Houghton House

Houghton House is a ruined 17th century mansion just north of Ampthill in Bedfordshire.

Photo on Houghton House in Bedfordshire

The house was built in 1615 for Mary Herbert, Dowager Countess of Pembroke, although she died of smallpox just a few years later in 1625.  The property then passed to Thomas Bruce, 1st Earl of Elgin before being acquired in 1738 by John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford. In 1794, his grandson Francis Russell stripped the House of its furnishings and removed the roof. He died seven years later, leaving no heir. The Grade 1 listed building is currently maintained by English Heritage.

Old buildings can make fascinating subjects for the photographer and Houghton House is no exception, with it’s crumbling towers and decayed features. There are lots of shapes and forms that you can use in composition.

Windows and doorways provide useful framing devices.

Unfortunately the weather was somewhat changeable on the day I visited, with rapidly alternating sunshine and showers. However, during one downpour I found a large fireplace in which to shelter from the rain, giving me the opportunity for an interesting chimney shot.

Many visitors over the years have left their mark around the site, some recent, some not.

Situated on a ridge just north of Ampthill, the site commands excellent views across the Vale of Marston.