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AUDLEY END HOUSE

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  STATION 43, NEW PALACE, AUDLEY END
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Audley End House was built between 1603 and 1614 by Thomas Howard, first Earl of Suffolk, on the site of Walden Abbey (see record no. 373672). Howard's grandfather, Sir Thomas Audley, initially acquired the Abbey after its dissolution in 1538 by King Henry VIII and adapted the buildings for his own use. The house built by Howard was three times the current size and one of the largest country houses in England at the time. In 1668 King Charles II bought the house as a base for attending Newmarket races but in 1701 it was returned to the Suffolk family by William III. By 1745, however, the Suffolk line had died out and Audley End House was sold to the Countess of Portsmouth for use by her nephew, Sir John Griffin Griffin. During the 18th century, the house underwent several major alterations and much of the present house structure dates from after 1762 when a vast rebuilding and restoration programme was carried out, which included interior work by Robert Adam. The Jacobean style interior, as seen today, dates from a refurbishment carried out in the 1820s by the third Baron Braybrooke. In the Second World War, Audley End House was requisitioned for a number of military uses, primarily as Special Operations Executive "Station 43", for training Polish agents. In 1948 it was sold to the Ministry of Works. It was opened to the public in 1950.

Audley End House is three storeys high, ashlar faced and has a copper roof. The entrance elevation faces west and has a two storey central block with porches either end, set forward of a seven window range. The north and south ends have tower shaped blocks and turrets at the corners with round-headed openings, swept copper capping and weather-vanes. The eastern, or rear, elevation features a central, seven window range with a ground floor arcade and central doorway. The wings projecting from either end have a central, full height bay window facing east, and a similar window to each of the inner elevations.

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