A weekend at Cumberland Lodge

Cumberland Lodge’s history dates back to the 17th century when John Byfield bought a plot of land in the Windsor Great Park, during the time crown lands was sold at preferential prices to officers of Cromwell’s army, and built Byfield House. When monarchy was restored in 1660, the crown lands were repossessed and Byfield House became the Ranger’s home. The only woman to hold the post of Ranger, the overseer of the Great Park, was Sarah Churchill, the Duchess of Marlborough who was appointed by Queen Anne in 1702.

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The lodge’s current name comes from its famous resident, the Duke of Cumberland, who was given the rangership in 1746 as a reward for Culloden. While each of the rangers added or modified the original house, the Duke is credited with the landscaping of its surroundings. Another famous ranger was Prince Albert, who was appointed by Queen Victoria, in 1841.

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The present history of Cumberland Lodge has its roots in Amy Buller’s book ‘Darkness over Germany’, where she shared her perspectives of world war II. Buller felt that it was important to provide neutral, discussion spaces for university students to share diverse views and enable critical analysis of prevailing issues. The royal couple, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, supported Amy Buller’s initiative of starting up such a space in England and donated this country house for the cause in 1947. Initially known as St. Catherine’s foundation, it was incorporated into a charity called Cumberland Lodge in 2005, with the Queen as its patron.

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I had the privilege of staying at this historical house, in January 2015, for a residential workshop. The weekend stay at this old and beautiful house, with a lot of history surrounding it and just an hour or so away from London, was one of the highlights of my year in the UK.

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Cumberland lodge was modernized in the 1980s and opened up to non-student groups to help support the charity work. The Lodge can now be hired for conferences and weddings.

My favourite place at the lodge was the library, where the historic discussions around King Edward VIII’s abdication took place.

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The Lodge can be seen in the movie ‘The King’s Speech’ depicting scenes at Sandringham House.

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Which is your favourite travel memory of visiting a historic house?

[I am linking this to City Tripping #53 and Faraway File #14]

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28 thoughts on “A weekend at Cumberland Lodge

    • Thanks, Lorelei. Of interest is also the Royal Chapel, in the grounds of the Great Park, where the Queen goes for Sunday service while staying at the nearby Windsor Castle. A few in my group got the opportunity to go to the Chapel for the service.

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  1. I didn’t know anything about Cumberland Lodge so it’s fascinating to read all about it. How lucky you were to spend some time here. Thanks for sharing with us on #FarawayFiles

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was lucky indeed to have been able to spend some time at the lodge with my entire cohort at university. It was a fascinating place, especially as I had not known about it prior to that year.

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  2. I love that Queen Anne appointed a woman as Ranger – good for her. She must have been a feminist. Amazing that you can stay in such a gorgeous place. You look like you’re having fun hitting up the library! I can just imagine those fraught abdication talks – incredible piece of history right there in that room.

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    • Cumberland lodge was certainly a fascinating place to stay. I did regret missing the service at the royal chapel on sunday since it was a long walk within the park from the lodge. However, I had fun exploring the library and indoors during that time.

      Liked by 1 person

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