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APPULDURCOMBE HOUSE

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The partially ruined Appuldurcombe House stands in grounds designed by Capability Brown. The English Baroque style house was once the grandest and most striking house on the Isle of Wight.

Appuldurcombe Manor was first granted by Richard de Redvers in 1090 to the Benedictine Abbey of Montebourg. In 1414 the abbey was suppressed and in the 16th century an Elizabethan house was built. The present day Appuldurcombe House was built by Sir Robert Worsley between 1701 and 1712. Alterations were made to the house in the 1770s by his nephew Sir Richard Worsley.

From 1805 the house went through many changes. It was altered by the 1st Baron Yarborough (1805-55), who used the house as a base for sailing out of Cowes. In 1859 Appuldurcombe House became a hotel, but after the business failed, it was then leased for use as a college for young gentlemen in 1867 until the 1890s. From 1901 until 1908 it was home to a small group of Benedictine monks, however from 1909 the house was more or less abaondoned. It was used during the First and Second World Wars to accommodate troops and in 1943 the house was badly damaged by a dropped mine. This further added to the poor state of the house and demolition was proposed. However, in 1952 Appuldurcombe was saved from demolition and since then a long programme of repair and restoration has been carried out. The house, now a shell and internally in ruins, is under the guardianship of English Heritage and open to visitors.

Appuldurcombe House is one of the most significant houses of the English Baroque style. It was designed by John James and altered in the 1770s by James Wyatt. It is built from greensand ashlar and Portland stone and displays many French and Italian architectural influences. Unusually, the central section of the house was not emphasised, but instead prominent pavilions project at either end.

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