The House

In 1725 James Medlycott, or his executors, rented "Medlycotts" to a Mrs Morton, whose son John was to be the creator of Danesfield.  He purchased the freehold of the estate in 1750, had the house completely rebuilt and named it Danesfield.  John Morton was a barrister and was appointed Attorney-General to Queen Charlotte.  He was a contemporary in parliament of William Pitt, as MP for Abingdon (1747-70), New Romney (1770-74) and Wigan (1775).  At this time, the Danesfield estate was not as large as it is now.  John Morton later purchased land surrounding the property.

After his death, his widow continued to live at Danesfield for some years, but eventually sold the estate in 1787 because of financial difficulties.

The new owner was Robert Scott of Wimpole Street, London, the heir to a fortune made in the world of commerce.  He rebuilt the house and erected a roomy building of the classical Georgian type, which remained standing for more than a century.  Robert Scott died in 1808 and was buried at Medmenham.  The property remained with his descendants  - most notably his nephew Charles Robert Scott-Murray, whose conversion to the Catholic faith in 1845 saw the erection of a Roman Catholic Church at Marlow and subsequently, a domestic Chapel at Danesfield.  It was Charles Robert Scott-Murray who diverted the Marlow Road away from the river to its present route and constructed the footbridge over that road which can be seen today.  He died in August 1882 and was buried in the founder's tomb of the church he had built at Marlow.

The estate was passed to his son, but the old home at Danesfield never recovered its former prosperity after the death of its late owner.  A period of agricultural depression set in and the value of the land was on the wane. The house was let to successive tenants, who came principally for shooting and was eventually sold in 1897 to Mr Robert William Hudson. He had inherited his fortune from his father Robert Spear Hudson, the Victorian soap magnate, the manufactures of "Sunlight" soap.  His first determination was to rebuild the property. 

Mr Romaine Walker, FRIBA, was employed to assist in the rebuilding of the property in the style of the Italian Renaissance.  The house was finished with such disregard of expense that it became an architectural show place.  The re-building started in 1899 and was completed in 1901 and this is the Danesfield House that stands today, faced with locally quarried rock-chalk with imposing terraced gardens overlooking the river.  On completion of
the new mansion, the old house was pulled down and the chapel demolished.  Robert Hudson's work was scarcely completed when he decided to sell the whole of his Medmenham possessions.

The property was then owned for a short time by a property speculator, Mr Hossack who passed it on a couple of years later to Mrs Arthur Hornby Lewis, who made many changes to the interior of the building and the layout of the gardens.  Mrs Hornby Lewis died in 1930 and because she was so attached to Danesfield made the request to be buried in the grounds and this wish was observed.  When her trustees found it difficult to dispose of the estate with the deceased owner still resident, permission was sought to transfer the coffin to Hambleden cemetery in 1938.

:: The Site

:: During the Second World War

:: The Gardens