THE HISTORY OF EUSTON ESTATE
The title of Duke of Grafton traces its origins back to 1675, when King Charles II bestowed it upon his illegitimate son, Henry FitzRoy, whom he had with his longtime mistress, Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland. The name "Grafton" specifically refers to the Honour of Grafton located in Northamptonshire.
In 1672, Henry FitzRoy entered into matrimony with Isabella Arlington, the daughter of Henry Bennet, known as Lord Arlington. Isabella, as the heiress, brought with her the valuable Euston Estate, as well as a substantial London estate now recognized as Fitzrovia. Since that momentous union, Euston Estate has served as the ancestral seat of the Dukes of Grafton.
The current holder of the title is His Grace, Henry FitzRoy, who inherited the dukedom from his grandfather in 2011 becoming the 12th Duke of Grafton. His son Alfred FitzRoy was born in December 2012 and holds the title of Earl of Euston.
With its roots dating back to the Domesday Book in 1087, Euston village holds a cherished place in history. In 1666, the notable manor house of the 15th century found a new owner in Henry Bennet, Earl of Arlington, who served as Secretary of State to the newly-restored King Charles II.
Under Arlington's stewardship, the manor house underwent a remarkable transformation, emerging as a magnificent grand residence showcasing the elegance of French architectural style. Today, as you enter the Hall, you are greeted by a picturesque courtyard that once housed Lord Arlington's stable block, now serving as the main entrance, along with a service wing connecting it to the Hall itself.
Further renovations took place in 1750 when the Hall underwent a remodeling project led by the 2nd Duke. Collaborating with the esteemed architect Matthew Brettingham, renowned for his work on prestigious structures such as Holkham Hall in Norfolk, the Hall was refined to embody even greater grandeur.
Tragedy struck in 1902 when a devastating fire engulfed the South and West wings of the Hall. Thankfully, the invaluable art collection and many treasured possessions belonging to the FitzRoy family were salvaged. Since 2012, the 12th Duke of Grafton has undertaken an extensive restoration effort, breathing new life into the Hall and its surrounding grounds, ensuring its legacy endures for generations to come.
THE PLEASURE GROUNDS
Unveiling the crowning glory of the Euston Estate, we invite you to immerse yourself in the captivating Pleasure Grounds. These enchanting grounds, renowned for their allure, were meticulously crafted by John Evelyn, the esteemed landscape designer and courtier of King Charles II.
Evelyn's connection with Euston began in 1671 when he visited as part of the King's entourage. Impressed by the beauty of the newly constructed Hall, Henry Bennet, Earl of Arlington, entrusted Evelyn with the task of designing the surrounding landscape.
Evelyn's visionary designs at Euston encompassed a majestic promenade that winds through the Pleasure Grounds, captivating visitors with its graceful allure. Another highlight is the Basin, an exquisite lake nestled on the southern side of the Hall. These features serve as the foundation of the landscape that continues to delight visitors to this day. Over the course of the eighteenth century, renowned landscape architects such as Capability Brown and William Kent expanded upon Evelyn's initial designs, further enhancing the beauty and splendor of the grounds.
As you explore the Pleasure Grounds at Euston Estate, you'll discover a harmonious blend of natural beauty and man-made artistry. Immerse yourself in the serene atmosphere, strolling along the grand promenade, and marveling at the picturesque Basin. Witness how the landscape has evolved over the centuries, each addition weaving seamlessly into the tapestry of nature.
Step into a world where nature and design intertwine, where the artistic visions of renowned landscape architects have shaped the very essence of Euston Estate's Pleasure Grounds. Experience the timeless charm and tranquility that have captivated visitors for generations, a testament to the enduring beauty of this remarkable landscape.
Lancelot 'Capability' Brown, widely regarded as one of England's premier landscapers, meticulously designed the expansive waterways of Euston. Between 1767 and the 1780s, Brown dedicated his expertise to shaping the landscape of Euston Hall, fashioning a network of weirs and waterways that traversed Evelyn's Pleasure Grounds.
In 2013, a restoration initiative was undertaken to revive these water features to their initial splendor, adhering closely to Brown's original plans for the waterways. Within Euston Hall, two of Brown's original landscaping blueprints for the estate are prominently exhibited, showcasing the enduring legacy of his masterful work.
In the 1670s, Sir Samuel Morland undertook the construction of a remarkable watermill on behalf of Lord Arlington. This architectural marvel was designed not only to serve as a corn-grinding facility but also to supply water to the fountains and the Hall itself. Its operation relied on water from a man-made lake, which was channeled through a canal.
In 1731, the watermill underwent a transformation under the creative vision of William Kent. Drawing inspiration from the elegance of a church, Kent redesigned the structure, infusing it with a captivating architectural style that added to its allure.
A notable addition came in 1859 when an iron waterwheel was installed within a bricked-up section adjacent to the main entrance. This enhancement was the result of collaboration with Charles Burrell, a renowned engineering firm based in Thetford. Their expertise ensured the efficient operation of the watermill.
During the years 2000 and 2001, the 11th Duke of Grafton, in collaboration with English Heritage, embarked on a comprehensive restoration project to revive the watermill to its former glory. Through meticulous efforts and dedication, the building was meticulously restored, preserving its historical significance and ensuring its future as a treasured heritage site.
Today, visitors have the opportunity to witness this remarkable watermill, a testament to human ingenuity and engineering prowess. Marvel at the harmonious blend of functionality and architectural splendor, and gain insight into the vital role it played in the functioning of the estate. Experience firsthand the legacy of craftsmanship and preservation that has allowed this historical gem to endure the test of time.
THE PARK , THE TEMPLE &
The Park at Euston Estate, designed by the famed landscape architect and polymath William Kent in the mid-18th Century, is one of the few remaining Kentian landscapes in the UK.
One of Kent's last works, the Temple, was constructed in 1746 as an attractive octagonal folly, originally intended for banquets. The 3rd and 4th Dukes, owners of the prosperous Grafton stud, enjoyed watching their racehorses being trained in the Park from this spot.
The picturesque St. Genevieve church, built in the 17th Century in the style of Christopher Wren, replaced a medieval church on the same site. The 1st Duchess of Grafton laid the foundation stone in 1676, which can still be seen to the right of the tower. It serves as the final resting place of the Dukes of Grafton and is still used for regular services.
JOIN US AT EUSTON ESTATE
Whether it be a guided tour of the Hall or one of our spectacular events held throughout the year, there's something for everyone. What's more, The Temple invites you to stay on the grounds, just a stone's throw from the Hall itself, a truly tanquil Suffolk escape.