The grounds of Stancombe Park hide the resting places of an Iron Age fort and two Roman Villas amongst a Grade I listed Park and Garden, ancient woodlands and important conservation sites. Since its inception in the late-Georgian period the house and gardens have inspired those who have come to discover it’s beauty. It provided the setting for Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited.
Waugh who would come to sit in front of the Temple to write, wrote:
"a stream it was named the Bride and rose not two miles away... [it] had been dammed here to form three lakes, one no more than a wet slate among the reeds, but the others more spacious, reflecting the clouds and the mighty beeches at their margin. The woods were all of oak and beech, the oak grey and bare, the beech faintly dusted with green by the breaking buds; they made a simple, carefully designed pattern with the green glades and the wide green spaces. Did the fallow deer graze here still? - and, lest the eye wander aimlessly, a Doric temple stood by the water’s edge of the connecting weirs. All this had been planned and planted a century and a half ago so that, at about this date, it might be seen in its maturity."
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
Stancombe Park was the creation of the collector and antiquarian Purnell Bransby Purnell who, at the beginning of the 19th century, married his deep understanding of the ancient world with burgeoning modern discoveries of engineering. He enlisted the workforce of the returning Napoleonic soldiers to create an estate and water gardens mixing the classical and the Picturesque, harnessing the power of water and parkland to evoke melancholy and joy. Each component of the estate is a well thought out representation of contemporary Georgian thought and architecture. Sitting in its own valley, Stancombe is quiet and unique and its views and landscape are unchanged for over 200 years.