Braywood House was originally built for the Belgian Ambassador Jean Van de Weyer and his wife. It has a rich and interesting history dating back to 1861 when architect Talbot Bury built the vicarage and original church, then called All Saints Church, after successfully designing New Lodge, a 55 acre hunting lodge that sits directly opposite Braywood House for the same family. The land was promised to the Van de Weyers by Queen Victoria herself and she visited the site for tea when the building was complete. A true piece of royal history.
Talbot Bury was a renowned architect of the time, most of his work was ecclesiastical and during his career he built and restored 74 beautiful churches and vicarages including our very own.
Jean- Sylvian van de Weyer (1802-1874), was a Belgian politician and later, the Belgian minister at the Court of St. James, effectively undertaking the role of ambassador to the United Kingdom. In 1839 he married Elizabeth Bates and had two sons and five daughters who were brought up in Marylebone and on their county estate in Winkfield, spanning to include Braywood House and its stunning open land and forest.
Van de Weyers work helped the family to establish close royal connections and visits by Queen Victoria and other members of her court were frequent. Queen Victoria would often visit the church from the Windsor Great Park and come across the bridge into Braywood House in her carriage to visit the church. Queen Victoria is reported to have visited often, sometimes with her children and established a close bond with the Van de Weyers. It is believed Queen Victoria was so fond of the land that she planted trees down the driveway.
The royal connection ran deep between the Van de Weyers and Queen Victoria with their daughter Louise acting as the Maid of Honour for the Queen herself and her elder sister was lucky enough to have the Queen as her Godmother.
Unfortunately the church itself was demolished in the 1960’s, however, the vicarage still stands as Braywood House.
There are 23 graves in a shady part of the garden with some of those graves belonging to Jean Van de Weyer, his wife and four of their children.
It’s a breathtaking walk through history strolling through the gardens and thinking of the Van de Weyers and their children enjoying Braywood House and the land almost as much as we enjoy it today. Retrace Queen Victoria’s footsteps, visit the house and spend time looking at the Van de Weyers graves while feeling like a true royal yourself in the most opulent surroundings.