Foxwarren Park. c.1860. Designed by Charles Buxton with the assistance of Frederick Barnes. Near Cobham, Surrey. From The Illustrated London News of 30 June 1860, p. 640, with thanks to (antique prints and maps sellers). Text by Jacqueline Banerjee

Charles Buxton, like his father Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, was in the brewing industry. He was also an active MP. Writing in 1856, he expressed the hope that the house he was then designing for himself would "turn out beautiful and picturesque" (qtd. in Nairn and Pevsner 597); but Ian Nairn and Nikolaus Pevsner find it quite otherwise, describing it as "big and violent, with crow-stepped gables and glowing diaper polychrome brickwork throughout" (246).

Ernest H. Shepard, the illustrator of Kenneth Grahame's much-loved children's classic The Wind in the Willows (1908), was more appreciative. He left it on record that he modelled Toad Hall on "a house near Cobham" which was "a mock Gothic Victorian house, an outstanding example of the period" (qtd. in Taylor 64). Although his illustration of Toad Hall early in Chapter 2 only bears a general resemblance to the main house, the gate of one of the former lodges is faithfully copied in the third illustration of Chapter 11. The gatepost now sports a plaque to this effect.

The former lodges at either side of the Foxwarren Park estate are in the same eye-catching style as the main house.

Other Views


Entry for the Buxton family in the Peerage. Viewed 28 August 2008.

Nairn, Ian and Nikolaus Pevsner, Nikolaus. The Buildings of England: Surrey. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2nd ed. 1971.

Taylor, David C. Cobham Houses and Their Occupants: A Thousand Years of History. Cobham: Appleton, 1999.

Victorian Web Homepage Visual Arts Architecture

Last modified 31 August 2008