Chute Family: The Vyne
The Vyne: Sherborne St John, Basingstoke, Hampshire

The Vyne
The Vyne
Sherborne St John
RG24 9HL
Tel: +44 (0)1256 881337

The Vyne was built in the early 16th century for Lord Sandys, Lord Chamberlain to Henry VIII. Lord Sandys is remarkable for managing to keep his own head during Henry’s reign, as he did not agree with the divorce from Catherine of Aragon or the persecution of Roman Catholics that followed. Sandys fought for the King in Spain, Guyenne, Flanders and Picardy and was appointed Treasurer of Calais in 1517 and in 1518 was made a Knight of the Garter. Sandys became Lord Sandys of The Vyne in 1523 and was appointed Lord Chamberlain in 1526. Lord Sandys died at about the age of 70 and was buried in the now ruined chapel of the Holy Trinity at Basingstoke, part of the chapel of the Holy Ghost.

Lord Sandys’ son Thomas succeeded his father, but obviously he had little influence or achieved anything of note, as there is a paucity of information about him. Thomas’s son died before him and so the title and the property went to his grandson William. William entertained Queen Elizabeth at The Vyne in 1569 and it was here that she ordered the arrest of Mary Queen of Scots.

During the siege of Basing House, destroyed in the English Civil War, Cromwell’s Parliamentary troops were garrisoned at The Vyne. The Civil War left the Sandys family, short of money and they were forced to sell The Vyne and move to Mottisfont Abbey, which was given to the 1st Lord Sandys by Henry VIII.

The Sandys family sold the house in 1653 to Chaloner Chute, a barrister of the Middle Temple, who enjoyed a reputation as a moderator in a divided country. The Vyne passed to his son, another Chaloner, who married his step sister Catherine. Their younger son Edward collected the Queen Anne furniture and the Soho tapestries that are on display in the house. Upon Edward’s death in 1754 the estate went to his brother John and he renovated the hall and staircase, leaving it a long while before remodelling the house itself. The estate remained in the Chute family, until Charles Chute bequeathed it to the National Trust in 1956."



The Vyne was built in the 16th century for Lord Sandys, Henry VIII's Lord Chamberlain. It then became home to the Chute family for more than 300 years.

Through the artistic and aesthetic interests of its various owners, it has been at the cutting edge of the development of country house architecture, interior design and taste.

The house has a long and subtle history, which has been respected and imaginatively re-interpreted by a succession of owners over the last five centuries.

The Vyne is unusual in that the furnishings and personal affects are indigenous to the House, given to the National Trust in 1958.

Like many medieval foundations, The Vyne stands on low-lying ground and near water. The Shir brook was transformed into a spectacular lake setting for the north front in the 18th century.

The irregular pattern of brickwork, ranging in colour from pale to deep red, reveals how much the exterior has been altered, with symmetrical sash windows imposed on an earlier, more random arrangement.

In the mid-17th century, it acquired the classical portico on the north front (believed to be the first of its kind on a domestic building in England). In the late 18th century a dramatic Palladian staircase hall was designed by the owner, John Chute.

The chapel

The fascinating Tudor chapel houses Renaissance stained glass, exquisite 16th-century Flemish Majolica tiles and an elegant 18th-century tomb chamber. There is also a wealth of fine furniture, textiles and oak panelling dating back to c1521.

The chapel, built between 1518 and 1527, is of a magnificence not recorded outside the royal palaces of Tudor England. The early 16th-century stained glass in the east windows rivals that commissioned by Henry VIII for King's College Chapel, Cambridge.

Other interesting features at The Vyne include the double galleries, one set above the other. The upper Oak Gallery is one of the very few long galleries surviving from the first half of the 16th century and the most richly decorated. Each of the linen-fold oak panels is embellished with carved emblems of the senior figures of the court of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon.

The Stone Gallery

The lower Stone Gallery occupies the ground floor of the west wing and may have been a single space since Tudor times. Recent archaeological work has revealed a doorway leading to a demolished octagonal tower at the south-west corner which once gave access to the Oak Gallery and larger Tudor windows, now partially blocked up, on the east and west walls.

Since Tudor times, it was probably used as a dormitory for guests' servants. In 1753, Anthony Chute had it paved with Portland stone 'with Black marble Dotts' and a black marble border.

Orange and myrtle trees were kept there and guests remarked on how pleasant it was to walk in 'the greenhouse' in the winter. When Wiggett Chute moved to The Vyne in 1842, he repaired the floor and installed the heating system. The room quickly became a playroom for his children."


The Vyne

"The Vyne was built in the early 16th century by William Sandys, later Lord Sandys of the Vyne, who was Henry VIII's Lord Chamberlain. Henry VIII visited the house several times and Elizabeth I was also a visitor.

During the Civil War the house was a Parliamentarian stronghold. However, that struggle reduced the family's fortune considerably and the 6th Lord Sandys was forced to sell the house in 1653 and retreat to his other home at Mottisfont Abbey.

The Vyne was bought by Chaloner Chute a wealthy barrister who later became a Member of Parliament and Speaker of the House. He carried out various alterations to the house before his death in 1659 including adding the portico.

This was probably designed by John Webb and when it was added in 1654 was the first of its kind in England. Chaloner Chute's grandson Edward was responsible for the collection of Soho tapestries and Queen Ann furniture on display in the house. Edward's son John designed the magnificent Paladian Staircase Hall. He was a friend of Horace Walpole and the Strawberry Parlour was named after Walpole's house Strawberry Hill. This room was reserved for Walpole's use on his visits to The Vyne and today it displays drawings and prints relating to the two friends.

The whole of the ground floor of the west wing is taken up by the Stone Gallery which contains a collection of busts and statues. The Further Drawing Room has a fine plaster ceiling. The Ante Room houses a collection of porcelain and china and the Large Drawing Room has a carved fireplace painted to imitate stone. The Dining Room retains the original Elizabethan wood panelling. The Tudor Chapel, with its Renaissance glass, is one of the most perfect private chapels in England.

In around 1770 John Chute built the tomb chamber as a memorial to his ancestor Chaloner Chute. The house remained in the Chute family until it was bequeathed to the National Trust by Sir Charles Chute who died in 1956.

In the grounds wide lawns stretch down from the house to a lake. The beautiful gardens contain herbaceous borders, a wild garden, lawns, lakes and woodland walks.


Francis Chute's long-awaited book focusing on the Chute Family of the Vyne in Great Britain is now available for purchase from the Woodfield Publishing Company, which does ship internationally.

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