Kingston Bagpuize Estate
In 1542, John Latton bought the 3 estates of Kingston Bagpuize. Thomas Latton, born in 1622 inherited the estate at the age of 9. At that time the family lived in an old moated house near the site of the present Kingston House. Thomas Latton built the present Kingston House between 1660-70. His son sold it to Edmund Fettiplace in 1670. The house was probably remodelled from the ground floor up in the 1720s. Edmund Fettiplace's daughter Elizabeth married John Blandy. The Blandy family owned Kingston House from 1728-1917 when the sixth John Blandy (John Blandy-Jenkins) sold it two years after coming of age in 1917.
Until 1865 the house was approached down an avenue from the east side with entrance gates and a screen where the ha-ha now is. In 1865 the gates were moved to their present position, near the church, and the imposing trees, Wellingtonias, were planted near where the gates had been.
Edward Anthony Strauss, MP for North Berks, bought the entire estate in 1917. He was forced to sell the house and its contents together with the estate, which included most houses in Kingston Bagpuize, when his firm of Strauss & Co Ltd, the grain and seed merchants went bankrupt.
He came to Berkshire in 1897 and lived in New House, the Dower House of the estate, before moving to Kingston House in 1900. In 1906 he became MP for Southwark. His nephew Edward Albert Lessing (born 1890) became MP for North Berkshire in 1923.
After the Second World War, Marlie Raphael cleared the Nissen huts and made a woodland garden, a variety of flower beds and stocked the grounds with rare and interesting plants from all over the world. The present owners, Virginia and Francis Grant are working to restore the gardens.
Behind the house the stable courtyard contains a granary, stables, cowsheds, dairy and malthouse where beer was brewed for estate workers until the 1920s. The stable clock was made by Lord Grimthorpe, who made the clock in Big Ben tower. The buildings have been renovated and used for residential and light commercial use.
The old kitchen garden is now leased and is being planted as exhibition and nursery beds of herbs. A small part of the Victorian glasshouses remain.
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