Blenheim Palace

Woodstock, Oxfordshire

Built between 1706 and 1722, for General John Churchill (1650-1722), 1st Duke of Marlborough. Marlborough was the Commander-in-Chief of the British army who defeated the French and Bavarians during the Wars of the Spanish Succession with his decisive victory at the Battle of Blenheim (1705). In gratitude, the nation gifted him the Manor of Woodstock on which he built (with some financial support from Queen Anne) this Palace - one of the largest houses in Britain and the only "Palace" in the country not owned by a member of the Royal family or the Church....

This house is best associated with...

Charles Spencer-Churchill IX

Charles Spencer-Churchill, of Blenheim Palace; 9th Duke of Marlborough


Consuelo Vanderbilt

Consuelo, 9th Duchess of Marlborough; afterwards Madame Balsan


It was designed in the English Baroque style by Sir John Vanbrugh (1664-1726) and is today a UNESCO world heritage site. By the 1890s, the family was struggling to maintain its upkeep but their fortunes changed when the 9th Duke of Marlborough married (unhappily and against her wishes) Consuelo Vanderbilt. It was her fortune which has maintained Blenheim since then and allowed the Spencer-Churchills to still call a corner of the sprawling palace 'home'. Both the house and grounds are open to the public.

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Contributed by Mark Meredith on 13/03/2019 and last updated on 27/07/2020.


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