Claydon has been the ancestral home of the Verney family since 1620. The church of All Saints, Middle Claydon lies less than 50 yards from the house and contains many memorials to the Verney family: among them Sir Edmund Verney, who was chief standard bearer to King Charles I during the English Civil War.[ Sir Edmund was slain at the Battle of Edgehill on 23 October 1642 defending the standard. His ghost is reputed to haunt the house. In 1661, following theRestoration of the Monarchy, Sir Edmund’s son (Sir Ralph Verney) was awarded a baronetcy by King Charles II for his and his father’s loyalty and bravery during the preceding period of unrest. He was later, in 1703, made Viscount of Fermanagh and his son was, in 1743, created an Earl.
The original house was rebuilt by Ralph 2nd Earl Verney between 1757 and 1771. The house as it stands today is a fraction of its original planned size. The original conception was of a mansion to rival the richer Earl Temple’s huge mansion at Stowe, a few miles away near Buckingham.
All Saints’ parish church, Middle Claydon, in the grounds of Claydon House
What remains today is the ‘west wing’; this at one time had an identical twin, which contained the ballroom, and other state apartments. The twin wings were separated by a huge colonnaded rotunda surmounted by acupola. The 2nd Lord Verney ran into financial problems before the latter two wings were entirely completed, and had to spend the final years of his life on the continent to escape his creditors. Following his death in 1792 his estate was inherited by his niece Mary Verney (later created Baroness Fermanagh, in the second creation): a parsimonious woman, unlike her extravagant uncle, she had the house reduced to its present size.
The present Verney family, who still live in the later red-brick south wing, are the descendants of Sir Harry Calvert, 2nd Baronet who inherited the house in 1827. He was very tenuously related to the Verneys only through marriage. However, he adopted the name Verney on inheriting. The house was given to the National Trust in 1956 by Sir Ralph Verney, 5th Baronet. His son, Sir Edmund Verney, 6th Baronet, a former High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, lives in the house today.
A fine Palladian House was built in Botolph Claydon as the Dower house for the Verney Estate in the mid 18th century