The manor of Hughenden is first recorded in 1086, when formerly part of Queen Edith’s lands it was held by William, son of Oger the Bishop of Bayeux, and was assessed for tax at 10 hides.
Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister (1868 and 1874–1880, and Earl of Beaconsfield 1876), whose father rented a house at nearby Bradenham, purchased the manor in 1848 with the help of a loan of 25,000 from Lord Henry Bentinck and Lord Titchfield, because as leader of the Conservative Party “it was essential to represent a county,” and county members had to be landowners. He and his wife Mary Anne Disraeli, alternated between Hughenden and several homes in London.
The present house was built towards the end of the 18th century and was of a stuccoed and of unassuming design. However, in 1862 the Disraelis had the house remodelled by the architect Edward Buckton Lamb. Lamb has been described as “one of the most perverse and original of mid-Victorian architects”. Architecturally, he had a strong interest in the eclectic; this interest is very apparent in his work at Hughenden.
Pevsner clearly failed to appreciate what the delighted Disraeli described as the “romance he had been many years realising” while going to say that he imagined it was now “restored to what it was before the civil war. As the house was not originally constructed until the middle of the 18th century, almost a century after the Civil War, that scenario would have been difficult.
The house is of three floors. The reception rooms are all on the ground floor, most with large plate glass windows (a Victorian innovation) giving onto the south-facing terrace overlooking a grassy parterre with views over the Hughenden Valley.
photographs taken by JWW March 2015