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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gatcombe Park
Gatcombe Park

Gatcombe Park is the country residence of Anne, Princess Royal between the villages of Minchinhampton and Avening in Gloucestershire, England. Built in the late 18th century to the designs of George Basevi, it is a Grade II* listed building. It is a royal residence as it is home to the Princess Royal, and is privately owned. Parts of the grounds open for events, including horse trials and craft fairs.


Gatcombe Park is between the villages of Minchinhampton and Avening in the county of Gloucestershire in South West England. Highgrove House, the country residence of Anne's brother, Charles, Prince of Wales, is centred six miles away in the parish of Doughton, near Tetbury. The first cousin of their mother, HM The Queen, Prince Michael of Kent, owned nearby Nether Lypiatt Manor for 26 years from 1980.[1]


The manors of Minchinhampton and Avening formed the basis of the later Gatcombe Park estate. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries they were granted to Lord Windsor, whose family sold mostly undeveloped land by that date comprising them to Philip Sheppard in 1656.[2]

The core hillside land of the former estates, which was chiefly within the parish bounds of Gatcombe, was left in the will of Samuel Sheppard, who died in 1770, to his brother Edward.[2]

Accordingly, a new manor house was built from 1771 to 1774 for Edward Sheppard, a local clothier.[3] The house and estate were purchased in 1814 by the successful speculator and theoretical economist David Ricardo, MP, and altered to the designs of George Basevi (a relation), c. 1820.[2] It features Bath stone construction, and comprises five main bedrooms, four secondary bedrooms, four reception rooms, a library, a billiard room and a conservatory; staff accommodation and its steep-sloping grounds are a separately listed (Grade II) parkland.[4]

Residence of Princess Royal

The house and home farm were bought by Queen Elizabeth II in 1976 for Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips; the price was not disclosed but is believed to have been between £500,000 and £750,000.[5][6] The previous owner was Lord Butler of Saffron Walden, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, and a former Home Secretary, who had inherited the house from his father-in-law, the art collector Samuel Courtauld. Courtauld had acquired it from the Ricardo family[2] in 1940.[7]

The Crown paid for the renovation and redecoration of the house for Princess Anne and Captain Phillips, who moved into it in November 1977.[8] In 1978 the owners' land was increased by the purchase of Aston Farm to the east.[9] While Princess Anne's first marriage subsisted, the property thus covered approximately 730 acres (3.0 km2), of which the bulk of its 200 acres (0.81 km2) of woodland was part of the park land, including a lake containing brown trout. These properties had extensive stabling for horses, including a new stable block, and the underlying land of an airstrip is within the ownership of Aston Farm.[2]

The estate was divided when the Princess Royal and Mark Phillips were divorced, and today the princess lives at Gatcombe Park with her second husband, Sir Timothy Laurence. After the divorce, for some years Mark Phillips lived at Aston Farm with his second wife; but he later moved to America. Their children Peter and Zara Phillips each had a cottage on the estate until they married. As of 2013, Peter and his wife, Autumn, were living in London. Zara and her husband, Mike Tindall, at first lived in Cheltenham after they were married in 2011, but in January 2013 they sold their house and came to live on the Gatcombe estate.[10][11]

The grounds of Gatcombe Park are known in the eventing world for hosting the Festival of British Eventing every year, over the first weekend in August.[12] Organised by Mark Phillips, with considerable input from Princess Anne, the event attracts the world's top equestrian Olympians and over 40,000 paying spectators, as well as BBC Television coverage. Two smaller horse trials, in the spring and autumn, also take place on the estate,[13] with courses designed by Princess Anne, and there is a biannual craft fair, with around 160 exhibitors, in May and October.[14]


  1. ^ "News In Brief: New home for Prince Michael", The Guardian, London, 8 Jan 1981.
  2. ^ a b c d e Gatcombe Park (House), Grade II* listing Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1091099)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  3. ^ Cooke, Robert (1957). West Country Houses. Batsford. pp. 133–134.
  4. ^ Gatcombe Park (Park and Garden) Grade II Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1000765)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  5. ^ Glasgow Herald, 24 June 1976, p. 1
  6. ^ The Australian Women's Weekly, 21 July 1976, p. 4 Archived 2020-10-07 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ RM Hartwell, ed., Introduction, Ricardo Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (Penguin Classics 1971), p. 37
  8. ^ Brookes, James (31 August 2014). "Classic car showing on Princess Anne's Gatcombe estate". Royal Central. Archived from the original on 7 October 2020. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  9. ^ Map and grade II listing of farmhouse that shows intervening Minchinhampton Golf Course and Field Farm Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1172284)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  10. ^ "Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall sell home for move to Princess Royal's estate," Archived 2018-05-08 at the Wayback Machine, 9 January 2013, accessed 11 January 2013.
  11. ^ "A Life in the Day: Zara Phillips, the Queen’s eldest granddaughter" Archived 2015-07-21 at the Wayback Machine Sunday Times, 18 April 2015, accessed 11 June 2015.
  12. ^ "Magic Millions Festival of British Eventing". Festival of British Eventing. Archived from the original on 22 October 2019. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  13. ^ Hughes, Janet (8 April 2019). "End of an era for Princess Anne, Zara Tindall and the rest of the Gloucestershire equestrian community". Gloucestershire Live. Archived from the original on 9 April 2019. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  14. ^ "World-class Eventing in the Cotswolds at Badminton and Gatcombe Park". Loving the Cotswolds. Archived from the original on 7 October 2020. Retrieved 18 July 2020.

This page was last edited on 17 January 2021, at 13:25
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