Badminton House  by: William Kent

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  • Badminton House is a large country house in Gloucestershire, England, and has been the principal seat of the Dukes of Beaufort since the late 17th century, when the family moved from Raglan Castle, which had been ruined in the English Civil War. In 1612 Edward Somerset, the 4th Earl of Worcester, bought from Nicholas Boteler his manors of Great and Little Badminton, called 'Madmintune' in the Domesday Book while one century earlier the name 'Badimyncgtun' was recorded, held by that family since 1275. Edward Somerset's 3rd son Sir Thomas Somerset modernized the old house in the late 1620s, and built a new T-shaped gabled range. Evidence suggests he also built up on the present north and west fronts. The 3rd Duke of Beaufort adapted Sir Thomas Somerset's house by incorporating his several gabled ranges around the courtyard and extending the old house eastwards to provide a new set of domestic apartments. He raised a grand Jonesian centrepiece on the north front. The two bay flanking elevations were five storeys high, and this was modified in 1713 when reduced to three storeys. The architect William Kent renovated and extended the house in the Palladian style in the early 18th century, but many earlier elements remain. The sport of badminton was re-introduced from British India and popularised at the house, hence the sport's name.
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