This Northern front of Stowe House is imposing on a grand scale, with many additions and changes since work was first started on it. There is no direct approach to the house on this side, instead visitors approach at right angles, allowing a different view of the architecture. The last features to be added were the colonnades curving out on each side in the early 1770s and the Coade stone lions in 1778 by Earl Temple just before the Earl died and the house passed into the hands of Baron Cobham, the 1st Marquess of Buckingham.
The house stayed in the hands of the family until 1889. The 3rd Duke of Buckingham and Chandos died with no male heir and the title fell out of use. For 5 years after the pretender to the French throne, Comte de Paris leased the house, and there were so many French people travelling through the town in the early 1900s that for a time signs at Buckingham Train Station were duplicated in French.
After the Comte, Lady Kinloss, eldest daughter of the 3rd Duke moved in, but with mounting debts and her eldest son dying in the Great War the estate was sold in 1921, becoming internationally known Stowe School shortly after.
Amongst many notable students was Christopher Robin Milne, son of AA Milne and star of Winnie the Pooh. Becoming a school wasn’t the end of the House’s trouble.
“In 1941, Stowe House was almost flattened: a lone enemy aircraft returning home unloaded it’s remaining bombs on what must have seemed an important target. The bombs landed in a row, starting just 200 yards from the south portico. There was great damage done to the building.”Alan Percy Walker’s Buckingham Sketchbook
Now repaired, the house and many of it’s temples have also been used as filming locations since the 1970s: including Indiana Jones, James Bond and Thor. One early film featuring the north front of the house and starring Fiona Richmond was apparently not as respectable!
Stowe House is open through the Stowe House Preservation Trust throughout the year either by tour or you can explore at your own pace. For more details visit the Stowe House website.
Image of Stowe House, copyright John Millar. Not for reproduction.