Standing about one mile north of the village of Eddington, Eddington House owned land to the north and east of Hungerford.
The house is in two distinct parts - that to the left (south) is rendered with a stucco cornice and parapet, and dates from the early 1800s, whilst the northern part is a late 19th century addition in red brick.
- Eddington House, 1903.
- Eddington House, c1910. Postmarked 6 Aug 1916 [Freeman's Series "37980"]
Early owners included:
c1830 - c1864: (Pigot, PO, Kelly and Slater Directories). Richard Compton Esq, c1830 - c1864 He became a County Magistrate (JP) c1864.
c1869: (PO Dire) Francis Lovelock Coxe Esq, JP.
c1891 (Kelly Dir) Col Gerrard Paul Townsend.
From c1892 Eddington House was owned by Major Edward Robert Portal, JP (born 1854). He and his first wife Rose Leslie Napier had three sons. In 1892 he married Ellinor Kate Hill, and they had a further five sons, including Charles (born 1893) who went on to become Chief of the Air Staff during the Second World War. It is said that as a youngster he loved speed, especially when on his motorcycle. Air Chief Marshall Sir Charles Portal, K.C.B., C.B., D.S.O., M.C., Lord Portal of Hungerford, was known locally as "Peter", and was a keen member of the local cricket club, as were his father and brothers.
By 1902 it said that the house was "full of life" with the eight sons there. It was quite an event when a bathroom was installed in one of the boxrooms in 1905, replacing the previously used tin baths filled by maids. Major Portal is said to have restricted them to no more than four inches of water!
In 1912, two planes flew over Hungerford and landed in the grounds of Eddington House. One of the pilots was Major John Brooke-Popham, a friend of the Portals, who had organised this practive flight from Larkhill. Apparently, hundreds of local people rushed to Eddington House to see the planes.
Major Portal lost a son Mervyn at the age of six in 1909. He also lost his son Nigel, aged 23 years, in a flying accident in 1926. It is understood that he gave the Chancel Screen and a stained glass window (VIs) in St Lawrence Church in his memory.
Follow this link for more on Sir Charles Portal.
Mar 1927: "Major E R Portal, who has sold Eddington House, Hungerford, to Mr Harrison Hughes, has taken up residence at Hardenhuish, Chippenham. Major Portal has been Master of the Craven Hounds, chairman of the Hungerford Guardians and District Council and has also been identified with the public life of the town in many other ways."
Apr 1946: Hungerford's Baron: There will be general approval at Sir Charles Portal's choice of title upon the grant of a barony. The Marshall of the RAF becomes Lord Portal of Hungerford. Many residents will recall his childhood in the district, when he played cricket for the town team. It is fitting that his first engagement since the war ended will be the opening of Hungerford's Thanksgiving Week. Lord Portal's father and mother, Major and Mrs E R Portal, who lived for many years at Eddington House, now reside at Sulham House, Pangbourne."
In 1939 (Kelly Dir) the estate was in the hands of Thomas Harrison Hughes, then by the Lumsdons.
Some time later it was owned by Lord (Hugh) Fermoy, who was a Newbury District Councillor, a town councillor, and Mayor of Hungerford (1983-84). He was active in the local farming community, and president of Newbury Agricultural Show in 1976. He was an uncle to Diana, Princess of Wales. He sadly committed suicide in Aug 1984 after many years battling depression. See "Lord Fermoy's suicide stuns town and country", Newbury Advertiser, 21 Aug 1984.
The estate was offered for sale on Apr 1985. See "Eddington Estate open to £3m offers", NWN 4 Apr 1985.
Eddington House was bought by Sir Peter Michael, CBE.
In Nov 1930 there was a major fire at Eddington House. More than 60 firemen spent several hours trying to contain the blaze, but it is understood that most works of art were safely removed, and no-one was hurt. See "Works of art saved from house blaze", Telegraph, 30 Nov 1996.