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Rycote Park

Rycote Park was created, by royal licence, from the manors of Rycote Magna and Rycote Parva in December 1539. Learn more about its owners from the Tudor period to the present day.

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John, Baron Williams of Thame (1500-1559)

Henry, 1st Baron Norris of Rycote (c.1525-1601)

Francis Norris, Earl of Berkshire (1579-1622)

  • Inherited Rycote upon the death of his grandfather Henry, 1st Baron Norris of Rycote, whom he succeeded as 2nd Baron Norris of Rycote in June 1601.
  • Son of William Norris (d. 1579), eldest son of Henry, 1st Baron Norris of Rycote, and his wife Elizabeth (d. 1611), daughter of Sir Richard Morrison.
  • Married c.April 1599 Lady Bridget de Vere, daughter of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. The had one daughter Elizabeth (d. 1645).
  • Appointed to the delegation to receive Queen Anne into England following the accession of her husband James I (VI of Scotland) to the English throne (Calendar of Hatfield Mss., pt 15, p. 90).
  • Created a Knight of the Bath by James I, 5 January 1604 (MS. Gough Oxon. 31, fols. 167v-168r).
  • One of the lords appointed to accompany the embassy of Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham, to Spain, February 1605 (McClure, Letters of John Chamberlain, vol. 1, p. 205).
  • Created Viscount Thame and Earl of Berkshire by James I, January 1621 (CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 216).
  • Committed to the Fleet Prison by the House of Lords for striking Lord Scrope in the House whilst the Prince of Wales was in attendance, February 1621 (JHL, vol. 3, pp. 19-20).
  • Died 31 January 1622, having purposefully shot himself with a crossbow (Cokayne, Peerage, vol. 9, p. 648; CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 342).
Elizabeth Wray, suo jure Baroness Norris of Rycote (d. 1645)

  • Inherited Rycote as the sole daughter and legitimate heir of Francis Norris, Earl of Berkshire (1579-1622).
  • Married, in 1622, Edward Wray, son of Sir William Wray and groom of the bedchamber to James I, in secret without the King's permission. Wray was arrested, imprisoned and dismissed from his post (CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 366).
  • The Wrays restored to favour by 1625; Charles I's court at Rycote whilst Parliament was being held in Oxford due to an outbreak of the plague in London, July 1625 (CSP Dom. 1625-6, pp. 77-80).
  • Died in 1645; buried in Westminster Abbey (Dalton, The Wrays, p. 202).
  • Edward Wray died 20 March 1658; buried at Wytham Abbey (MS. Gough Oxon. 31, fol. 258).
Montague Bertie, 2nd Earl of Lindsey (1607/8-1666)

  • Son of Robert Bertie, 1st Earl of Lindsey (1582-1642) and Elizabeth Montagu (d. 1654).
  • Acquired Rycote through marriage to his second wife Bridget Wray, suo jure Baroness Norris of Rycote (d. 1657), the only daughter of Edward Wray and Elizabeth Wray, suo jure Baroness Norris. According to Thomas Delafield, the marriage took place 8 November 1648 at Rycote Chapel (MS. Gough Oxon. 30, fol. 274). Bridget Wray's first husband was Edward Sackville, son of Edward Sackville, 4th Earl of Dorset. He was killed during the English Civil War, near Abingdon, in April 1646 (MS. Gough Oxon. 30, fol. 263).
  • Fought on the Royalist side during the Civil War; his father Robert Bertie, 1st Earl of Lindsey, killed at the battle of Edgehill, 23 October 1642; at Oxford for the Royalist surrender in 1646 (Cokayne, Peerage, vol. 8, p. 19; Smith, 'Montague Bertie', ODNB).
  • Accompanied the body of Charles I to Windsor following the King's execution in January 1649 (MS. Gough Oxon. 31, fol. 192v).
  • Appointed to the Privy Council and served as Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire and Lord Great Chamberlain following the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 (Smith, 'Montague Bertie', ODNB).
  • Died 25 July 1666; buried at the Berties' Lincolnshire seat Grimsthorpe (Cokayne, Peerage, vol. 8, p. 20).
James Bertie, 1st Earl of Abingdon (1653-1699)

Montagu Venables-Bertie, 2nd Earl of Abingdon (1673-1743)

Willoughby Bertie, 3rd Earl of Abingdon (1692-1760)

Willoughby Bertie, 4th Earl of Abingdon (1740-1799)

Montagu Bertie, 5th Earl of Abingdon (1784-1854)

  • Inherited Rycote upon the death of his father, the 4th Earl, in 1799.
  • Married firstly Emily (1776-1838), daughter of Henry Gage, 3rd Viscount Gage, and secondly Frederica Augusta (d. 1884), daughter of Lord Mark Robert Kerr.
  • Demolished and auctioned off the Tudor mansion, in lots, in 1807. Former stables converted to become the current Rycote House. Wytham Abbey becomes the primary residence of the earls of Abingdon.
  • Cup bearer at the coronation of George IV, 1821.
  • Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire.
  • High Steward of Abingdon.
  • Died 16 October 1854; buried Rycote Chapel (Cokayne, Peerage, vol. 1, pp. 48-9).
Montagu Bertie, 6th Earl of Abingdon (1808-1884)

  • Son of the 5th Earl of Abingdon and his first wife Emily.
  • Inherited Rycote from his father in 1854.
  • Married Elizabeth Lavinia (d. 1858), daughter of George Granville Harcourt.
  • MP for Oxfordshire, 1830-1831, 1832-52.
  • MP for Abingdon, 1852-1854.
  • Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, 1855-1881.
  • High Steward of Oxford and Abingdon.
  • Died 8 February 1884 (Cokayne, Peerage, vol. 1, p. 49).
Montagu Arthur Bertie, 7th Earl of Abingdon (1836-1928)

  • Inherited Rycote upon the death of his father, the 6th Earl, in 1884.
  • Married firstly Caroline (d. 1873) daughter of Charles Towneley and secondly Gwendoline, daughter of Sir James Charlemagne Dormer, with whom he had two sons and two daughters (Who Was Who).
  • Lieutenant-Colonel of the Royal Berkshire Militia, 1863-1880 (Cokayne, Peerage, vol. 1, p. 49).
  • Died 10 March 1928 (Who Was Who)
  • Last descendant of the Norris and Bertie families to own Rycote.
Alfred St. George Hamersley (1848-1929)

Cecil Michaelis (1913-1997)

  • Purchased the estate in 1935 (Musson, 'A Palace Reborn', p. 135). Born 19 August 1913, in Cabourg, France, the son of Sir Maximilian Michaelis (d. 1932).
  • Artist educated at the Ruskin School, Oxford, and in Paris.
  • Founded Rycotewood College in 1937.
  • He married firstly, in 1935, Marie-Alix Dard, by whom he had two sons and a daughter; secondly in 1947 Lil Lobuf (d. 1987), and thirdly in 1988 Amata Mettenheimer.
  • Died 3 May 1997 (The Independent, Obituary, 19 May 1997).
Maximilian and Dominic Michaelis

Sons of Cecil Michaelis. They lived in the house, which was divided between them, from the 1960s (Musson, 'A Palace Reborn', p. 136).

Bernard and Sarah Taylor

Taylor Family Crest
Taylor Family Shield
Taylor Family Badge
  • Purchased Rycote Park in 2000.
  • Bernard Taylor is Chairman of Evercore Partners, Ltd., and Vice-Chairman, Evercore Partners Inc.
  • Deputy Steward of the University of Oxford.
  • Member of Council of the University of Oxford, 2003-2011.
  • Graduate and Honorary fellow of St. John's College, Oxford.
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
  • Royal Commissioner and Chairman of the Commission for the Exhibition of 1851.
  • Chairman of Isis Innovation Ltd.
  • Deputy Lieutenant of Oxfordshire.
  • Sarah Taylor is a graduate of Wadham College, Oxford.
  • Trustee of the Oxfordshire Victoria County History.
  • Visitor of the Oxford Botanic Garden and Harcourt Arboretum.
  • Chairman of the League of Friends of Thame Community Hospital.
  • Vice Chairman of the Historic Houses Association Thames and Chiltern Branch.

Rycote Park