St Giles House and Park has been the home to the Earls of Shaftesbury since the 15th century. The house and park are listed on English Heritage’s Register of Historic Houses, Parks and Gardens, as Grade I and Grade II* respectively.
The park extends to 170 hectares (420 acres) and contains many features which make the landscape a unique and special place: a Beech Avenue, a Beech belt, mature parkland trees and an 18th century pleasure grounds with a serpentine lake and elaborate grotto. It is also home to several rare animal species such as the Greater Horseshoe Bat and the Duke of Burgundy butterfly
At the centre of the park, sits St Giles House. The house has been home to several important ancestors of the Shaftesbury family as well as several notable guests including the philosopher John Locke, the composer Handel and King George V.
The First Earl of Shaftesbury was a prominent 17th century statesmen who was Lord Chancellor under Charles II, founder of the Whig Party, and a close friend of the philosopher John Locke, whom he engaged to oversee all the family affairs, including the tutoring of his children and grandchildren. He built the east façade of St.Giles House in 1650 on the site of the family Manor House.
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