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TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
Syon House & Gosford Park
The house featured as Gosford Park in the Robert Altman film.
Location: Syon Park, Brentford, Middlesex, TW8 8JF
Description: Described by Sir John Betjeman as 'the Grand Architectural Walk', Syon House and its 200 acre park is the London home of the Duke of Northumberland, whose family have lived here for over 400 years. Originally the site of a medieval abbey, Syon was named after Mount Zion in the Holy Land. The abbey was dedicated to the Bridgettine Order, established in the 14th century by the great Swedish mystic St Bridget. One of the last great abbeys to be built (founded by King Henry V in 1415), Syon was dissolved by King Henry VIII in 1539.
Syon Abbey had become renowned for its spiritual learning, public preaching and library. It was favoured and visited by King Henry VIIIs first wife, Catherine of Aragon but it got embroiled in the religious turmoil of the Kings divorce and his subsequent action of making himself Supreme Head of the Church in England. The Father Confessor, of the nuns, Richard Reynolds, could not accept the Kings supremacy and was brutally executed in 1535, his body placed on the abbey gateway. He was later canonised as a martyr.
In 1547, King Henry VIII's coffin was brought to Syon on its way to Windsor for burial. It burst open during the night and in the morning dogs were found licking up the remains! This was regarded as a divine judgement for the King's desecration of Syon Abbey.
Today, Syon House is still the London home of the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland.
Both Syon House and the Great Conservatory have featured on numerous television historical dramas, Byron, The Lost Prince, The Young Visiters, Longitude, Looking for Victoria, Daniel Deronda, Agatha Christie's - Poirot, Wives and Daughters, Love in a Cold Climate, to name but a few. Syon House is widely featured in the Robert Altman feature film Gosford Park and has also appeared in The Madness of King George, The Wings of the Dove, Emma, The Golden Bowl and The Avengers. Both buildings are very popular with all major wedding magazines and feature on the fashion, garden and interior design pages of national magazines and newspapers.