Standing on the Shuttleworth estate in Old Warden and is owned by the Shuttleworth Trust. It is a folly originally used for picnics and excursions. In recent years the folly has become derelict but in 2008-09 it was restored by the Landmark Trust for all to enjoy again.
It was built in and around 1714 when the estate was owned by Samuel Ongley a linen draper from London. In 1712 Ongley was knighted by Queen Anne and it seems he named the building after her. The estate remained in the hands of the Ongleys until 1872 when it was bought by Joseph Shuttleworth a wealthy industrialist from Lincolnshire who made his money manufacturing steam traction engines.
Joseph Shuttleworth rebuilt the mansion and in 1878 refurbished Queen Anne's Summerhouse. Bedford Architect John Usher designed the terracotta balustrade and date stone markers using the Shuttleworth Crest. Joseph's son Frank Shuttleworth hosted many a country house weekend on the estate with the summerhose as its focus.
The golden years came to an end in 1940 when the sole heir Richard Shuttleworth died in a flying accident in World War II the Shuttleworth trust and the college were set up in his memory and then the Queen Anne Summer gradually fell into disrepair.
The Shuttleworth Trust approached the Landmark trust to help restore the summerhouse to its former glory and give it a new spark of life. Traditional craft skills and materials were needed for all of the restoration project, although modern technology now provides environmentally friendly ground source heating for those cooler evenings in the wooded glade.
- - Much of the Game Keeper's cottage below follows a parallel story to Queen Anne's Summerhouse
When Joseph Shuttleworth bought the old Warden Estate in 1872 he re-built the mansion house and added
cottages to estate and to the so called model village of Old Warden. He also built up the estate's reputation for shotting. One of the model cottages he built was Keeper's Cottage for his Gamekeeper.
Keeper's Cottage was designed and built by Bedford architect John Usher in 1877-78. It was a home for the head gamekeeper on the eseate and his family. Outbuildings gave the gamekeeper everything he needed; earth closet, washhouse, an area to rear pheasant chicks and a kennel for his dogs.
During the season friends of the Shuttleworths would come for the weekend to shoot on the estate. Hundreds of birds might have been shot each weekend all reared specially by the gamekeeper.
In 1940 Richard Shuttleworth heir to the estate was killed in a flying accident during World War II. After the war, life on the estate changed. Richards mother made the estate into an educational trust in his memory. The mansion house became a college for agriculture and land based subjects. There was no more need for gamekeepers and the cottage fell into disrepair and dereliction. The Shuttleworth Trust at the time could not afford to renovate so in 2002 they approched the Landmark Trust for help. Landmark Trust is a national buildings preservation charity that rescues historic buildings at risk and give them a new future by offering them as inspirational places to stay.
The cottage is now restored to its former glory thanks to the Landmark Trust and by the permission of the
Shuttleworth estate for April to October there is access to a marked footpath loop in the heart of Warden Wood just above the village High Street that passes the Keeper's Cottage and Queen Anne's Summer House - Please respect the privacy of those habiting the buildings during the season... thank you.
You can now stay on the tranquil Shuttleworth Estate, visit the local areas of interest and join in with the Shuttleworth weekend events. Queen Anne's Summerhouse is available for self catering holidays for up to two people and Keeper's Cottage is available for up to four people. The letting income pays for the ongoing preservation and maintenance.