This is a splendid example of Elizabethan history. The magnificent Audley End House is built on the site of the 12th century Benedictine Walden Abbey. The Abbey was extensively converted into a mansion, named Audley Inn, during 1538 following the approval of King Henry VIII. Audley Inn was later demolished and an even grander domestic house was built in the early 17th century, which was used to entertain royalty.
In the following 18th century parts of the mansion were deconstructed until it eventually reached its current size; approximately one-third its original scale. The majority of the remaining structure has changed very little since the east wing was taken down in 1753, but the huge banquet hall has been substantially remodelled.
Audley End House also features expansive gardens that contain hundreds of different species of fruits and vegetables that include apples, tomatoes, and pears; and a landscape designed by the famous British architect Lancelot “Capability” Brown.
AND ALL OF THAT FOR JUST A FIVER?
By the mid-17th century the house had massively increased in size, and was now closer to being a royal palace than a mansion. When it was found out that Thomas Howard, the Lord Treasurer to King James I and previous owner of the house, had embezzled from the royal family in order to build the mansion, he was imprisoned in the Tower of London and died later in disgrace after being stripped of his title. Two decades later in 1668 King Charles II bought the disused mansion for £5 and used it for half a century as a second home when attending the nearby horse races.
SPECIAL TRAINING CENTRE 43
Audley End was requisitioned by the British Armed Forces in 1941 to serve as a training centre and housing facility for the Special Operations Unit’s Polish branch, the Cichociemni, and a memorial to the 108 Poles who died serving the British forces during the war stands in the main drive towards the house.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
19 Cabbage Moor (Rd), Great Shelford
Cambridgeshire, England, CB22 5NB
+44 (0)1223 841 185
- Address: 1 Audley End Road, Saffron Walden, Essex CB11 4JB, UK
- GPS: 52.02060908494884,0.22075653076171875
- Part of UK: England
- Sat Nav Postcode: CB11 4JF
- Entrance Fees: Charges Apply
- Disabled Access: Fair
- Visibility from Road: Excellent
- Image Credits: Radek Sturgolewski