Campden House

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Campden House' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Campden House' page

Research into Campden's 'great burnt howse'

In October 2013 CCHS won the 'Best Display' at Gloucestershire Local History Association's Local History Day and the subsequent expanded exhibition in the Town Hall on the 21st and 22nd June 2014 attracted nearly 600 people.

Two years on and we hope to continue our investigations on the site of Sir Baptist Hicks' 'Great House' and publish a book.  If you would like to make a donation to assist with this project, we would be very grateful - please send to The Treasurer, CCHS, The Old Police Station, High Street, Chipping Campden, GL55 6HB.

The challenge is that the house, although undoubtedly very special, existed for just 33 years from 1612 to 1645, and there is little reliable evidence of what it really looked like and virtually nothing of the house and its spectacular gardens left apart from the beautiful Banqueting Houses.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Campden House' page

Built by wealthy merchant Sir Baptist Hicks and destroyed by fire during the Civil War, Campden House was one of England's great Jacobean houses. Tantalising clues remain in the form of the Banqueting Houses, the distinctive gatehouse and the lumps and bumps that are the vestiges of the once fine gardens, but of the house itself, only a small fragment of ruined wall remains. There is an 18th century engraving of the house, thought to be taken from a 17th century drawing, but its accuracy cannot be wholly relied on.

Our research and the exhibition

CCHS turned detective to recreate how this magnificent house would have looked, its extensive formal gardens, the lavish interiors and its impact on the town of Chipping Campden. By a combination of archival research, local knowledge and practical investigation of the site itself, including a geophysical survey, we resurrected the 'great burnt howse' which has been lost for 400 years.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Campden House' page
Twenty four display boards cover the results of our research including sections on Sir Baptist Hicks, the Civil War and ending with ‘What Happened Next’ to bring the story up to date, but the heart of the display covers the superb house and its magnificent garden.  Amongst the sources used were books, articles and papers, a variety of documents of many ages, photographs of various dates from Victorian to modern including aerial ones and information provided by the Landmark Trust.  Members of CCHS have assisted in clearing part of the garden area and also carried out (with permission) a geophysical survey of the garden and house site. 

How children see the House

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Campden House' page
Local schoolchildren toured the site and were invited to paint, draw, build - imagine - what they think the house and gardens looked like.  Their efforts were on display in the Lower Room at the Town Hall.

We are grateful to The Landmark Trust for their permission to visit the site of the house and gardens.

This page was added on 11/06/2014.