Wilton House, Wilton, Wiltshire, England
Wilton House is an English country house situated at Wilton near Salisbury in Wiltshire. It has been the country seat of the Earls of Pembroke for over 400 years.
Wilton House stands on the site of a ninth century nunnery founded by King Alfred. This, in turn, was replaced by a twelfth century Benedictine abbey which, with its surrounding lands, was surrendered at the time of the Dissolution of the monasteries, to King Henry V111, who gave them to William Herbert around 1542. Wilton House has remained in the family since that time and is the home of the Earl of Pembroke.
Around 1632 Isaac De Caus began work on a ambitious project to transform the gardens at Wilton House to include a variety of water features stretching over 300 metres across the river. At the same time plans were drawn up to extend the house to match the dimensions of the garden. However, change in family fortunes forced a scale down of these plans to the present size
Following a fire in 1647 which severely damaged the interior of the south range, John Webb completed the rebuilding of the house. The south front and State Rooms remain a testimony to the architect’s skill and the popularity of the Palladian style of architecture in the middle of the seventeenth century. The Single and Double Cube Rooms are recognised as the grandest rooms of this period in England.
The ninth Earl was an architect who, in 1737 built the Palladian Bridge spanning the River Nadder. Between 1801 and 1815 the eleventh Earl had cloisters designed on two levels, at the same time remodelling the north and west sides of the house and creating what is now the main entrance.
Between 1987 and 1992, the 17th Earl commissioned a major restoration project on the inside and outside of the building and to celebrate the completion of this scheme, a new Coat of Arms was carved to replace the much eroded one on the inside of the Clock tower.