The Mansion, as it locally known today, was built by the 1st Earl on the foundations of the original Tudor-Jacobean house belonging to the Danvers family (formerly known as Oakley Grove) – it is also believed to be built on the same site as the original Cirencester castle (built circa 1107 and destroyed by King Stephen in 1142).
Unusually for a stately home, Cirencester Park sits within the town of Cirencester and is screened from the town by the tallest yew hedge in the world. It is a beautiful feature of the family grounds and has been much recorded in local and international history, esepcially when it comes to its annual trim – a job that takes two men two weeks to complete. Clippings from the world famous hedge have also been used to further the research of the use of ‘taxol’ to treat cancer.
When Sir Benjamin purchased the house in 1695, his son Allen soon began the initial building of the present house, but the job was huge and it was not finished until 1718 (very likely to Lord Bathurst’s own designs). The wings of the Jacobean house were demolished and Lord Bathurst added new facades to the main fronts, leaving a severely plain classical style house.
It wasn’t until 1810-11 that any major changes were made, when the 3rd Earl Bathurst engaged Robert Smirke to demolish the West Porch and to add the North Wing. In 1830 Smirke was back at Cirencester, where he rebuilt the East Front. The House has remained virtually unaltered since Smirke’s work of 1830.
It is here that the present Earl and Countess Bathurst reside and from where much of the estate management and planning is fulfilled.