Tittenhurst Park

This Tittenhurst Park blog is dedicated to John Lennon's home in Sunningdale, near Ascot, Berkshire between 1969 and 1971. The aim is to gather as much material relating to the estate as possible - obviously with the emphasis on the Lennon-era, but also concerning Tittenhurst Park as it was before and after John Lennon's ownership. In addition, there will be posts about and associated with the Beatles, plus any other rubbish I feel like. The blog is purely meant for the entertainment of anyone (assuming there is actually anyone) who, like me, has an unhealthy interest in one particular Georgian mansion. Those with anything interesting to contribute in the way of links, photos, scans, stories etc. please do contact me: tittenhurstlennon@gmail.com
(Legal: this blog is strictly non-commercial. All material is the property of the photographer/artist/copyright holder concerned. Any such who wishes a picture etc to be removed should contact me and I will do so. Alternatively, if someone is happy to see their photo on here, but would like a credit/link then let me know and I'll be happy to provide one).


John Lennon at Tittenhurst Park

On May 22nd 1970, whilst John & Yoko were away in America, the Tittenhurst Park renovators called out the bomb squad when they discovered an unexploded incendiary shell. On 31st July 1970, Cynthia married Roberto Bassanini at Kensington Register office in London. Around the same time John and Yoko decided to leave Janov before their treatment was complete - There have been a number of very different reasons given as to why they came to this decision, one being that they didn't want to be filmed, but this was clearly not the case - they WERE filmed, all patients were, looking back at the videotapes of the sessions was an integral part of the therapy. Janov later suggested that immigration problems forced the issue, but as John & Yoko appear to have remained in the USA for a period after their treatment, the departure was probably down to the Lennon's deciding that they had gone as far as they felt they could go with it. From California the Lennon's headed for New York, eventually returning to England on September 24th by which time Yoko had suffered another miscarriage (in August) and John was now 28lbs heavier than when he left the UK back in April due to “eating 28 different colours of ice-cream”. The drug free period of lucid insight spawned their finest works, the soul-bearing cathartic twin Plastic Ono Band albums which would be recorded at Abbey Road in September and October 1970.
It was back at Tittenhurst that John saw his father for the final time when Alfred came to visit John on his 30th Birthday (Friday 9th October 1970), this was to be the only time John would meet his half brother, David Henry Lennon (born in Brighton, February 1969). John used this opportunity to finally unleash his pain and anger that he had oppressed for 24 years and he told his father to get out of his life. A reconciliation of sorts, over the telephone, occurred shortly before Alfred Lennon died in a Brighton hospital on the 1st April 1976 aged 63, by which time John had a 2nd half brother - Robin Francis Lennon (born in 1973) who he never met.
John's ex-wife Cynthia has suggested that Julian didn't see his father for 3 years (1971-74) because John failed to make any contact, however there is film of Julian at Tittenhurst in the summer of 1971 and this was only a short time before John and Yoko left the country for good, so perhaps the Atlantic ocean had as much to do with the breakdown in John and Julian's relationship as anything else. Years later, in a letter to his cousin Leila Harvey (dated 30th July 1977), John complained that Cynthia only allowed Julian to visit him twice a year and that she insisted on coming along herself, then he revealed that Cynthia had stopped Julian phoning him.
During 1971 the Lennon’s were spending a lot of their time trying to track down and gain custody of Yoko's daughter, this required many trips abroad especially to the United States. Although they didn’t know it at the time, Monday 30th August 1971 would be their final day together at Tittenhurst and indeed in England. The following day they left for New York in their long drawn out and ultimately unsuccessful Kyoko quest, never to return. John later said (in 1976) that his failure to gain custody of Kyoko was one of two regrets that he had in life, the other being the severing of the relationship with his father following Primal Therapy.
Back in England, the Lennon's team of assistants maintained Tittenhurst in the knowledge that John and Yoko, who would soon have a deportation order hanging over them, could return at any time. Finally, in September 1973 as John and Yoko were about to separate, Tittenhurst was sold, to Ringo Starr. Ringo lived here until early 1988, selling to the ruler of Abu Dhabi (Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan). In 1989/1990 the house and grounds underwent extensive rebuilding, including the erection of a three-metre-high security wall around the entire estate. During this £55 million renovation, almost all of the Lennon/Starkey fittings were scrapped.


  1. A century earlier, in 1869, the property was owned by Thomas Holloway, philanthropist and founder of two large institutions which he built nearby: Holloway Sanatorium in Virginia Water, Surrey, and Royal Holloway College, now known as Royal Holloway, London University in Englefield Green.

  2. Sunninghill Park was part of Windsor Forest until King Charles I sold it to Thomas Carey in 1630. The old house was a late Georgian stucco building, but this burnt down and was rebuilt in very modern style as a home for Prince Andrew. The park is haunted by ghostly horses. Silwood Park was the site of the old manor. It was purchased by a parliamentarian, John Aldridge, in 1673. He was allowed to fell trees in the Great Park and subsequently became a timber baron, as well as a wealthy tanner. In 1788, James Sibbald, a banker, purchased the estate and built a fine Georgian mansion on the other side of the park. This was replaced in 1876-8 by the present house, said to have been designed by Sir Alfred Waterhouse. Other large houses in the area include Tittenhurst Park built in 1737.


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