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Appuldurcombe House
Appuldurcombe House is located in Isle of Wight
Shown within Isle of Wight
House information
Location Wroxall
Coordinates 50°37′03″N 1°13′59″W / 50.617633°N 1.233124°W / 50.617633; -1.233124Coordinates: 50°37′03″N 1°13′59″W / 50.617633°N 1.233124°W / 50.617633; -1.233124
Built 1702
Architect John James
Architectural style Baroque
Appuldurcombe House circa 1910

Appuldurcombe House (also spelt Appledorecombe or Appledore Combe) is the shell of a large 18th-century baroque country house of the Worsley family. The house is situated near to Wroxall on the Isle of Wight.

It is now managed by English Heritage and is open to the public. A small part of the large and 1.2 km² estate which once surrounded it is still intact, but other features of the estate are still visible in the surrounding farmland and nearby village of Wroxall, including the entrance to the park, the Freemantle Gate, now used only by farm animals and pedestrians.


Appuldurcombe began as a priory in 1100. It became a convent, then the Elizabethan home of the Leigh family. From there, the site came into the ownership of the Worsleys.

The present house was begun in 1702, replacing the large Tudor mansion bequeathed to Sir Robert Worsley. The architect was John James. Sir Robert never saw the house fully completed. He died on 29 July 1747.

The house was greatly extended in the 1770s by his great nephew Sir Richard Worsley. The newly extended mansion was where Sir Richard brought his new wife, whom he married ‘for love and £80,000’. Capability Brown was commissioned in 1779 to design the ornamental grounds at the same time as the extensions. A romantic ruined folly known as "Cooke’s Castle" was built on the hill opposite to improve the view.

During Sir Richard's time the house held a magnificent art collection, and was the setting for Sir Richard's entertaining of some of the most eminent figures of the age.

The ruined interior of Appuldurcombe House

The subsequent owner, Charles Anderson-Pelham, the 2nd Baron Yarborough (later first Earl of Yarborough), founder of the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes, made few changes to the house, and was quite happy to retain the property as a convenient base for his sailing activities. In 1855 the estate was sold. An unsuccessful business venture ran Appuldurcombe as an hotel, but with its failure, the house was then leased for use as a college for young gentlemen.

The house was inhabited for a few years in the early 20th century by the large community of Benedictine monks who had been exiled from Solesmes Abbey in France and were shortly to settle at Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wight. Troops were billeted in the house during both world wars. It was badly damaged in the Second World War, when a Dornier Do 217 that was engaged in a mine laying mission turned inland and dropped its final mine very close to the house on February 7, 1943 before crashing into St Martin's Down.

Although the house is now mainly a shell, its front section has been re-roofed and glazed, and a small part of the interior recreated. Today, the house has become well known as one of the most haunted places on the island, with frequent tales and claimed sightings of ghosts. These have included a phantom carriage parked outside the front of the house, brown-clad monks, dark shapes seen roaming the grounds, aa babies cry and claims of unseen hands going through pages of the visitor's book.[1]


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