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       Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire

The building of Blenheim Palace..was originally intended to be a reward to John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, from a grateful nation for the duke's military triumphs against the French and Bavarian during the WAR of the Spanish Succession, culminating in the 1704 Battle of Blenheim.

(I have added some pictures of tapestry depicting that famous battle) 

However, soon after its construction began, the palace became the subject of political infighting; this led to Marlborough's exile and the fall from power of his duchess.

We had a pleasant drive to the castle and then visited Churchill's grave. in Bladon before a brief stop in Oxford and then back to London..  


Here we are in the courtyard just before entering this fabulous palace.

The Long Library organ was built in 1891 by the famous London firm of Henry Willis & Sons at a cost of £3,669.

It replaced a previous organ built in 1888 which was removed to St Swithun's church, Hither Green. Originally erected in the central bay, with its back to the water terraces, it was moved to the northwestern end of the library in 1902 and made a few tonal additions and, the following year, cleaned it. The Duke of the time is said to have frequently sat at the organ bench and pretended to play the organ to his guests and they would applaud at the end.

This practice is said to have been halted abruptly when the player started before the Duke had reached the organ.

This famous instrument is regularly maintained and is played by visiting organists throughout the year, but its condition is declining: a fundraising campaign has been launched for its complete restoration..

Beautiful tapestry depicting
the War of the Spanish Succession 

Yes, that's a painting of LOUIS XIV.

Louis and the Duke had been friends for a while...

During the War of the Spanish Succession  Churchill gained a reputation as a capable military commander, and in 1702 he was elevated to the dukedom of Marlborough.
During the war he won series of victories, including the Battle of Blenheim (1704).
For his victory at Blenheim,
the Crown bestowed upon Marlborough the tenancy of the royal manor of Hensington (situated on the site of Woodstock) to site the new palace, and Parliament voted a substantial sum of money towards its creation. The rent due to the Crown for the land was set at the peppercorn rent or quit-rent of one copy of the French royal flag to be tendered to the Monarch annually on the anniversary of the Battle of Blenheim. This flag is displayed by the Monarch on a 17th-century French writing table in Windsor Castle.
Churchill's famous "overalls" and shoes.