Blenheim-Park

BLENHEIM-PARK, an extra-parochial district, in the liberty of Oxford (though locally in the hundred of Wootton), union of Woodstock, county of Oxford; containing 109 inhabitants. This district was granted in 1704, by Queen Anne, to John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, in reward of the splendid victory obtained by him over the French and Bavarians, on the 2nd of August, near the village of Blenheim; and the grant was confirmed by parliament in the following year, when the house of commons voted the sum of £500,000 for the erection of a palace. The structure was completed in 1715, after a design by Sir John Vanbrugh, and is a magnificent pile 850 feet in extreme length, generally considered to be the only public work of magnitude sufficient for the full development of the genius of that architect, and consequently regarded as his chef d'æuvre. In the centre of the principal front is a projecting portico of the Corinthian order supporting a triangular pediment, crowned on the apex by a statue of Minerva, and displaying in the tympanum the armorial bearings of the duke; at each extremity of the front is a lofty massive tower. The demesne, which comprises 2940 acres, and is inclosed by a wall twelve miles in circuit, is intersected by the river Glyme, which passes in its several windings under bridges of elegant design, and expands into a noble and beautifully picturesque lake, 250 acres in extent. On a fine lawn is a column 130 feet in height, surmounted by a colossal statue of the duke, holding in one hand his baton of command, and in the other a figure of Victory. In different parts of the grounds are temples, grottoes, and statues of beautiful design; and the numerous lodges at the various entrances into the widely-extended demesne, form interesting features in the scenery of the contiguous villages: the principal approach is from Woodstock, under a triumphal arch. The Roman Akeman-street passes through the northern portion of the park, and may be distinctly traced near the lodge.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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