It has been a condition of the bequest to the National Trust since 1954 that Dorneywood is held as a Ministerial home.
Under the terms of the bequest, the Dorneywood Endowment Trust was established as a separate charity to care for the house and gardens. The relationship between the Dorneywood Trust and the National Trust is therefore effectively that of a tenant – landlord.
In 2014 we negotiated a lease with the Dorneywood Trust after identifying significant maintenance costs for the property, totalling around £1m. As part of the new lease, we agreed to provide a voluntary grant towards the upkeep of Dorneywood of £75,000 a year. This will continue for five years. The grant is a contribution towards the essential maintenance of the building.
Under the lease agreement we have also opened up access to Dorneywood for visitors who can now visit the gardens from April to September on selected days, and the house for a limited number of days each year.