What to See in England
By Gordon Home
Public Domain Books
=How to get there.=–Train from Paddington. Great Western Railway. =Nearest Station.=–Blenheim. =Distance from London.=–72-3/4 miles. =Average Time.=–2-1/4 hours.
1st 2nd 3rd =Fares.=–Single 12s. 0d. 7s. 6d. 6s. 0-1/2d. Return 21s. 2d. 13s. 4d. ...
=Accommodation Obtainable.=–"Bear Inn,” Woodstock, “King’s Arms Hotel,” “Marlborough Hotel,” “Star Hotel,” etc.
Blenheim Palace, the magnificent seat of the Duke of Marlborough, was, like Strathfieldsaye, erected at the public expense. On the 2nd of August 1704, the great Duke of Marlborough gained a decisive victory over the combined forces of the French and Bavarians near the village of Blenheim, on the banks of the Danube. The French and Bavarians left 10,000 killed and wounded on the field, huge numbers were drowned in the river, and about 13,000 taken prisoners. The victory was complete, and immediately afterwards Queen Anne presented the victorious general with a “grant of the honour of Woodstock,” this being followed by a vote of £500,000 for the erection of the palace and the laying out of the grounds. The building was erected from the designs of Sir John Vanbrugh, the great architect and dramatist. It is of enormous size, the frontage being 350 feet from wing to wing, and the entire structure covers about 7 acres. The gateway to the park on the Woodstock side is a fine Corinthian triumphal arch, giving access to a magnificent avenue more than 2 miles in length.
Among the principal apartments of the palace are the lofty entrance hall, with a fine painted ceiling by Thornhill; the bay-window room with its famous tapestry; the dining-room, containing many family portraits by Sir Joshua Reynolds; the marble saloon, the ceilings and walls of which are painted by La Guerre; and the library, a magnificent room nearly 200 feet long, containing about 20,000 volumes. In addition to these, there are the chapel and theatre, as well as the state and other drawing-rooms. The Titian room was totally destroyed by fire, with a large portion of the north-east section of the palace, in February 1861.
The ancient road, called Akeman Street, runs across the park, and Roman remains have been discovered near it.
The palace is open every day (except Saturdays and Sundays) from 11 to 1, and the gardens from 11 to 2. Either can be seen separately by tickets, 1s. each, obtainable at the porter’s lodge.
[Illustration: Taunt, Oxford. BLENHEIM PALACE.
Built for the Duke of Marlborough at the public expense, after his famous victory over the French and Bavarians.]