Queen Anne's Summerhouse

Shuttleworth, Old Warden


The outstandingly fine brickwork of this satisfyingly foursquare folly makes it likely to date from the early eighteenth century, as its name suggests.

  • Dogs AllowedDogs Allowed
  • Bed in Living RoomBed in Living Room
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • BathBath
  • RemoteRemote

Beds 1 Double

5 nights
£1165 equivalent to £116.50 per person, per night

A misleading date stone for an 18th-century folly

This satisfyingly foursquare folly bears a date stone for 1878 and the clasped gauntlet of the Shuttleworth family – but this is misleading. Its exceptionally fine rubbed brickwork is far too good for the 1870s and its name gives the clue to its origins. In 1712, Queen Anne knighted Samuel Ongley, who owned the estate at Old Warden, an event that provides the most likely explanation for the building of the folly. The summerhouse earned its date stone when it was renovated in 1878 by Joseph Shuttleworth, who added the pale terracotta balustrade. It then seems to have served as a pavilion and summerhouse through the estate’s golden years, but was left without purpose in reluctant dereliction after the Second World War. Landmark restored it as a bedsit with kitchen, dining, sitting and sleeping on the ground floor. A spiral staircase leads down to the bathroom. You have access to a roof terrace.

At the hub of radiating avenues of trees

Surrounded by the flora and fauna of beautiful woodland, this is a magical spot. Sitting on the crest of the warren, the summerhouse once stood at the hub of radiating avenues of trees. One of these avenues provided views of the mansion, and we are working with the estate to re-open most of them. The Shuttleworth Estate at Old Warden is best known today for its collection of vintage aeroplanes, but its history stretches back far earlier. In the Middle Ages, the area belonged to Warden Abbey on the other side of today’s village (its remnants are another Landmark). In the early 18th century, Sir Samuel Ongley, a wealthy London linen draper, bought what would become the Shuttleworth Estate and it was his descendant who, in the 1820s, created the famous Swiss Garden and began the model village of Old Warden.


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Map & local info

Queen Anne’s Summerhouse stands in a clearing in the middle of a pine wood. The museums and gardens of the Shuttleworth estate are close by as is the model village of Old Warden. There is an excellent circular walk.

The world famous Shuttleworth Collection is home to 50 unique and original aeroplanes. Look out for special flying days which run from May until October. The Swiss Gardens at Shuttleworth are a tranquil Regency gem. 

Look out for the fantastic series of collections at The Higgins Bedford Museum

Luton Hoo Estate derives its name from the Anglo-Norse word meaning "the spur of the hill." The estate remains steeped in traditional values still today. The stunning walled garden is a must see. 

Knebworth House offers 500 years of history of the house and generations of changes made by the Lytton family.  

Take a look at our Pinterest Page for more information on things to see and do during your stay at the Summerhouse. 

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

See all our Landmarks at Old Warden

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Essential info
What you need to know about this building
  • Yes. You are welcome to bring up to two dogs. A charge of £20 per stay is made for each dog.

    Please contact booking enquiries if you have an assistance dog, for which there is no charge.
  • Via an estate track from the main road.
  • Bedford – 6 miles.
  • There are two parking spaces about 10m from the property.
  • There is a ground source heat pump system which serves radiators in the basement and underfloor heating in the main chamber. There is an open fire.
  • Unfortunately, there is currently no arrangement for the purchase and delivery of logs, however details of local sources will be provided with your order confirmation.
  • To check up-to-date mobile network coverage in the area, visit signalchecker.co.uk. Due to the location and structure of many of our buildings, signal strength may differ to those indicated.
  • The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc. There is also an electric cooker.
  • There is one bathroom with a bath.
  • The stairs are relatively steep and spiral.
  • There are open grounds. Shuttleworth is a working estate; there are footpaths through the area which pass close to the property.
  • Yes,  but we would ask that care is taken in inclement weather and that children and dogs are supervised when on the roof.
Booking and Payment
  • If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • The key arrangements will be included in the Further Infomation document which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • If your stay starts more than two months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy and The Bunk House at Llwyn Celyn must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • Our housekeeper will leave the key in a suitable place, the details of which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!
Staying at a Landmark
  • Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.  Further information on access when visiting Lundy can also be found here.
  • Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control. A charge of £20 per stay is made for each dog. Please contact booking enquiries if a registered assistance dog is supporting one of the guests, for which there is no charge.
  • Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Arrival is from 4pm and departure is by 10am.
  • We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visiting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).
  • Landmark’s electrical systems have not been designed to provide continuous power from one socket over several hours.  If an ordinary socket is used to charge an electric vehicle, there is significant risk of an electrical fire and consequent danger to life.  Therefore, we are unable to allow electric vehicle charging from most of our Landmarks at present.

    We are working to provide Type 2 Electric Vehicle charge points at our properties where there is private parking.  Where this is available, please request this facility when booking the property to ensure the outlet is enabled on your arrival.  There is a small charge to cover the cost of electricity provided.  Please book this facility in advance.
  • No, we do not allow smoking in any Landmark.
  • Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival. Except for the Llwyn Celyn Bunkhouse.
  • Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
    Except at Llwyn Celyn Bunk House where a password is available in the property when you arrive.
  • A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. Hairdryers are provided.

Once part of the lands owned by Warden Abbey

Queen Anne’s Summerhouse and Keeper’s Cottage stand in an area called the Warren on the Shuttleworth Estate. Before 1872, the Estate was known as Old Warden Park and was once part of the lands owned by Warden Abbey, which stood to the west of today’s Old Warden. After the Dissolution of Warden Abbey in 1537 by Henry VIII, part of the abbey became a mansion house. (This only surviving fragment of the abbey was restored in the 1970s, also by the Landmark Trust and is now let for holidays.)

The lands of Old Warden manor passed at first into royal hands, and then in the 1690s, various portions of land were consolidated as Old Warden Park by a rich linen draper called Samuel Ongley. It was almost certainly Samuel Ongley who built Queen Anne’s Summerhouse, in around 1713.

The Ongley family owned the Old Warden estate until 1872. In the late 18th century, Robert Henley, inheriting through his mother, became 1st Baron Ongley of Old Warden. It was his grandson, the 3rd Lord Ongley, who created the picturesque Swiss Garden on the other side of the estate (now restored and open to the public) and began to build the model village at Old Warden in the 1830s. However, by the 1870s the family’s wealth was failing and their line exhausted. In 1872, the estate was sold to another self-made man, Joseph Shuttleworth.

Joseph Shuttleworth was the son of a Lincolnshire shipwright who spotted the potential of steam. With Nathaniel Clayton, in 1842 he formed The Clayton & Shuttleworth Co., an iron foundry and engineering business that made mobile steam and traction engines. By 1872, when Joseph Shuttleworth came to Old Warden, the firm had branches throughout Europe and exported their engines all over the world. Shuttleworth employed architect Henry Clutton to demolish the old brick mansion and build him a new one. Shuttleworth took as his model Gawthorpe Hall in Lancashire, an early Jacobean seat of Shuttleworth namesakes but not, it seems, his ancestors. Clutton transformed its design into the ‘Jacobethan’ mansion that stands at Old Warden today.

Working with Clutton was a local architect called John Usher. Estate accounts show that it was Usher, rather than Clutton, who in 1877-8 designed and built Keeper’s Cottage, a short distance from the Summerhouse on the warren and today also a Landmark. Both Joseph Shuttleworth and his son Colonel Frank Shuttleworth (who inherited the estate in 1883) loved to shoot, and Old Warden became renowned for its pheasant and partridge shooting. Queen Anne’s Summerhouse perhaps provided the shooting party with a suitable setting for refreshments.

In 1940, Frank’s only son and heir, Richard Shuttleworth, died in a flying accident. His mother Dorothy decided to make the estate over to an educational trust in his memory and the mansion became a college for countryside-based studies. Both Queen Anne’s Summerhouse and Keeper’s Cottage became derelict, their repair beyond the resources of a trust devoted to other aims. Knowing about Landmark’s restoration of Warden Abbey on the neighbouring Whitbread Estate in the 1970s, in 2001 the Shuttleworth Trust approached the Landmark Trust to take on both Keeper’s Cottage and Queen Anne’s Summerhouse, offering generous donations towards their restoration costs.

History of Queen Anne’s Summerhouse

In 1712, Samuel Ongley was knighted by Queen Anne (who died in 1714) and it was almost certainly Ongley who built Queen Anne’s Summerhouse. The first documentary evidence of the building’s existence comes from a 1736 map and its fine brickwork also suggests an early 18th-century date. The summerhouse was built as a folly, a destination for picnics and walks, and to beautify the estate. It seems to have been built as a miniature mock-military redoubt, on an artificially created platform to enhance its views. Even in miniature, its scale seems somehow oversized, an effect typical of the English Baroque architecture of the early 18th century and of contemporary architects like John Vanbrugh and Nicholas Hawksmoor. Local tradition attributes the design to Thomas Archer, a leading exponent of the English Baroque. This is largely on the basis of his involvement at Wrest Park at nearby Silsoe, but no reliable evidence for this has yet come to light.

The Summerhouse is built of exceptionally fine ‘gauged’ brickwork, a technique in which each brick is rubbed to shape. The mortar joints between the bricks are also incredibly fine, carefully lined-out in near pure lime putty and no more than 1-2 mm wide. It is exceptionally fine craftsmanship.

The large main chamber was probably used for elegant refreshments, prepared by servants in the brick vaulted basement below. Two of the turret alcoves in this chamber held ‘buffets,’ sets of shelves on which china could be displayed. There was always a fireplace in the main chamber, a third turret being used for the flue. The fourth turret held a spiral staircase that led up to the roof terrace, where views could be enjoyed of the mansion and surrounding countryside. The rooftop sections of two turrets were tiny pavilions in their own right, the inside of their domes plastered. In planting the woods on his estate, Ongley set out a series of avenues radiating from the Summerhouse and most remain today even though much of the coniferous planting now apparent was planted later. The railings which surround the Summerhouse date from the late 18th century, as they are made of dry ‘puddle’ iron, a forging technique not developed until the 1780s.

The folly was repaired on several occasions through its life, most visibly in 1878 when Joseph Shuttleworth commissioned John Usher to design its terracotta balustrade and gave it its misleading datestone. After 1945, however, the building fell out of use and into dereliction. When Landmark took out a lease on it, the folly’s roof had fallen in. Its foursquare design gave it a deceptive appearance of solidity, but the brick skin was crumbling and separating from the inner core. Windows and doors were missing and the building at risk from vandals. It had no water or electricity.

A short history of Queen Anne's Summerhouse

Read the full history album for Queen Anne's Summerhouse


A temporary roof

It took Landmark several years to raise the funds for the restoration and a temporary roof was erected during this time to allow the building to dry out. It was then wrapped against the elements once work began on site. The exceptional quality of the brickwork called for conservation skills of the highest order, delicately patching in mortar and slip repairs, and keeping actual replacement to a minimum. A bursary funded by English Heritage allowed two bricklayers to learn some of these conservation skills.

Replacement bricks were specially made to match the originals. The turrets were partially dismantled and rebuilt, and a new, sand-cast lead roof was installed. The staircase was rebuilt and the internal joinery recreated according to fragments found on site. Students from the City & Guilds of London Art School reproduced the decorative carved wooden door brackets, using old photos as evidence. The internal paint colours are based on the early 18th-century scheme discovered through paint analysis.

Traditional craftsmen contributed throughout: haired lime plaster has been used on the walls; masons replaced the stone plinth which surrounds the building, the steps and the turret copings; the railings were individually repaired by blacksmiths. The building and its water are heated by a ground source heat pump which recovers latent heat from the ground via 90 metre boreholes. Such systems require much less electricity than conventional heating, and it is the first such system in a Landmark. The floor in the main chamber is Ancaster stone and the circular turret kitchen was created by Landmark’s furnishing team.

Today, Queen Anne’s Summerhouse has returned to its purpose as a building for leisure. It is furnished as an elegant bedsit, with a bathroom in the brick vaulted basement where servants may once have prepared refreshments. In Landmark’s care, the building will never again fall into disrepair.

Supporters of Queen Anne’s Summerhouse

We are hugely grateful to those who have supported Queen Anne’s Summerhouse, including:

Patrons and other generous supporters:
Mr A Bowen, Dr A Camp, The Hon Elizabeth Cayzer, Mr R Eaton, Mr and Mrs A Froggatt, Mr and Mrs M Gwinnell, Mrs J James, Mrs D Jennings,  Dr M Jones, Mr and Mrs S Jordan, Ms S Mooney, Dr N Silverston, Mrs E Smith, Mr T Syder

Charitable Trusts and Foundations:
The Fagus Anstruther Memorial Trust, Aurelius Charitable Trust, H de C Hastings Trust, The Leche Trust, The Pilgrim Trust, Rotary Club of Biggleswade Ivel, The Shuttleworth Trust, Steel Charitable Trust, Hazel M Wood Charitable Trust


Statutory Grants:
Mid-Beds District Council


We would also like to thank those who have chosen to remain anonymous, and the many other donors who supported the appeal.

Availability & booking

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A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.