rd Duke.
Bulstrode was used by Margaret Bentinck, the wife of the 2nd Duke to house her natural history and antiquities collection, with the south-west side of the park used for live specimens (called Menagerie Wood today). Their son, the 3rd Duke was a collector of marble and glass, and was influential in loaning the Roman Portland Vase to Josiah Wedgwood.
When the 4th Duke of Portland inherited the title in 1809, he disposed of Bulstrode. The title then passed into the hands of the Dukes of Somerset, who descended from Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, the brother of Jane Seymour.
Bulstrode, Oxford Road, Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, SL9 8SZ, England.
The 12th Duke of Somerset, Edward Adolphus Seymour commissioned the present mansion, completed in 1865. After his death, it passed to his daughter, Lady Helen Guendolen Ramsden and then to her son, Sir John Frecheville Ramsden, until he lost his fortune.
After the War, Sir John used part of the property for chemical research into sisal by-products, but the property fell into disrepair.
After his death in 1958, the park was sold to a farmer, and the mansion and woodland were bought by the Bruderhof society of brothers, who supported themselves with light industry.
In 1966, the community moved to the USA, and the property was bought by WEC International, a Christian evangelical mission agency, who are currently restoring the property to its former glory.
The history of the house and a guide to the gardens are available in an Authentic publications called 'Bulstrode Guide' available from the house. It is open to the public every May Bank Holiday weekend, but visits to the grounds can be organized by prior arrangement with WEC International.
- Bulstrode Park entry from The DiCamillo Companion to British & Irish Country Houses
- Further details (WEC International)
- Map sources for Bulstrode Park