History and Stories

Audley End Collection

When Audley End was built by Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Suffolk, between 1605 and 1614, it was the size of a palace, suitable for a royal visit. Only the architectural and interior features from this period survive, not the furnishings. In 1762, when Sir John Griffin Griffin inherited the house from his aunt, he employed the architect Robert Adam to create a suite of furnished reception rooms. The service areas to the north of the house are now dressed to demonstrate their original use, from the kitchens to larders and laundries.

The painting collection was mostly put together by Richard, 3rd Baron Braybrooke. It contains a large number of early English portraits, as well as many Old Masters. Additional paintings came to the collection when Braybrooke married Lady Jane Cornwallis in 1819. When he inherited the house in 1825, he also developed the furnishings and recreated the Jacobean state rooms.

The 4th Baron was an archaeologist and contributed one of the best surviving taxidermy collections in the country to the treasures of the house. Although Audley End is in the care of English Heritage, much of its collection still belongs to the Braybrooke family.

Find out more about Audley End


    Read a full account of Audley End’s long and varied history, from the priory founded on the site in the 12th century to the present day.

  • Four Centuries of Change

    Explore architectural highlights of Audley End and close-up views of portraits that hang in the house with this Google Arts and Culture exhibit.

  • Description of Audley End

    Read a description of this impressive house and its gardens, which have been shaped by various owners over the centuries.

  • Why does Audley End matter?

    Find out why Audley End is a site of such value, both for the architecture and contents of the house and for its 18th-century landscape.

  • Research on Audley End

    Read a summary of the current state of research on Audley End, with details of excavations, investigations and areas for future research.

  • Sources for Audley End

    Use this list of written, visual and material sources for our knowledge and understanding of Audley End for further research into its history.


    The guidebook offers a complete tour and history of the house and gardens, and brings the house to life with stunning photos and historic images.

  • More histories

    Delve into our history pages to discover more about our sites, how they have changed over time, and who made them what they are today.

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