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Drawing of the ruins of the south-west tower of Rycote House

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Drawing of the ruins of the south-west tower of Rycote House

John Chessell Buckler

Upon the orders of Montagu Bertie, 5th Earl of Abingdon, an extraordinary sale was held at Rycote in June 1807. Having inherited severe financial problems from his father, the 4th Earl, he ordered the demolition and sale of the Tudor mansion to raise funds to pay debts. On 1-3 June 1807 the mansion was auctioned and sold off brick by brick. This drawing, produced fifteen years after the sale, shows the ruins of the south-west tower. This was the only part of the house which presumably failed to attract a buyer.

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This was an unexpected end to such an important house. It would be very interesting to know whether the brick-by-brick demolition of a house in order to sell the materials was a common occurrence or whether this was unusual even at the time? I imagine the contemporary equivalent would be something like re-using roof tiles, but I can't imagine anything happening on the scale that it did at Rycote.

Rosanna Blakeley 05/05/2013

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