Appuldurcombe House

 Appuldurcombe House

Location: Wroxall, Isle of Wight Map

Constructed: 18th century


Description of Appuldurcombe House

Appuldurcombe House is an abandoned baroque estate situated near village of Wroxall, Isle of Wight in United Kingdom. Appuldurcombe House was constructed in the 1702 by Sir Robert Worsley, 3rd Baronet on a site of an older Tudor residence. Its chief designer was an architect John James who erected it into a Baroque estate. It is surrounded by a large estate with an area of 1.2 sq km. It was further increased in 1770's by Sir Richard Worsley, 7th Baronet of Appuldurcombe. In the middle of the 19th century the estate was sold and transformed into a hotel. In the early 20th century it briefly served as a home to Benedictine monks who were exiled from Solesmes Abbey in France and before transferring to Quarr Abbey on the island. From that point on Appuldurcombe House was largely abandoned. It briefly served as a barrack for soldiers during World War I and World War II. On February 7, 1943 it was badly damaged by a mine thrown from the German Luftwaffe plane. Dornier Do 217 dropped its dangerous cargo near an estate and subsequently crash into Saint Martin's Down.


Appuldurcombe House  Appuldurcombe House

Hauntings in Appuldurcombe House

Some local legends claim that the house is one of the most haunted on the island and in the country. Many eye witnesses claim to have seen carriage that pulled up to the main entrance. However when they came out to check it out it silently disappeared right before their eyes. Another phantom frequent in the area is a monk covered by a black long robes. He is frequent guest of the park that surrounds the house. Additionally visitors reported disembodied sounds, cold spots and even flipping of the pages in the visitor's book.


 Appuldurcombe House  Appuldurcombe House


Appuldurcombe began as a priory in 1100. It was later a nunnery, then the Elizabethan home of the Leigh family. The grand Tudor mansion was bequeathed in 1690 to Robert Worsley, 3rd Baronet, who began planning for a suitable replacement.

1702: Baroque mansion
The present house was begun in 1702. The architect is John James (architect). Sir Robert never saw the house fully completed. He died on July 29, 1747, in his memory a monument was erected overlooking the house of Stenbury Down.

The house was greatly extended in the 1770s by his great-nephew Sir Richard Worsley, 7th Baronet. The newly expanded mansion is where Sir Richard brings his new bride, 17-year-old Seymour Dorothy Fleming, whom he married 'for love and £80,000'. Capability Brown was commissioned in 1779 to design the ornamental motifs at the same time as the extensions. A ruined romantic folly known as 'Cooke's Castle' is built on the hill opposite to improve the view. In Sir Richard's time the house housed a magnificent collection of art and was the setting for Sir Richard's entertainments with some of the most prominent figures of the time.

Sir Richard's marriage quickly fell apart and the couple's only child, a son, died in infancy. After suing one of his wife's 27 alleged lovers, the couple informally separate. Seymour was unable to remarry until Richard died, and she became a professional mistress or demi-mondaine, living off the gifts of wealthy men to survive, joining other upper-class women occupying a similar post in New Female Coterie. Sir Richard died of apoplexy on 8 August 1805 at Appledurcombe and was buried in Godshill Parish Church. Her title passed to her fourth cousin, Henry Worsley-Holmes, while his wife 3's £70,000 went to him, and just over a month later she remarried.

Worsley left the estate saddled with heavy debt, but Appuldurcombe passed on to his niece, Henrietta Anna Maria Charlotte (daughter of John Bridgeman Simpson). She marries the Hon. Charles Anderson-Pelham, later 1st Earl of Yarborough, in 1806. The founder of the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes, he made few changes to the house and was very happy to retain the property as a convenient base for his sailing activities.

In 1855, the estate was sold. An unsuccessful business venture turns Appuldurcombe into a hotel, but it fails, and the house is later rented out as Dr. Pound's Academy. The house was inhabited in 1901-1907 by a hundred Benedictine monks who were exiled from the Abbey of Saint-Pierre de Solesmes in France and then settled in the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Quarr on the Isle of Wight.

World War II: the damage
The troops were quartered in the house during the two world wars, and at the start of the Second World War the house was taken over by the army. On February 7, 1943, a German Luftwaffe aircraft, a Dornier Do 217 which was engaged in a mine-laying mission, turned inland and dropped its last mine very close to the house, before crashing on St Martin's Down. The mine explodes, blowing out all the windows and causing part of roof 4 to collapse. The resulting hole in the roof is not repaired, and after the war much of the rest of the roof and interiors are removed and sold.

Although the house is now mostly a shell, its front part has been re-roofed and glazed, and a small part of the interior is recreated. The house is well known as one of the most haunted places on the island. There are frequent stories and claimed sightings of ghosts and other supernatural phenomena.

In January 2016, Appuldurcombe House and the surrounding estate went on sale for £4.75 million.