Knebworth House

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Knebworth House

Knebworth House is a country house in the civil parish of Knebworth in Hertfordshire, England. It is a Grade II* listed building.[1] The gardens of Knebworth are listed Grade II* on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.[2]

History and description[edit]

The home of the Lytton family since 1490, when Thomas Bourchier sold the reversion of the manor to Sir Robert Lytton, Knebworth House was originally a red-brick Late Gothic manor house, built round a central court as an open square. In 1813-16 the house was reduced to its west wing,[3] which was remodelled in a Tudor Gothic style by John Biagio Rebecca for Mrs Bulwer-Lytton,[4] and then was transformed in 1843-45 by Henry Edward Kendall Jr. into the present Tudor Gothic structure.[5] In 1913-1914 it was leased for ₤3,000 per year by Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia and his morganatic wife Natalia Brasova.[6] Its most famous resident was The 1st Baron Lytton (better known as Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton), the Victorian author, dramatist and statesman, who embellished the gardens in a formal Italianate fashion. The 1st Baron's great grandson Neville (1879-1951) married Judith Dorothy Blunt, famous for her passion for arabian horses and for her maternal ancestry - her grandmother Ada Augusta Byron was the daughter of the poet. Much of the interior was redesigned by Sir Edwin Lutyens, who married Lady Emily Bulwer-Lytton (1874-1964) - he simplified the main parterre. Lady Emily was the daughter of The 1st Earl of Lytton, who served as Viceroy of India between 1876 and 1880. A herb garden, with an interlaced quincunx design, was drawn by Gertrude Jekyll in 1907, although not planted until 1982.

The house today[edit]

Lytton Mausoleum

The current[when?] residents are Henry Lytton-Cobbold and his family. The house is open to the public together with its surrounding gardens and park. In the park is the medieval St. Mary's Church and the Lytton family mausoleum.

The grounds include tourist attractions such as an adventure playground, mini railway (closed in 2012) and dinosaur park and host various events including classic car rallies and, since 1974, major open air rock and pop concerts, featuring the likes of Robbie Williams, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Queen, Paul McCartney, Genesis, Mike Oldfield, The Beach Boys, Deep Purple, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Dire Straits, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Iron Maiden and Oasis.[7]


Local radio station BOB FM broadcasts from the old pump house, which provided water for the house.

Numerous films and television series have been shot at Knebworth, including:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Historic England. "KNEBWORTH HOUSE (1102767)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 11 May 2015. 
  2. ^ Historic England, "Knebworth (1000255)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 16 February 2018 
  3. ^ 'Parishes: Knebworth', A History of the County of Hertford: volume 3 (1912), pp. 111-18. Date accessed: 27 August 2007].
  4. ^ Colvin, Howard (1995) A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, 3rd ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, s.v. "John Biagio Rebecca".
  5. ^ Colvin, Howard (1995) A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, 3rd ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, s.v. "Henry Edward Kendall", note.
  6. ^ Donald Crawford, The Last Tsar: Emperor Michael II (Kindle Location 630.) Murray McLellan. Kindle Edition
  7. ^ "Knebworth: The Stately Home of Rock". Knebworth Retrieved 19 February 2011

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°52′22″N 0°12′53″W / 51.8728°N 0.2148°W / 51.8728; -0.2148