Woodstock In Oxfordshire, England
"Home Of The Churchill's"
Woodstock, eight miles North of Oxford, is often visited for two reasons; Blenheim Palace and Sir Winston Churchill's grave in nearby Bladon. But Woodstock has much more to offer. It is a picturesque little town, with many shops including antiques. They have tea rooms, pubs, and restaurants to stop at and get a bite to eat. There is also numerous churches.
Glove-making was once Woodstock's chief industry, but the town now prospers more from the tourists who flock to Blenheim Palace. Sir John Vanbrugh designed the palace for John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough. It was largely paid for by the nation in gratitude for his victory over the French and Bavarians at Blenheim in 1704. The deerpark surrounding the house was landscaped by "Capability" Brown.
Sir Winston Churchill was born at Blenheim in 1874 and is buried in nearby Bladen Church yard.
"Beautiful Blenheim Palace"
In reward for his services in defending Holland and Austria from invasion by the French,a grateful Queen Anne granted to Marlborough the Royal Manor of Woodstock and signified that she would build him, at her own expense, a house to be called Blenheim.
Building began in 1705, and there is an inscription on the East Gate that declares that:
"Under the auspices of a munificent sovereign this house was built for John Duke of Marlborough, and his Duchess Sarah, by Sir J Vanbrugh between the years 1705 and 1722.
And this Royal manor of Woodstock, together with a grant of £240,000, towards the building of Blenheim was given by Her Majesty Queen Anne and confirmed by Act of Parliament..."
While the Duke continued to give his Queen and country victory after victory overseas, his absence gave others the chance to hatch a plot designed to topple him from the Queen's favour. As a result, the money which had been promised to him for building Blenheim Palace didn’t arrive, leaving the Duke owing £45,000 to masons, carvers and others, including Vanbrugh the architect.
In the summer of 1712 all work on Blenheim Palace ceased. Following the death of Queen Anne in 1714, the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough negotiated with the unpaid artisans and suppliers alike and the Palace was completed at their own expense.
"The Grand Bridge at Blenheim"
The Grand Bridge with arcaded superstructure and drumhead finials as planned by Vanbrugh was never completed and today, only an elevation plan survives.
Bartholomew Peisley, the mason who built the bridge, under Vanbrugh's direction, was 'very proud and overjoyed', when in 1710 the main arch, 101 feet (almost 31 metres) wide, was keyed