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Monday, November 8, 2010

The Bathurst Estate & Cirencester Park

A short walk from the centre of Cirencester and the Parish Church of St John the Baptist and the Corinium Museum is The Bathurst Estate & Cirencester Park.

The land now occupied by the estate and park was purchased in 1695 by Sir Benjamin Bathurst. Benjamin's son, the first Earl, Allen Bathurst, with the assistance of the poet Alexander Pope, laid out much of the grounds in the early eighteenth century including the so-called Pope's Seat. Jonathan Swift was another of the first Earl's literary circle.

Cirencester House, the present Earl of Bathurst's family home, contains portraits by such artists Thomas Gainsborough, John Hoppner and Joshua Reynolds and antiques collected by the family over the years. The house is not open to the public and is surrounded by a huge hedge.

The estate is known for a famous polo club, the Cirencester Polo Club, the oldest in the country having been founded in 1894 and accommodating seven grounds.

The Cirencester Polo Club is a favorite with Britain's Royal Family and the aristocracy.

The extensive grounds are also home to three fox hunts legally held on the private estate: the Cotswold, The Vale of the White Horse and Beaufort Hunts.

The park is also the venue of the annual Cotswold Show held in the first week of July.
Map of Cirencester Park

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