Welcome from Lord Faringdon

 

My father died when I was sixteen, and my mother lived abroad, so rather to his surprise, my bachelor uncle, Gavin Faringdon, suddenly found himself landed with a philistine nephew, as I was passed around the family - particularly to him but also to his sister (both of whom I loved) - for part of my holidays from Eton.

 

 

  

 

 

Looking back, I was the personification of everything he most deplored, but not for one moment did he make it obvious to me - quite the reverse; he encouraged me to join in his house parties as an adult, provided I 'never fell asleep on the sofa'.
 

My first visits to Buscot coincided with his most politically provocative period, when the house echoed loudest to the rhetoric of Nye Bevan and, later, to the economic theories of Balogh and Kaldor.  Every weekend the house was crammed with politicians, painters and friends - sometimes in improbable combinations.  I remember vividly when (being chairman of both societies) he had members of the Fabian Society staying and an unexpected busload of botanists from the St. Paulia Society arrived for Sunday lunch - the conversation and the food were both in very short supply!  It was the contrasts that were so memorable - the huge bath towels and delicious greenhouse peaches (both were white and warm), and then Cypriot sherry and, some say, squirrel pie.  It was the same with his collecting; he never minded being unfashionable, but he particularly liked the unusual - it went for his choice of furniture as well as his friends.

 

In the 1940s Gavin had been responsible for the scheme that effectively gave the Buscot Park estate to the National Trust, through Ernest Cook, with a leaseback to the family of the house and grounds.  In the 1950s and 1960s, the idea of keeping the contents together, and of improving and maintaining the collection, took hold, and an autonomous trust was set up, to which the entailed family heirlooms were later added.  Subsequent endowments have made it possible for the present trustees of the Faringdon Collection to continue to add to the collection, building on the core established by my great-grandfather, but, at the same time, being free to put the collection on public display wherever they choose.  A legacy to the Collection in the 1990s allowed the trustees to restore my uncle's London home, in Brompton Square, and to open it to the public (by appointment with the Buscot Park estate office - see contact details below).

 

Since 1977, when my wife and I came to live at Buscot Park after my uncle's death, we have accumulated a small collection of contemporary paintings and silverware, with the help, advice and encouragement of the late Brinsley Ford and Bobby Gore, both former trustees.  Richard Carew Pole, Francis Russell, Martin Drury and my eldest son, James, are the present trustees, along with myself and my wife.  Most of our efforts have been directed, however, in trying to reconcile - within the setting of the house and gardens - the legitimate claims of the public, the National Trust, the family and the Collection.  The enjoyment of the place depends on achieving harmony and balance between all four parties, and this has now been achieved, with the co-operation of the National Trust, by the building of a new summerhouse in the grounds, to which the family can repair when the house and grounds are open to visitors in the spring and summer.

 

Any reservations you may have - about the internal colour schemes, the changes in the walled gardens or the way we open the property - must be laid fairly and squarely at my door and not that of the National Trust, for the Trust plays no part in the day-to-day running of Buscot Park, nor on the vermilion reds or the germolene pinks we may choose.  We hope you enjoy your visit; as a family, we will endeavour to maintain a country-house setting for the Faringdon Collection, within the framework of the National Trust, that will appeal to those who want to be spared the depressing conformity and bloodless feeling of so many houses now open to the public.  Each generation has a duty to breath life into a property, to enliven it and to adapt it to meet changing circumstances, tastes and technology.  With this in mind, we have recently set up a small fund to enable us to undertake new landscape projects to refresh what is already there and to create new features.  Should any of these withstand the test of time, we hope they will give amusement to future generations of my family and those who wish to visit us.

explore house
explore grounds
view map

 
Absowebly - Direct Response Digital Agency - Logo