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Blenheim Palace
Site number:
Type of site: Cultural
Date: 1705 -1722
Date of Inscription: 1987
Location: Europe, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, England, Oxfordshire
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Description: Blenheim Palace was built near Oxford between 1705 and 1722; it sits in a romantic park that was shaped by the renowned landscape gardener 'Capability' Brown. In 1704 the English nation presented it to John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough, in acknowledgment of his victory over French and Bavarian troops. It is a faultless example of an 18th-century princely dwelling: it is distinguished by a miscellaneous style and a return to national roots. --WHMNet paraphrase from the description at WHC Site, where additional information is available.
  Blenheim Palace is a large and monumental country house situated in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England. It is the only non-episcopal country house in England to hold the title "palace". The Palace, one of England's largest houses, was built between 1705 and circa 1722. Its construction was originally intended to be a gift to John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough from a grateful nation in return for military triumph against the French and Bavarians. However, it soon became the subject of political infighting, which led to Marlborough's exile, the fall from power of his Duchess, and irreparable damage to the reputation of the architect Sir John Vanbrugh. Designed in the rare, and short-lived, English baroque style, architectural appreciation of the palace is as divided today as it was in the 1720s. It is unique in its combined usage as a family home, mausoleum and national monument. The palace is also notable as the birthplace and ancestral home of Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The plaque above the massive East gate gives a sanitised history of the palace's construction, reading: "Under the auspices of a munificent sovereign this house was built for John Duke of Marlborough and his Duchess Sarah, by Sir J Vanbrugh between the years 1705 and 1722. And the Royal Manor of Woodstock, together with a grant of £240,000 towards the building of Blenheim, was given by Her Majesty Queen Anne and confirmed by act of Parliament." The truth is that the building of the palace was a minefield of political intrigue, with scheming on a Machiavellian scale by Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough. Following the palace's completion, it has been the home of the Churchill family for the last 300 years, and various members of the family have in that period wrought various changes, in the interiors, park and gardens, some for the better, others for the worse. At the end of the 19th century, the palace and the Churchills were saved from ruin by an American marriage. Thus, the exterior of the palace remains in good repair, exactly as completed. Blenheim Palace was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. --Wikipedia. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
Reference: 1. UNESCO World Heritage Center, Site Page.
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