You are in [Places] [Great Estates] [Eddington House]


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.

Photo Gallery:

eddington house-01
eddington house-01

Eddington House, 1903

eddington house-02
eddington house-02

Eddington House, c1910. Postmarked 6 Aug 1916 [Freeman's Series "37980"]

- Eddington House, 1903.

- Eddington House, c1910. Postmarked 6th August 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 Directory) Francis Lovelock Coxe Esq, JP.

c1891 (Kelly's Directory) Col Gerrard Paul Townsend.

The Portals:

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 practice 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's Directory) the estate was in the hands of Thomas Harrison Hughes, and later by the Lumsdons.

The Fermoys:

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, 21st August 1984.

The estate was offered for sale on April 1985. See "Eddington Estate open to £3m offers", NWN 4th April 1985.

The Michaels:

Eddington House was bought by Sir Peter Michael, CBE. 

Wikipaedia included: Sir Peter Colin Michael CBE (born 17 June 1938) is a British engineer and businessman whose interests include radio and wine-making. He worked at Smith Industries and Plessey, before leaving in 1968 to set up his first company.

He founded and managed a range of technology companies including Micro Consultants Group, UEI plc, Cosworth Engineering and Quantel.[3]

In 1983, he founded the Peter Michael Winery in the Knights Valley region of Calistoga, northern California. From 1989 to 1992 he served as CEO of Cray UK. In 1992 Sir Peter founded Classic FM.

He was knighted in the 1989 Birthday Honours.

His wife Margaret (Lady Michael) farms 1000 acres in Berkshire with arable cereals and a pedigree South Devon Red breeding herd.

In November 1996 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, 30th November 1996.

The Newmans:

2019: Sold to David and Kate Newman.