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Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace

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Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace was built at Woodstock by a grateful Queen Anne as a thank-you present to John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough, for decisively winning the Battle of Blenheim in 1704. Marlborough had led English troops, along with other allies, against the combined French and Bavarian armies and had won, knocking Bavaria out of the war and limiting French advances. Not since Agincourt had England secured such a major victory.

The palace was to be an impressive monument for an English hero, but also needed to provide a comfortable home. These requirements were difficult to reconcile in the grand baroque style popular at this time. It cannot have helped that the architect chosen was popular playwright Sir John Vanburgh, a grandiose but untrained architect. All the infighting and cashflow crises did not prevent the building of a truly sumptuous palace, however, filled with treasures inside and imposing from the outside. Capability Brown designed the charming landscape in which it sits.

Blenheim has been the family seat of the Marlborough family since 1722, and Winston Churchill, 11th Duke, was born here in 1874.

Photo: Reproduced by kind permission of His Grace the Duke of Malborough

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Blenheim Palace is one of England's greatest houses. Built for the Duke of Malborough by the renowned architect Sir John Vanbrugh, Blenheim boasts parklands landscaped by Capability Brown; it was the birth place of Winston Churchill; and was made an official World Heritage site in 1987.

Ian Hamer


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My favourite Icon of England has to be the Cornish Pasty.

Ian Baldry

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