Arundells house and garden are now closed for the
For 2015 on-line bookings please use this link to the official Arundells website http://www.arundells.org
winter season and re-open on the 23rd March 2015
When you first see Arundells,through the bars of its elegant gates, your impression is of a charming, relatively modest, Queen Anne house, echoing its grander Queen Anne neighbour Mompesson House, yet with all the features you expect from the Georgian period – symmetrically disposed sash windows, columned doorways, hipped and dormered roof, and big chimney stacks. But, whereas Mompesson was built in 1701, in the Georgian period, Arundells’ history goes much further back. The first building on the Arundells site was in the 13th century - the same time that the Cathedral was built - and it was used by the Cathedral as a Canonary for it's clergy. It also, probably, housed Henry of Blunston, Archdeacon of Dorset who died in 1316. Nothing tangible is left of these times, of course, but echoes of a long distance past still resonate. How could you not feel that? One thousand years ago people stood on this piece of land and witnessed, stone by stone, the building of a great medieval Cathedral…
Arundells was leased to one John Wyndham from 1718 – 1750 and its present Georgian appearance is largely due to him. In 1752 his daughter, Anne, married James Everard Arundell, son of 6th Lord Arundell and the Arundells name derives from there.
The house fell into disrepair for a while but was renovated in 1964 and updated again in 1985 by Sir Edward when he bought the lease. Inside, on the ground floor, each room contains fascinating artefacts – models of the five Morning Clouds that Sir Edward owned as well as much sailing memorabilia.There is blue and white Chinese china in abundance, and, in the dining room, where
John Piper paintings and prints line the walls, there is a Tang horse!. More paintings, chosen with taste and an eye for quality, line other walls. There are two by Sir Winston Churchill, also Augustus John and Gwen John, John Singer Sargent, John Nash, .… and, surprisingly, a Lowry – though not the usual northern town with anonymous matchstick people but a misty seascape with not a figure in sight, and yet still, unmistakably, a Lowry. In the drawing room a mass of photographs of the great and the good are crowded onto the grand piano. And in the Library there is Sir Edward’s favourite armchair, the teapot chair (‘teapot’ !? - you must come to see it if you want to know).
To date there have been only the rooms on the ground floor to see, and the staircase, with its extraordinary Chinese wallpaper. But, now that the future of Arundells has been secured, more rooms will be renovated and opened up, starting on the first floor with the study with its impressive partners desk which used to belong to Lloyd George and where Sir Edward, as he sat to work, could have a view of the tranquil garden which leads down to the river.
So - now that the future of the house is secure exciting possibilities are opening up that will, hopefully, establish Arundells as so much more than the residence of one of our notable Prime Ministers. The attractions will extend far beyond the charm of the house and will take Sir Edward’s vision of a united Europe onwards into the future.
Much is planned.
The first floor of Arundells has been partially renovated and is now open to the public - Sir Edward's Study and corridor with military prints of the Honourable Artillery Company on one side and on the other side political prints. A photograph of a painting of Sir Edward Heath in his uniform as a Lieutenant Colonel is also on show. When you climb to the top of the stairs you can walk along the corridor to the end and have a view of the Cathedral.
Sir Edward's Study is put back to be seen as it was when he would use it in the evenings, and it is a delight - freshly painted and transformed from dull and dusty to light and airy - with the the same harmonious quality and soft warm shades that make the ground floor so attractive. The numerous pictures and prints are back on the walls, there are two pieces of luminous Orrefors blue glass on the window sill, an interesting piece of Burmese carved jade on a shelf and a bust of Olga, Stalin's granddaughter sits on a Charles II oak chest, just a few of the many interesting artefacts to be seen in this beautiful room.
A number of Friends worked hard and refilled the two walls of bookshelves in a coherent, catalogued arrangement. The complete musical works of Palestrina, bound in leather with Papal arms embossed in gold were presented to Sir Edward on one of his three visits to the Vatican, emerged from a cupboard elsewhere in the house. A red ministerial and black Members Despatch Box remind one of his days of political importance.
The pedestal desk, a George III piece, circa 1780, originally belonging to David Lloyd George, all warm wood and mellowing red leather has a number of items including the brass chronometer and barometer presented by President Nixon. There are family photographs and a letter rack with an Arundells cover given by Toby Low (Lord Aldington).
All the carpets and chairs have been cleaned and the silk prayer mat points out to the beautiful garden view enjoyed so much by Sir Edward.
His bedroom has been made into a medium size conference room to facilitate Corporate meetings, as well as House Management and Friends Committee meetings.
If you would like to join “The Friends of Arundells” to help support the future of the house - please go to the 'How to Join The Friends' page on this website and complete our Contact Form. Thank you for your interest and we look forward to hearing from