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The Oxford Gate and Lodge

Stowe: The Park

The gateway depicted below is the entrance to the estate that most visitors are familiar with today, and it has been a prominent feature since it was built according to a design by William Kent in the early 1730s. It was at this time that Lord Cobham rerouted the main drive from Buckingham -- from east of the House through the village of Stowe, to west of the house. The eastern Boycott Pavilion, which can be seen in the distance behind the gateway, had been in existence for a short time and served to mark the northwestern corner of the gardens. Lord Cobham built the western Pavilion to flank it across the southwest end of the Straight Course, and he built Kent's gateway between them. A view of the Pavilions flanking the Straight Course can be seen on the Boycott Pavilions page of this Web site.

The Oxford Gate and Lodge

Some thirty years later, Earl Temple laid out the extension of the Straight Course in the Oxford Avenue. He replaced what was probably a wooden bridge across the Oxford Water with the Oxford Bridge, and he moved Kent's gateway southwest across the water to the brow of the hill where it now stands. In the late 1780s, the Oxford Lodge was added to the eastern gateway pavilion, and it housed the gatekeeper.

Bevington notes that new wrought iron gates were hung in 1993 as part of the National Trust's restoration and that these are based on Kent's designs as adapted in the 1750s. Kent's only original gate, he explains, is on the southern side of the western gateway pavilion.

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John D. Tatter, Birmingham-Southern College, jtatter@bsc.edu