Shaw House, Berkshire
The manor house of Shaw, Shaw House was built by the wealthy cloth merchant, Thomas Dolman, and completed in 1581. It is famous for its reputation as King Charles I's headquarters during the Second Battle of Newbury. However recent research has proved that, despite being at the centre of the fighting, the King never went to the house. Other Royals have visited, most notably Elizabeth I. In the 1720s, it was acquired by the flamboyant James Brydges, 1st Duke of Chandos. Although it was not the principal residence of the Duke, the family evidently spent some time in the area and the second Duke bought a wife at a sale in Newbury.
After the first Duke's death in 1744 the dowager duchess lived at Shaw House till her death in 1750. Her step-son sold the property soon afterwards to the Andrews family. It was the childhood home of the historian, James Pettit Andrews. For many years it was a school.
Following a major restoration Shaw House opened to the public in 2008. It is also a conference venue and home to West Berkshire's Registration Service for Births, Deaths and Ceremonies. Work began in 2005 after the mansion was awarded more than £4m from the Heritage Lottery Fund. English Heritage and Vodafone also contributed to the £6m project.
Visitors can now enjoy a programme of events and activities whilst wandering the house and spending time in the exhibitions and family corner. The House is open most weekends and some school holidays.