The Fascinating Family of Woburn Abbey

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Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire has a long and fascinating history. The house is a real sight to behold, set in acres of gardens, which includes a deer park! The history of the house and the generations of the Russell family who lived in the house continues to intrigue and inspire visitors from all over the world. Bedfordshire is a beautiful county and many people flock to live here, looking for park homes for sale Bedfordshire based, such as http://www.parkhomelife.com/park_pineview.aspx , so they can be near this beautiful part of the country.

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The first recorded member of the Russell family, dates back to the year 1394. Stephen Russell of Dorset was the member of parliament for the town of Weymouth. It wasn’t until the 16th century however that the Russell family lived in the great house. The great great grandson of Stephen Russell, John, made the family its own fortune and the grand estate was gifted to him by none other than the King himself, Edward VI! John was then made a baron and then the first Earl of Bedford.

The house itself was originally a monastery before King Henry VIII fell out with the Roman Catholic church and established his own, the Church of England. The Abbott of the monastery at the time, Robert Hobbes was executed for treason – he was hanged from a tree in the grounds which is said to still be standing today.

The family were not exempt from execution either – in 1683 Lord William Russell was executed for being involved in the Rye House Plot. He was however, posthumously pardoned, and by way of apology granted the title the Duke of Bedford, to be passed down the family tree.

Speaking of trees, the gardens of Woburn abbey are not only beautiful to look at but played a part in one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs of all time. In the gardens the first ecological experiments were conducted, the results of which assisted Charles Darwin with his famous discovery and his book on this – The Origin of the species.

During the First World War, Duchess Mary became a nurse and opened up the house for use as a military hospital. Mary was also well known as the flying Duchess and broke many records before sadly disappearing whilst flying from London to Norfolk.

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The Abbey was not open to the public until 1950 and remains a popular attraction for tourists, who come to learn more about the family history and to stroll around the beautiful gardens.

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