Boughton House - History and Facts | History Hit

Boughton House

Kettering, England, United Kingdom

Boughton House is a French-influenced 17th-century English country house which is now periodically open to visitors.

Lily Johnson

24 Mar 2021
Image Credit: Euan Myles / CC

About Boughton House

Boughton House is a remarkable French-influenced 17th-century English country mansion in Northamptonshire, whose stunning state rooms and picturesque gardens are now periodically open for visitors to explore.

Boughton House history

Though a monastic building existed on the site of Boughton House in the Middle Ages, most of what can be seen today was constructed in the late 17th century by Ralph, 1st Duke of Montagu. Previously serving as English ambassador to France, the influence of his time in the country can be seen in the house’s architecture, reminiscent of the styles of great French palaces such as Versailles. As such, Boughton House has often been dubbed ‘The English Versailles’.

The 2nd Duke of Montagu changed little when he inherited Boughton, except to the landscape and gardens in which he added avenues of elms, sculptural earth forms, and many water features. His role in the gardens earned him the nickname ‘John the Planter’.

After the 2nd Duke’s death, the Dukedom of Montagu became extinct for nearly 2 centuries, as Boughton House passed through the family’s female lines. As each of these woman were married into family’s whose main residences were elsewhere, Boughton largely sat dormant, before in the 20th century once more becoming the home of a Montagu descendant – the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry.

Boughton House today

Though still a private charity-run estate and family home, Boughton is open to visitors in Spring and Summer, and boasts impressive baroque state rooms – considered to be some of the best-preserved in Britain! A grand collection of art, antiques and furniture also feature at Boughton, including paintings by Gainsborough, Van Dyck, El Greco and John Wootton.

Visitors can also enjoy the formal gardens and parkland of the estate, featuring a Sensory Garden, Rose Garden, and ancient Lily Pond, alongside a picturesque series of waterways, lakes and reflecting pools. Both peaceful and awe-inspiring, Boughton House provides an eclectic visit to one of Britain’s most magnificent 17th-century manor houses, in a fascinating blend of British and French design.

Getting to Boughton House

Boughton House is located 3 miles north of Kettering in Northamptonshire off the A43, with parking available at the site. Buses and trains both run into Kettering, from which a taxi can be taken the remaining 3 miles to the site.

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