Politics And Nobility - A Home With A History
The four-century history of the house started in 1678 when the second Earl of Clarendon built Swallowfield Park on the site of what is thought to have been four separate smaller houses. In 1719 it was passed to Thomas 'Diamond' Pitt, great grandfather of former Prime Minister, William Pitt. In 1820 the house was purchased by Sir Henry Russell, in whose family it remained until 1965. Sir Henry's second son, Charles Russell, was MP for Reading from 1830-1837 and 1841-1847. He played an important part in the development of the Great Western Railway.
Reminders of history are everywhere. The arms and ciphers of the second Earl of Clarendon form part of the decorative plaster ceiling work in the oval vestibule in the main house, while a small red brick bridge over the River Blackwater on the main drive bears the date 1722 and the initial of Thomas "Diamond" Pitt.