Syon House

by Nick

Syon House – seat of the duke of Northumberland – taken from the Thames at dusk yesterday.

Syon sits on the site of a medieval abbey, named after Mount Zion. After the dissolution of the monasteries, the house was built by the 1st Duke of Somerset in the Italian style.  100 years later it played an important role in civil war politics: at the end of July 1647, as Westminster erupted with rioting and came under Presbyterian control, Syon was where the Independent grandees like Northumberland, Saye and Sele, Nathaniel Fiennes, Oliver St John and John Evelyn met to sketch out their tactics for restoring themselves and the army to prominence in London.

Below is what it looked like then, before it was remodelled in the 1760s by Robert Adam and Capability Brown. As you can see it didn’t have the Percy lion that now perches on top of the battlements.