History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
A lovely Jacobean house with Georgian remodeling. The house is set in superb landscape gardens, which have remained unaltered since they were designed in the early 18th century. The gardens, designed by William Kent, were one of the first and most influential of the style which became known as English landscape gardening. The house has been owned by Dormer family since it was built.
The garden draws most people to Rousham, and deservedly so, but the Jacobean house is worthy of note. It was begun in the 1630s by Sir Robert Dormer on earlier foundations, and despite remodeling in the 18th and 19th centuries, the core of Rousham House is much as Sir Robert would have seen it. The house is situated on a terrace above the River Cherwell, with lawns sloping down to the river.
Rousham's place in history is assured as one of the first landscape gardens in England, and one of the most influential. The garden design was begun by Charles Bridgman, the royal gardener, in the 1720s. In 1738 William Kent was called in to finish Bridgman's design, and the result is a superb early example of formal garden mixed with carefully designed natural landscape style. Kent is famous as the father of the "picturesque", or English landscape garden. He envisioned the landscape as a classical painting, carefully arranged to maximize the artistic effects of light, shape, and colour.
His gardens were dotted with classical temples replete with philosophical associations. At Rousham, Roman elements abound, including statuary, urns, and a classical temple looking over the River Cherwell. Kent designed the gardens around several ponds and cascades, with wooded glades opening to provide views to classically inspired architectural elements, or follies. There is also an attractive walled garden featured herbaceous plants and a formal parterre.
Located immediately beside Rousham House, and part of the Rousham estate, is the parish church. This is a lovely early medieval building with a sturdy square tower in Perpendicular style. The interior features some lovely medieval tombs and memorials to the Dormer family of Rousham House.
Rousham for Families
Rousham is a wonderful house and superlative garden, but, sadly, not the most welcoming place for families. As of this writing, no children under 15 years of age are admitted.
About Rousham House
Address: Rousham, Bicester, Oxfordshire, England, OX25 4QU
Attraction Type: Historic House
Location: 7 m W Bicester, off B4030
Website: Rousham House
Phone: 01869 347 110
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
We've 'tagged' this attraction information to help you find related historic attractions and learn more about major time periods mentioned.
Historic Time Periods:
Find other attractions tagged with:
17th century (Time Period) - 18th century (Time Period) - Civil War (Architecture) - Georgian (Time Period) - Medieval (Time Period) - Parliamentary (Historical Reference) - Perpendicular (Architecture) - Pevsner (Person) - Roman (Time Period) - Royalist (Person) - William Kent (Person) -
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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