History

Explore 300 years of history...

Blenheim Palace was built in the early 18th Century to celebrate a magnificent victory over the French in the War of the Spanish Succession.

It was specifically built as a gift to the 1st Duke of Marlborough, John Churchill, the military commander who led the Allied forces in the Battle of Blenheim on 13th August 1704. Following the battle, Marlborough himself received the surrender from Marshal Tallard, leader of the French forces, following the battle.

To honour the Duke’s heroic victories, Queen Anne granted him the ruined Royal Manor of Woodstock, along with £240,000 with which to build a house to commemorate his achievements...

 
History
  • The Battle of Blenheim

    The Battle of Blenheim was won on 13th August led by John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough. He was given the Park, Woodstock Manor, and £240,000 to build the Palace as a gift from Queen Anne and a grateful nation.

    The Battle of Blenheim
  • Blenheim Palace was built

    Blenheim Palace was built, designed by Sir John Vanbrugh. Despite an inscription on the Palace wall stating that it was built between 1705 and 1722, the Chapel (the last part of the Palace to be built) was not consecrated until 1733, 11 years after the death of the 1st Duke.

  • The Column of Victory is built

    The Column of Victory was built in the northern part of the Park and stands at 134 feet high. It is crowned by a lead statue of the 1st Duke of Marlborough which depicts him dressed as a Roman general.

    The Column of Victory is built
  • The Temple of Diana is built

    The Temple of Diana was designed and built by Sir William Chambers. It was intended to be a small summer house. Sir Winston Churchill would later propose to his future wife, Clementine Hozier, in this romantic spot.

    The Temple of Diana is built
  • Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown transformed the Parkland

    Landscape architect Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown was commissioned to create a new landscape for the 2000 plus acres of Parkland that surround the Palace.

    Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown transformed the Parkland
  • The Temple of Health is built

    This Corinthian temple was designed by John Yenn and celebrated King George III's recovery from illness.

    The Temple of Health is built
  • Sir Winston Churchill is born at Blenheim Palace

    Sir Winston Churchill is born at Blenheim Palace
  • The Boat House is built for the 8th Duke of Marlborough

    An inscription on the Boat House chosen by the 8th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough reads; ‘So may thy craft glide gently on as years row down the stream’.

    The Boat House is built for the 8th Duke of Marlborough
  • The Willis Organ is built

    The Willis Organ was originally positioned in the central bay of the Long Library. The organ was later moved to the north end of the Library in 1902.

    The plaque on the front of the organ reads: ‘In memory of happy days and as a tribute to this glorious home we leave thy voice to speak within these walls in years to come when ours are still. MM & LM' (The 8th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough)

    The Willis Organ is built
  • Achille Duchêne restores the Great Court

    The 9th Duke of Marlborough commissioned landscape architect Achille Duchêne to restore the three-acre forecourt (Great Court) from grass to cobbles and gravel. During this period, Duchêne also created the Italian Garden to adorn the East front of the Palace.

    Achille Duchêne restores the Great Court
  • Sir Winston Churchill proposes to Clementine Hozier in the Temple of Diana

    On 11th August 1908 in the pouring rain.

    "At Blenheim I took two very important decisions; to be born and to marry. I am content with the decision I took on both occasions..." Sir Winston Churchill

  • Blenheim Palace is used as a convalescence hospital

    Blenheim Palace was used as a convalescence hospital for wounded soldiers during WWI.

    Blenheim Palace is used as a convalescence hospital
  • The Water Terraces are built

    The 9th Duke of Marlborough commissioned Achille Duchêne (the man who restored the Great Court and created the Italian Garden) to build the Water Terraces.

  • Over 400 Malvern College boys are evacuated to Blenheim Palace during WWII

    Over 400 Malvern College boys are evacuated to Blenheim Palace during WWII
  • Blenheim Palace opens to the public for the first time

    Blenheim Palace opens to the public for the first time
  • Blenheim Palace is designated a Grade I listed building

    Blenheim Palace is designated a Grade I listed building
  • Blenheim Palace is made a UNESCO World Heritage Site

    Blenheim Palace is made a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • The East Courtyard Visitor Centre opens

    The newly restored East Courtyard Visitor Centre, Shop and Oxfordshire Pantry was officially opened by the Rt Honourable David Cameron (then Prime Minister) and His Grace the 11th Duke of Marlborough.

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