Historic manor house ‘belongs to Aylesbury’

Lynda Clayden outside Ardenham House
Lynda Clayden outside Ardenham House

A historic Aylesbury property is on the market – and the family who owns it want to make sure that it goes to someone who take care of it.

Ardenham House, on the corner of Oxford Road and Bicester Road, is on the market for £695,000.

It is currently split into three flats, and owner Lynda Clayden, whose parents bought the property in 1952, recalled some fond memories of the property she called home until 1962.

She said: “My family bought it in 1952, it was sold at auction at The Bull Hotel which used to be half way down the market place in Aylesbury.

“It was Derby Day, and the final of the derby came in as the hammer went down.My parents went to the sale, and when everybody left the room to find out the winner of the derby they got it for £5,000, which was even a bargain at the time.”

She added: “The white hall is an older building which is attached to the main house and that comes with the sale.

“It has a little belltower and my mother used to ring it when she wanted us to come in from the garden.”

Ardenham House was built by renowned sculptor Joseph Nollekens in the late 18th century as a home for his sister-in-law.

Later on the house was owned by Doctor Peter Kennedy who spoke both French and Italian.He died in 1807, and in 1876 the house was taken on by tanner, currier and leather cutter Melitz Joseph Vines Grinnell.

Mr Grinnell’s family lived at the home until the 1930s, and it is from his family that Lynda parents Charles and Barbara Waller bought the property.

Charles was an architect and surveyor, and Barbara a stained glass artist – later going into business with Lynda.

But the family were left devastated in the 1960s when a compulsory purchase order as part of a road widening scheme cut off a row of cottages which were part of the property, and a chunk of the garden.

Lynda said: “It broke my parents’ hearts when the road was widened because so much was swept away.

“During my custodianship I have tried to keep the house as inkeeping with its time as possible, and the flats could easily be converted back.We would like someone to take it on who would like to restore it to a family home, In a way it belongs to Aylesbury and it needs looking after properly.”