ALFOXTON'S HISTORY

OUR MISSION IS TO HONOUR THE OLD, CREATING THE NEW.

A brief history of Alfoxton

Alfoxton has a long and rich history stretching back over 1000 years. It was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, with a recorded population of 3.5 households. The property was for several centuries the home of the St. Aubyn or St. Albyn family and it was they who allowed the young William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy to rent Alfoxton in July 1797.

This – by far the most famous year in Alfoxton’s long life – is portrayed in the BBC film Pandaemonium, available on YouTube. The historical accuracy of the film has been strongly criticised but the characters are vividly brought to life. Apart from anything else, the film makes it very clear why at the end of the year their lease was not renewed!

A more measured account of their time in residence comes from Adam Nicholson’s recent book ‘The Making of Poetry’, subtitled ‘A Year of Marvels’, tracing in loving detail how the radical new Romantic movement was in many ways born during their year at Alfoxton.

Coming right up to date - and perhaps inaugurating a new round of creativity and performance at Alfoxton - 12th September 2020 saw Singhamanas, a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order, performing The Rime of the Ancient Mariner to a very appreciative and suitably socially-distanced audience at the front of Alfoxton.

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Below are some old maps of Alfoxton estate and buildings, showing its evolution over time.

Alfoxton’s more recent history is traced briefly on the Holford History Society's Alfoxton page, including its use as a boarding school for evacuated boys, its occupation by American troops, its time as a Church of England holiday home, and its conversion into a small hotel.

Scenes from the life of the Buddha: Buddhism comes to Alfoxton!

Now, we hope, it's about to begin a new chapter in its long life, as a Buddhist retreat centre!

If you'd like to visit, make a donation, or be kept informed of developments, please contact us using the email address below. Thanks!

The Alfoxton 'Domesday' oak tree