Basing House

Basing Grange
Basingstoke
RG24 8AE

Category

Historic House

Town

Basingstoke
01256-463965
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Museum

The earliest visible features at Basing House today are the huge circular bank and defensive ditches of a castle built in the 1100s by the de Port family, who arrived with William the Conqueror in the Norman invasion of 1066. It was on top of these castle remains that Sir William Paulet, the first Marquess of Winchester and Lord Treasurer of England, chose to build his new house in 1535.

When first built it was the largest private house in the country with around 360 rooms, and in its heyday was frequently visited by the monarchs of the day including Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, and Philip II of Spain and Queen Mary I who honeymooned there in 1554 after their marriage in nearby Winchester.

When the English Civil War broke out in 1642, England was divided between the Royalist, and often Catholic, supporters of King Charles I and those who favoured a more powerful Parliament, mainly Protestants.

At this time Basing House was owned by John Paulet, the fifth Marquess of Winchester. He lived up to his family motto "Aymez Loyaulte" (Love Loyalty) and supported the king.

Basing House was attacked by Parliamentary troops on three occasions. The final assault came in August 1645 when 800 men took up position around the walls. The garrison held out, despite further reinforcements to the attacking force, until Oliver Cromwell himself arrived with heavy artillery. By 13 October 1645 the walls of the house had been breached.

The final storming of the defences was violent, and between forty and a hundred people were killed. Parliamentary troops were given leave to pillage the house and a fire finally destroyed the building.

Parliament ordered the complete demolition of what remained, from which the villagers of Basing were allowed to remove building materials for their own use.



A remarkable survivor. The Great Barn at Basing Grange was built in 1535, shortly before a visit by Henry VIII. It was mainly used for storing hundreds of sheaves of corn and barley harvested from the Paulet's vast estate.

It is one of the largest examples of its kind in England and is the only Tudor building at Basing House to have survived intact to the present day. This is all the more remarkable since it was the at the centre of a famous attack by the Parliamentary army in 1643, an event which gave the barn its local nickname of "The Bloody Barn".

You can now experience what it would have been like to have been trapped in the barn while it was under attack in a hair-raising sound & light show inside the barn.

Our new museum exhibition focuses on:
-the archaeology of Basing House, where people have been digging for 360 years!
-life at Basing in its Tudor and Elizabethan heyday
-the Civil War and the downfall of Basing

No stately home would be without its formal garden, as a place for relaxation and entertainment but also a source of plants used in medicine.

The walled garden reflects the final phase of Basing as a great house in the Jacobean period, 1600-1625. Sadly no contemporary illustration or description survives so a distinguished panel of garden historians have designed this garden following the design principles of the day and based on the Paulet family's heraldic devices and their motto ‘Aymes Loyaulte’ (‘Love Loyalty.’)


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