Stratfield Saye near Reading was the country home of the Duke of Wellington. He bought the house in 1817, by which time he had won the battle of Waterloo and begun his controversial career as a politician. He was happier as a soldier than a politician, and Wellington's military career is commemorated at Stratfield Saye.
Stratfield Saye has the same sense of grandeur and tradition as Wellington's London home Apsley House. He was a man who spent his political career trying to block parliamentary reform, and his nostalgia for disappearing aristocratic values is clear in both houses. And yet Wellington, contradictory character that he was, could on occasion be completely dismissive of traditional convention. His military career was noted for his insistence on being with his men, and refusing to surround himself with a "throng of scented staff officers with plumed hats, orders and stars" (Commissary August Schaumann, quoted in Wellington - The Iron Duke by Richard Holmes P175). Wellington lived at a time when the world was changing fundamentally, and he demonstrates typical conflicts of his time, in which a vigorous hope for the future was combined with overwhelming nostalgia for the past. Stratfield Saye also illustrates this contradiction. The house has all the appearance of a traditional aristocratic country manor. Yet Wellington installed newfangled central heating, and two of the original radiators can be seen at the foot of the staircase. There is also a romance about the house. As with Apsley House, Stratfield Saye presents both the traditional facade of a no nonsense military man, along with suggestions of a romantic, distant past. This was a past where men could be heroes, like Achilles, or the Duke of Wellington.
Film enthusiasts may be interested to know that Stratfield Saye was used as a location for the filming of Emma.
Address: Stratfield Saye, Reading RG7 2BT
Opening Times: Please use contact details below.
Directions: Stratfield Saye is situated one mile west of the A33 half way between Reading and Basingstoke. It is accessible from junction 11 of the M4 and junction 6 of the M3. Click here for an interactive map centred on Stratfield Saye.
Access: Disabled access to the house is possible, but contact the property beforehand.
telephone: 01256 882694
web site: http://www.stratfield-saye.co.uk/
fax: 01256 882115