I recently showed images of the amazing contemporary furniture by Mark Brazier Jones being displayed at The Vyne. But even without such added bling the house has many different layers of history and meaning.
The Vyne was created in the early sixteenth century as a Tudor ‘power house’ for the Sandys family out of a group of medieval buildings. In 1653 the estate was bought by Chaloner Chute, a Speaker of the House of Commons, who modernised it and added the portico (see previous post) – the first to be used on an English house.
John Chute, an architect and antiquarian, inherited The Vyne in 1754. Chute was a friend of Horace Walpole and a member of the ‘Committee of Taste’ that advised Walpole on the building of his house, Strawberry Hill. In his remodelling of The Vyne Shute used a mixture of Gothic and Classical, but he also showed considerable respect for the history of the house itself.
The next generation to make a significant impact was that of William Wiggett Chute and his wife Martha, who took up residence in 1842. With characteristic Victorian enterprise Wiggett Chute repaired the house and rearranged its contents.
He brought running water to the upper floors and added sixteen bedrooms as well as a back staircase for the servants. Nevertheless Wiggett Chute was keen to preserve the historical spirit of the place, for instance by buying Vyne-related items at the great Strawberry Hill sale in 1842.
Wiggett Chute’s son, the second Chaloner Chute, published A History of the Vyne in 1888, one of the most scholarly of nineteenth-century country house histories. Sir Charles Chute, 1st Baronet, gave The Vyne to the National Trust in 1956.