The Manor & Grounds » The house through the Centuries
Sulgrave Manor was built by Lawrence Washington, George Washington’s five times great grandfather, in the mid-1500s.
The entrance porch was completed soon after Queen Elizabeth's accession to the throne and Lawrence Washington displayed his loyalty to the new Queen by depicting her coat of arms and initials in plaster-work upon its gable.
Just above the door you can find the Washington family’s own coat of arms carved in stone – the ‘mullets and bars’ depicted resemble ‘stars and stripes’ and are widely believed to have influenced the design of the American flag.
The original Tudor features can be visited on one of our house tours, including the Great Hall that was the heart of the house where Lawrence Washington, his wife and eleven children lived. The structure of the room appears much today as it would have done when Lawrence Washington completed it in the mid-1500s and authentic Tudor furnishings fill the room.
Other original elements of the Washington's Tudor house are made up of the entrance porch, the Great Chamber and two smaller rooms on the first floor.
By 1700, when John Hodges built the north wing, parts of the Tudor house had already been destroyed. This north wing runs at right angles to the Tudor section and contains the Oak Parlour and Great Kitchen at ground level and the Chintz and White Bedrooms above.
The western section of the house did not exist when
the house was purchased in 1914; today this has been replaced in part by the
Director’s quarters that were built in the 1920s, with the porch once again
taking its central position at the front of the building.
It’s not possible to tell how far the house would have originally extended to the east and west of the main porch, but a possible foundation stone was found in 1920, fifty feet to the west of the present house.
Thanks to public donations from both sides of the Atlantic, Sulgrave Manor was restored and opened to the public in 1921 where it was presented to the people of Britain and the USA as a memorial of their common inheritance.