Rousham has been the family home of the Dormer family since the mid seventeenth century. In the early eighteenth century the house passed into the hands of Colonel Robert Dormer and on his death in 1737 to his younger brother General James Dormer. After James Dormer assumed ownership of Rousham he turned immediately to William Kent to design elements of the house interior and re-design Charles Bridgeman’s garden. The site was in itself spectacular: a tumbling slope down to a right angle bend in the River Cherwell and far reaching views to the horizon. The Dormers have remained in charge at Rousham and the gardens are almost unaltered since Kent completed his work. Kent created a garden of mystery and surprise in which the whole is so much more than its individual parts. Each twist and turn brings a new ‘incident’ or an old ‘incident’ seen anew from a different standpoint. Rousham is claimed by many as Kent’s finest garden work: “perhaps the apogee of ‘Kentissime’ was Rousham”; and from Kent’s contemporary Horace Walpole, “the most engaging of all Kent’s work’s”. It is a unique unaltered survivor of an 18C garden.
The cost includes the coach fare and tours of the house and gardens; lunch will be at your own expense at a nearby public house.
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