Trumpeter’s House lies between the Thames and Richmond Green on the historic grounds of Richmond Palace
Trumpeter’s House was originally known as Trumpeting house, thanks to the two stone Trumpeters situated outside which originally came from Richmond Palace. The old name remained until the early 19th century.
The wall between Asgill House and Trumpeters House was once Richmond Palace’s outer wall. The centre bloc (excluding the grand portico) was a typical double width house and its style was possibly influenced by Wren’s Chelsea Hospital. John Yeomans, a local master bricklayer, is thought to have been the architect and the house was probably built on the site of the old palace gatehouse. The present portico and the new wings were added sometime between 1736 and 1756.
The house was built in about 1703 for the diplomat, Richard Hill. After studying at St John’s College, Cambridge, he became a Fellow there, as well as being ordained, before becoming a tutor to the Burlington family, whose villa was at Chiswick. He then had a total career change and became deputy to Richard Jones, the Earl of Ranelagh, who was paymaster-general to the army in Flanders during the wars against France, allowing Hill to amass a large fortune. His father is reported to have said: ‘My son Dick makes money very fast: God send that he gets it honestly’. Hill was sent on a number of important diplomatic missions during these wars. He He later became the Provost of Eton and a member of the Royal Society.
Hill never married and died in Richmond in 1727, bequeathing Trumpeter’s House to his nephew, Samuel Barbour, who sold it to Lewis Way in 1730 and the house remained in the Way family until 1801, when a number of different families owned it. One of the most interesting tenants was Prince Metternich, the former Chancellor of Austria and architect of the Congress of Vienna in 1815. He was known for his reactionary views and had to flee Austria in 1848 to escape the uprisings there.
During World War II it became the American Red Cross Day Club, but they had to move out in August 1944 after the house suffered bomb damage. In the early 1950s it was converted into apartments.
The two-acre garden is sometimes open to visitors (see Open Gardens on pg 23). The garden was replanted with plants from Elizabethan times by the current owner and the ancient Tudor walls are covered with roses and climbers.
(c) John Moses