Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire

History of Blenheim Palace

Once the birthplace of a little known Winston Churchill and now the home of the 12th Duke of Malborough, this impressive mansion is set within 2100 acres of formal gardens and parkland.

John Churchill, First Duke of Marlborough
John Churchill, First Duke of Marlborough

The mansion was originally built as a show of victory for the French during the Spanish Succession Wars. It was given to the first Duke of Malborough as a gift from the Queen for performing well in battle as a commander in 1704.

However, the Duchess of Malborough was not happy living in such a grand building, being such a graceful strong-willed woman. She often argued with builders and architects and had fallen out of favour with the Queen with her requests.

The funds eventually dried up, and the building was halted in 1712. The palace then had to be completed with funding from the Duke’s pocket.

Several Dukes and Duchesses have expanded and updated the palace over the years, and perhaps the most significant renovation was that of the Great Court. The 9th Duke completely restored the court by replanting the entrance avenue and grand avenue. He also redecorated the entire State Rooms.

During the World Wars, it had its many uses to help with the war effort. Sir Winston Churchill spent a lot of time here during the years and was good friends with the 9th Duke and had close connections to the family as he was the grandson of the 7th Duke.

The mansion is now classed as a World Heritage site and is under the care of the current Duke of Malborough.

Reported Ghosts at Blenheim Palace

The current owner of Blenheim Palace, the 12th Duke of Malborough, Charles James Spencer-Churchill, knows very the history of hauntings at Blenheim Palace. So much so that he’s occasionally opened his doors to allow ghost hunters inside for an evening.

The Dean Jones Room

For generations, the Dean Jones Room has been regarded as the most active room for paranormal activity, supposedly haunted by an old chaplain to the first Duke of Malborough, who has been sighted on multiple occasions. He’s often seen sitting in a chair quietly reading his bible.

There’s a good chance Winston Churchill would have come across him during his time here.

The Soldier

The palace is also supposedly haunted by the ghost of a Roundhead soldier who has been seen huddled over near the fireplace in one of the bedrooms and walking the corridors. Although the timeline of this ghost doesn’t seem to fit with the building, it’s entirely possible he was here on the land, echoing through time since his demise during the Civil War.

The Poltergeist

Another report is that of poltergeist activity. Royal commissioners were in the palace one day when an unseen presence forced them out. There was a sudden powerful gust of wind during a meeting when books and objects began flying off the shelves, and furniture began to move around the room. Terrifying the commissioners, they all fled the palace, never to return!

Related pages: The 8 Most Haunted Places in Oxfordshire

Gallery

Visiting Blenheim Palace

You can visit Blenheim Palace any time of year. The Palace, Park, and Gardens can be booked together £29.50 for Adults, £16.50 for children, £28.00 for concessions, students are £25.00, and family tickets can be purchased for £75.00.

Tours include the Palace State Rooms, Sir Winston Churchill’s Birthroom, ‘Upstair’s’ Tour, ‘Downstair’s’ Tour, Lights, Camera, Action! Trail, and more.

Address: Woodstock OX20 1PP

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