Stratfield Saye House has been the extravagant home of the Dukes of Wellington since 1817. The old mansion was honorably given to the famous leader Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, after his victory at the Battle of Waterloo two years earlier.
MIND YOUR MANORS
The first Manor of Stratfield was created by the joining of two smaller manors on the same allotment in the 12th century. Over the next six centuries, this larger manor underwent numerous extensions and alterations until it had reached approximately twice its original size in the 18th century.
In 1817, the home’s previous occupants decided to sell the house to the government on the condition that it be given to the 1st Duke of Wellington on behalf of the entire nation. A budget of 600,000 pounds was given for the construction of an even grander Waterloo Palace on the 5,000-acre Stratfield Saye area. The original plan to demolish the existing manor was scrapped in favour of simply enlarging (yet again) the existing house to fit the needs of the Duke and his family.
FLUSHED WITH PRIDE
It’s worth noting that the Duke had elaborate and elegant water closets (toilets) installed in the mansion which were not only grand for the time, but were probably the first in britain to be soundproofed. The English still refer to going to the ‘Loo’ instead of saying toilet and there is a theory that this usage originated at Stratfield Saye House as an ‘in joke’ – the Waterloo that flushed away Napoleon. A brand of toilet cistern was later named ‘Waterloo’ and widely sold across britain during the early 20th century
THE WELLINGTON EXHIBITION
The grounds’ stables have been renovated to house an exhibition that showcases the life of the 1st Duke of Wellington, featuring a substantial collection of military relics from the Battle of Waterloo as well as many paintings of Duke Wellesley himself. Among the most impressive of the monuments is the Duke’s funeral carriage, made from the recast bronze of French cannons captured during the Duke’s last battle. At the main entrance to the house stands the Wellington Memorial monument, atop which there is a bronze statue of the first Duke of Wellington.
Along with most past dukes being buried in the grounds of the house there also lays the body of Arthur Wellesley’s war horse, Copenhagen, that he rode during the Battle of Waterloo. During the filming of Steven Spielberg’s 2010 hit film War Horse, all of the cavalry scenes were shot on the grounds at Stratfield Saye in honour of the brave Duke and his battle charger – Copenhagen.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Bridge Road, Chertsey
Surrey, England, KT16 8JX
+44 (0)1932 562 405
- Address: Basingstoke Road, Reading, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom, RG7 2BT
- GPS: 51.34890833,-0.995936111
- Phone: 0044 (0)1256 880 400
- Part of UK: England
- Sat Nav Postcode: RG7 2BT
- Entrance Fees: Yes
- Disabled Access: Good
- Visibility from Road: Good - but from a distance
- Image Credits: Header Image: BasPhoto