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Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 4 months ago


“A perfect specimen of elegant English residence” - Edmund Burke


Location – at the west end of Amersham overlooking the Misbourne valley and lake



ConstructionThe current Shardeloes House replaced an earlier house that may have had its origins as a medieval manor house. The stable block was built in 1724-7 for Montagu Garrard Drake and was probably designed and built by Francis Smith of Warwick. He then commissioned designs for a new house from Giacomo Leoni. Foundations for the new house had only just been started in 1728, when Montagu Drake’s sudden death stopped work. His son William was only five years old when he inherited the estate. After finishing his education with a Grand Tour of Europe he returned and started to plan his new house as early as 1749.


Stiff Leadbetter began to build the new Shardeloes House in 1758 to a plan based on Osterley House with four corner towers. The internal arrangement of rooms around a main entrance hall followed the 18th century fashion for lavish meals in a dining room followed by cards or dancing in adjoining rooms. The following year William Drake asked the young architect Robert Adam to improve the plans. Adam changed both the external appearance of the house, adding a portico and designed plasterwork and ceilings for the best rooms. It is said that the house cost £19, 130 to build.


Adam used a large number of skilled craftsmen to execute his designs for the interior. They included:

  • Joseph Rose – was paid over £1,139 for decorative plasterwork
  • Benjamin and Thomas Carter – stone masons who were paid £96 14s 0d to carve the dining room chimney piece
  • John Read – wood turner £1 12s 0d for the banister for the stairs
  • Thomas Blockley provided the door furniture


The later trompe l’oeil paintings in the library are attributed to the architect James Wyatt and were executed by Egidio Rebecca who was paid £50 in 1775.


History of the Drake Family at Shardeloes

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See also futher Shardeloes photographs.


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