Holdenby Palace was built in 1583 by Sir Christopher Hatton, Lord Chancellor and favourite of Elizabeth I, whom she intimately called 'her lyddes' (the Earl of Leicester being her eyes).
Hatton built Holdenby - the largest private house in Elizabethan England - with 123 huge glass windows around two courtyards, specifically to honour his beloved Elizabeth. Hatton refused to live in the house prior to the Queen's first visit.
Hatton died a few short years after the completion of Holdenby, bankrupt and childless. The house passed to James I, who used it as a place of entertainment. For his son, Charles I, it became a prison. He was held here for 5 months in 1647 after his defeat in the Civil War. The King plotted to escape but Cromwell sent Cornet Joyce with 500 soldiers to remove him to safer custody and eventual execution.
After the Civil War, the Palace was sold to a Parliamentarian, Adam Baynes, who reduced the house to a single wing. After the Restoration in 1660, it reverted briefly to royal ownership
In 1709 it was bought by the Duke of Marlborough, since when it has descended down the female line to the Lowther family.
The Lowther family dates from 940AD and has produced more Members of Parliament than any other family in England. The present owners are James & Karen Lowther.