AGM 2021

The 2021 AGM will be held on Tuesday 13 April at 7:30pm via Zoom.


Annual Lecture

Unfortunately, we have had to take the decision to postpone the Annual Lecture until Covid restrictions permit.

The Friends of Audley End Annual Lecture


Venue : Friends Meeting House, High Street, Saffron Walden

Friday 20th March 2020 at 7.45pm


The speaker is Dr Oliver Cox, Heritage Engagement Fellow at the University of Oxford, The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities


The Horse and the Country House


Horses were crucial to sustaining and enabling life in the English country house. Horse power brought stone to build the house, pulled the wagons filled with paintings and decorative art to express the owner’s taste and sophistication, pulled the ploughs that farmed the estate or the wagons to extract coal and minerals, brought new and exotic foods from the city, and most importantly house guests to marvel and these statements of power, wealth and influence.

However, the history of the horse and the country house remains curiously under-researched. In this richly illustrated lecture, Dr Oliver Cox, suggests how we might enrich our historical understanding and our contemporary experience of country houses, through bringing horses and houses back together. It is hoped that the lecture will include references to the Audley End estate.


Ticket £10


Tickets will be available from the Tourist Office in Market Place in February 2020


Previous Events and Annual Lectures


'Cabinets of Curiosity : lifting the lid on Audley End's hidden collections'

A Private Tour for Friends led by the Curator, Dr. Peter Moore on Friday 30th August 2019. from 10am

NOTE : the date given in the newsletter of Friday 9th August has been changed since going to press, this event will now be held on Friday 30thAugust


Visitors to Audley End cannot fail to notice the grand works of art and spectacular pieces of furniture on display. However, the House is also home to many smaller, less conspicuous objects, tucked away in cabinets and cupboards. These artefacts tell a myriad of stories - often deeply personal - about the interests and collecting habits of family members over many generations. This special tour offers a rare opportunity to see some of these intimate objects close-up.

This visit will be during the time when the House is closed to visitors. Numbers will be restricted to 10 members and tickets will cost £10 each.

To apply for a ticket please send a cheque for £10 (payable to The Friends of Audley End), with an email address, telephone number and stamped self-addressed envelope to the Secretary at the address given in the newsletter. In the first instance you may email michaelpearson[at] to express interest.


The President's Invitation to Visit the Temple of Victory on Ring Hill - Thursday, 27th June 2019

At the kind invitation of our President, Mrs. Louise Newman, a visit is planned to the Iron Age fort and the Temple of Victory on Thursday, 27th June 2019 at 5.30pm. This area is not generally accessible to the public, as it is not controlled by English Heritage, but is part of the Audley End Estate. On a fine evening there is a beautiful view of Audley End House from the Temple.

The arrangement is for Friends to meet just inside the entrance to the Ring Wood, at the top of Chestnut Avenue, where cars can be parked, at 5.30pm. Depending on the weather, there will then be a guided walk to the Temple, via the Iron Age fort. Those who do not wish to walk can meet at the entrance and then drive up to the Temple. Our Chairman, Sarah Kirkpatrick, will then explain the significance of the Temple, built by Robert Adam, to celebrate the victory over the French in the Seven Years War (1756 - 1763).

This will be followed by refreshments, around the Temple.

There are a limited number of places on this visit. If you would like to reserve a place, please email Sarah Kirkpatrick by Saturday, 22nd June: sarahkirk1558[at]


The Friends of Audley End Annual Lecture took place on Friday 29th March 2019


Richard Griffin, second Baron Braybrooke, and his Grand Tour: cultural exploration, language learning and a family reunited

We learn relatively little about Richard Griffin (formerly Richard Aldworth Neville, 1750-1825), second Baron Braybrooke, when we visit or read about Audley End House. He seems to have spent limited time at the house and left it largely unchanged on his death. Recent work in the library by researchers from Cambridge University has thrown fascinating new light on this family member, including a European tour that was initiated in the wake of a bereavement and left a lasting personal and cultural legacy at Audley End. Richard’s experiences abroad have much to tell us about the importance of multiculturalism and multilingualism in eighteenth-century England.

The lecture was presented by Dr Abigail Brundin & Dr Dunstan Roberts. Abigail Brundin is a specialist in Italian and continental literature and culture, and Dunstan Roberts specialises in English literature and the history of libraries, both at the University of Cambridge. They are currently working on a project funded by the University of Cambridge to explore the early holdings in the library at Audley End House.



The Annual Lecture held in April 2018


Friday 9th March 2018, at the Friends Meeting House.


William Tomkins and the Landscape of Audley End, a lecture to be given by Dr Peter Moore, Curator of Collections, English Heritage London and East

This lecture re-examines the remarkable series of paintings by William Tomkins at Audley End, which record in detail the landscape surrounding the house in the late eighteenth-century. Their role within the rich visual history of the estate will be interrogated, and an expanded sense of their position within the broader narrative of British art history will also be provided.


Peter Moore is Curator of Collections, English Heritage and his remit includes being Curator of Collections at Audley End. He formerly worked as Curator at Gainsborough’s House; Assistant Curator of Pictures and Sculpture across the whole of the National Trust Collections; Researcher at the National Gallery. He completed an Art History PhD at the University of York, in partnership with Tate Britain, in 2013. He has published widely on 17th and 18th century visual arts.



The Annual Lecture held in April 2017


Professor Marilyn Palmer, MBE, PhD, FSA gave a talk about The Braybrookes at Audley End: pioneers of technological innovation


The first and third Barons Braybrooke at Audley End pioneered methods of comfort and convenience at Audley End considerably in advance of many other stately homes, introducing flushing toilets, pumped water and a very early bell system as well as the innovative Coal Gallery.


This talk, by Professor Marilyn Palmer, one of the authors of the book recently published by Historic England, Technology in the Country House, will explain and illustrate these developments. Marilyn Palmer is Emeritus Professor of Industrial Archaeology, University of Leicester.


Further information is available on the English Heritage website, Stories of England, in which Professor Marilyn Palmer & Ian West wrote about the pioneering technologies at Audley End -