Blenheim (Bloody Huge) Palace

Well, I supoose Queen Anne wasn't paying out of her own pocket when she commissioned what is now called “Britain's Greatest Palace” (not sure what HM today thinks of that moniker when she looks out the small, cramped windows of poor, mean Buck House); but the so-called “grateful nation” was. Or, at least, they did for a few years until Anne and Marlborough's wife fell out. After that, the poor old family had to pay for the rest of the construction themselves. Diddums.

It is hard to find words to describe Blenheim Palace, and, as always, I suppose it depends on your point of view.

To some, it must seem a horrendously expensive monstrosity that no one family should have the right to own. Even if Marlborough did lead the Brits to victory at the Battle of Blenheim, he was, after all, only doing his duty as a soldier. The extravagance of such a gift seems obscene when weighed against the poverty and privation of the average British citizen in the 18th century. To others, no doubt the symbolism of the place is a worthy aspect of Britain's national story. Then, to the architect and student of design, the palace and gardens must be breathtaking and inspirational in their scope, detail and beauty.

In any event, I was gobsmacked as I walked through and around the place today and it has certainly left this humble Australian of egalitarian bent very thoughtful. Best of all, it is just 20 minutes drive through gorgeous Oxfordshire countryside from where we are staying.




Categories: Garry's posts | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Blenheim (Bloody Huge) Palace

  1. Sasja

    Still haven’t been there myself and I’ve lived here now for 17 years, so you are doing well!! Hope you like the rain though ….. it’s awful at the moment!!!!

  2. Brad

    If memory serves Marlborough was a Churchill and was Winston’s Great Great Great etc. I think Winston grew up at Blenheim

  3. Anonymous

    Yes, Winnie was born there and the place has a large Churchill display. Yes, the first Marlborough was John Churchill.. The name got lost along the way and had to be bought back. The 11th Duke who lives there now carries on that line. I was pleased in the tour that they tell you all the gruesome goings on of the various Dukes. They certainly don’t indulge in hagiography – except perhaps in the case of Winston. I was interested to note, and those who watch Downton Abbey will be familiar with this scenario, that the only reason there was enough money available to the 9th Duke to restore the very sad place was by marrying a rich American heiress and entailing her fortune. She was a Vanderbilt and poured millions into the place in the early 20th C. That is mainly how it comes to be in such good nick today. Although they are always looking for new cash flow. Movies are filmed on location there from time to time which gives their income a big boost. (eg., Gulliver)

  4. Leisa

    Does just one guy – the 11th Duke (and his family) live there? Must have a staff of many to keep the place up.

  5. Anonymous

    Yep, the 11th Duke of Marlborough and his wife and family. Incredible to think isn’t it? But that’s Britain for you. He seems a perfectly decent chap – does a lot of charity work, takes seriously the upkeep of the National icon that the place is (unlike some of his prodigal forefathers) and lives quite a simple personal life from what I was told; and yet he has lived his whole life in this huge museum.

  6. Pingback: I Can Fit in a Tree at Blenheim Palace | I Can Fit In There

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