Knebworth House
Knebworth House is a country house in the civil parish of Knebworth
Knebworth is a village and civil parish in the north of Hertfordshire, England immediately south of Stevenage. The civil parish covers an area between the villages of Datchworth, Woolmer Green, Codicote, Kimpton, Whitwell, St Paul's Walden and Langley, and encompasses the village of Knebworth, the...

 in Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England. The county town is Hertford.The county is one of the Home Counties and lies inland, bordered by Greater London , Buckinghamshire , Bedfordshire , Cambridgeshire and...

, England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...


History and description

The home of the Lytton
Earl of Lytton
Earl of Lytton, in the County of Derby, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1880 for the diplomat and poet Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 2nd Baron Lytton. He was Viceroy of India from 1876 to 1880 and British Ambassador to France from 1887 to 1891...

 family since 1490, when Thomas Bourchier sold the reversion of the manor to Sir Robert Lytton, Knebworth House was originally a genuine red-brick Late Gothic manor house
Manor house
A manor house is a country house that historically formed the administrative centre of a manor, the lowest unit of territorial organisation in the feudal system in Europe. The term is applied to country houses that belonged to the gentry and other grand stately homes...

, built round a central court as an open square. In 1813-16 the house was reduced to its west wing, which was remodelled in a Tudor Gothic style by John Biagio Rebecca for Mrs Bulwer-Lytton, and then was transformed in 1843-45 by Henry Edward Kendall, Jr. into the present Tudor Gothic structure. Its most famous resident was Edward Bulwer-Lytton, the Victorian
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

 author, dramatist and statesman, who embellished the gardens in a formal Italianate fashion. Much of the interior was redesigned by Sir Edwin Lutyens
Edwin Lutyens
Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens, OM, KCIE, PRA, FRIBA was a British architect who is known for imaginatively adapting traditional architectural styles to the requirements of his era...

, who simplified the main parterre
A parterre is a formal garden construction on a level surface consisting of planting beds, edged in stone or tightly clipped hedging, and gravel paths arranged to form a pleasing, usually symmetrical pattern. Parterres need not have any flowers at all...

. A herb garden in an interlaced quincunx design was drawn by Gertrude Jekyll
Gertrude Jekyll
Gertrude Jekyll was an influential British garden designer, writer, and artist. She created over 400 gardens in the UK, Europe and the USA and contributed over 1,000 articles to Country Life, The Garden and other magazines.-Early life:...

 in 1907 but not planted until 1982.

The house today

The current residents are Henry Lytton-Cobbold
Henry Lytton-Cobbold
Henry Fromanteel Lytton-Cobbold is the current occupier of Knebworth House in Hertfordshire, England.He is the son of David Antony Fromanteel Lytton-Cobbold, 2nd Baron Cobbold, and is heir to the Barony of Cobbold. He is married to Martha Boone, with two children, Morwenna Gray and Edward...

 and his family.

The house is open to the public together with its surrounding gardens and grounds. The grounds include an adventure playground, mini railway and dinosaur park and host various events including classic car rallies, the annual Salvo Fair of architectural salvage and, since 1974, major open air rock and pop concerts
Concerts at Knebworth House
The grounds of Knebworth House near the village of Knebworth in Hertfordshire, England has become a major venue for open air rock and pop concerts since 1974 when The Allman Brothers Band attracted 60,000 at the first large concert held at the venue....


It is currently the home of the UK leg of the touring rock festival Sonisphere, which in July 2009 occurred for the first time at Knebworth.

Radio and cinema

Local radio
Local radio
Local radio can refer to:In the UK:*BBC Local Radio*Independent Local RadioIn Australia:*ABC Local Radio by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation...

 station 106 Jack FM Hertfordshire broadcasts from the old pump house, which provided water for the house. Allegedly a deep well is buried beneath site of the breakfast show presenter's swivel chair.

Numerous films have been shot at Knebworth, including:
  • The Big Sleep
    The Big Sleep (1978 film)
    The Big Sleep was the second film version of Raymond Chandler's 1939 novel of the same name. The film was directed by Michael Winner and stars Robert Mitchum in his second feature film portrayal of the detective Philip Marlowe. The cast includes Sarah Miles, Candy Clark, Joan Collins, and...

    (1978) - General Sternwood's country mansion
  • The Great Muppet Caper
    The Great Muppet Caper
    The Great Muppet Caper is a 1981 mystery comedy film directed by Jim Henson. It is the second of a series of live-action musical feature films, starring Jim Henson's Muppets. This film was produced by Henson Associates, ITC Entertainment and Universal Pictures, and premiered on 26 July 1981. The...

    (1980) - exterior of the Mallory Gallery
  • Sir Henry at Rawlinson End
    Sir Henry at Rawlinson End (film)
    Sir Henry at Rawlinson End is a 1980 British film based on the eponymous character created by Vivian Stanshall. It starred Trevor Howard as Sir Henry and Stanshall himself as Henry's brother Hubert. Unusually, the film was released in sepia-toned monochrome. After a long wait, while the film...

    (1980) - interior and exterior
  • The Shooting Party
    The Shooting Party
    The Shooting Party is a 1985 film directed by Alan Bridges and based on the book of the same name by Isabel Colegate. The film is set in 1913 and shows the way of life of English aristocrats, gathered for pheasant shooting and general self-indulgence. Their way of life is contrasted with the...

    (1985) - filmed entirely on location
  • Porterhouse Blue (1987) - exterior of the home of Sir Cathcart D'Eath
  • The Lair of the White Worm
    The Lair of the White Worm (film)
    The Lair of the White Worm is a 1988 film based loosely on the novel by Bram Stoker of the same name and drawing upon the English myth of the Lambton Worm...

    (1988) - exterior of the D'Ampton mansion
  • Batman
    Batman (1989 film)
    Batman is a 1989 superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name, directed by Tim Burton. The film stars Michael Keaton in the title role, as well as Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Robert Wuhl and Jack Palance...

    (1989) - exterior scenes of Bruce Wayne's manor
  • The Canterville Ghost (1995 film)
  • Sacred Flesh
    Sacred Flesh
    Sacred Flesh is a 1999 British nunsploitation film. It is set in an indeterminate past, and consists of a series of loosely connected vignettes that depict pseudo-lesbian sexuality and some sado-masochistic activity.-Synopsis:...

    (1999) - exterior scenes of the convent
  • Agent Cody Banks 2 - some scenes in and around the grounds
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is a 2005 fantasy film directed by Mike Newell and based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. It is the fourth instalment in the Harry Potter film series, written by Steve Kloves and produced by David Heyman...

    - Yule Ball Staircase Scene
  • Jonathan Creek
    Jonathan Creek
    Jonathan Creek is a British mystery series produced by the BBC and written by David Renwick. Primarily a crime drama, the show is also peppered with broadly comic touches...

    - provided the location of Metropolis in the 2008 Christmas Special.
  • Haunted Honeymoon
    Haunted Honeymoon
    Haunted Honeymoon is a 1986 comedy movie starring Gene Wilder, Gilda Radner, Dom Deluise, and Jonathan Pryce. Wilder also served as the film's writer and director. The film also marked Radner's final appearance prior to her death of ovarian cancer in 1989....

  • The King's Speech (2010) - Balmoral Party and other scenes

External links

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