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Probably the most notable Hampshire resident was the Duke of Wellington, who lived at Stratfield Saye House in the north of the county from 1817.
Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, was the world famous Anglo-Irish soldier and Tory statesman who was one of the leading military and political figures of 19th century Britain, serving twice as prime minister. He ended the Napoleonic Wars when he defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
Stratfield Saye House is a large stately home at Stratfield Saye in the north east of Hampshire. It has been the home of the Dukes of Wellington since 1817.
The line of the Roman Road the Devils Highway passes East to West just within the Northern boundary of the grounds of Stratfield Saye House.
The Manor of Stratfield Saye was created by the joining of two much older manors. In the 12th century Stratfield was owned by the Stoteville family, and then early in the 13th century this passed by marriage to the Saye family.
Before 1370 the manor passed on again by marriage to the Dabridgecourts, and in 1629 they sold the property to the Pitt family, cousins of the great father and son Prime Ministers of Great Britain.
The main part of the house was extensively enlarged around 1630 by Sir William Pitt, Comptroller of the Household to King James I. Sir Williams eldest son, Edward Pitt, bought the estate for £4,800 in 1629. Further extensive alterations were carried out to the house and park in the 18th century by George Pitt, 1st Baron Rivers.
The beautiful Hampshire estate was purchased by the state in 1817, in order that it could be given by a grateful nation to the victorious Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. The government gave £600,000 for the construction of a proposed Waterloo Palace to rival Blenheim Palace, home of the Dukes of Marlborough. The Hampshire site Wellington chose was the 5,000 acre estate of Stratfield Saye, home of the Pitt family. He was advised on the purchase by the architect Benjamin Dean Wyatt who had once been his private secretary. He originally planned to demolish the existing house, and replace it with a more prestigious home, to be known as Waterloo Palace. The Duke abandoned these plans in 1821 when they proved to be too expensive, and subsequently made numerous additions and improvements to the existing building. All but the 1st and 6th Dukes are buried at Stratfield Saye House.
The stables on the Hampshire estate are grade II listed buildings. They now contain the Wellington Exhibition, which depicts the life and times of the Great Duke. It houses a large collection of military mementoes. The Dukes cast bronze funeral carriage, was fittingly made from melted down French cannons that had been captured at the Battle of Waterloo, was moved to Stratfield Saye in the 1980s.
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