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The Water Stratford Lodge

Stowe: The Park

In 1760 Earl Temple made significant improvements to the approaches to the estate. For the western approach he laid out the Oxford Avenue, built the Oxford Bridge on the eastern end, and repositioned William Kent's gateway from where it stood between the Boycott Pavilions to the brow of the hill to the west. At the western end of the Avenue, near the village of Water Stratford, he built two lodges in the Ionic Order, which Bevington suggests might have made use of the Ionic pilasters from the Sleeping Parlor, which stood to the west of the Rotunda in the Sleeping Wood and which was demolished in 1760.

The photograph above shows the western entrance to the Oxford Avenue just outside of Water Stratford. In 1843 the second Duke demolished the two Ionic lodges and built the single Italianate lodge in their place, facing the road just inside the gate. As with the Buckingham Lodges on the Grand Avenue, gates used to stand here to allow the Oxford Avenue to be grazed. An inner pair of gate piers stood at the edge of the road. Bevington explains that these and the iron gates were removed to allow timber lorries to use the Avenue.

As Bevington also notes, the Oxford Avenue is the most stately of all the approaches to Stowe given its large trees. The National Trust purchased the Avenue in 1985. It was probably planted in 1790, some thirty years after the original lodges were built.

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