THREE of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire's most historic buildings features in a National Trust report about links to colonialism and slavery.

The report titled 'The Connections between Colonialism and Properties now in the Care of the National Trust' was first published last September.

Two historical buildings in Berkshire are named in the document, including Ashdown House and Basildon Park.

Cliveden House in Taplow, Buckinghamshire also appears on the document.

Dr Sally-Anne Huxtable, Head Curator, National Trust said: "From the sixteenth century, merchants had sought increasingly to consolidate their socio-economic and political status by acquiring country estates and marrying their children into the landed classes.

"From the mid-eighteenth century until the abolition of slavery in the 1830s, the absentee landlords of West Indian sugar plantations and their heirs invested and settled in country houses and estates. As the historian

"Lowell Joseph Ragatz noted in 1931: ‘A wave of unprecedented prosperity, beginning roughly about 1750, filled the proprietors’ coffers. This made it possible for them, first, to educate their children abroad, and secondly, to retire beyond the Atlantic and there live lives of ease. Then, from approximately 1775 to 1815, transatlantic estates in large number passed into the possession of inhabitants of England by inheritance."

The report gained attention last week after a campaign by a group of National Trust members was launched against its findings.

Below we've listed each building and published the sections written by the National Trust in full.

Cliveden, Buckinghamshire

Cliveden House, Taplow

Cliveden House, Taplow

Many families have lived at Cliveden since George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham (1628–87), bought the estate in around 1666. George Hamilton, 1st Earl of Orkney (1666–1737) and the owner of Cliveden from 1696 to 1737, was married to Elizabeth Villiers (c.1657–1733), whose relationship with William III provided the confiscated Irish estates of James II. George held a patent as Governor of Virginia (1710–37), although he never visited.

Frederick Lewis, Prince of Wales (1707–51), leased Cliveden from Anne, 2nd Countess of Orkney (1696–1756), in 1738 and it was there, on 1 August 1740, that the patriotic song ‘Rule, Britannia!’ was first performed with the lines ‘Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves! Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.’

Cliveden was sold in 1849 to George Granville Leveson-Gower, 2nd Duke of Sutherland (1786–1861), for £30,000. His wife, Harriet Howard (1806–68), was a close friend of Queen Victoria and an enthusiastic proponent of the anti-slavery movement. She provided patronage, notably to the American author Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811–96), and hosted a meeting at Stafford House, her London mansion, where she petitioned her ‘sisters’in the United States against slavery. In response, the former US First Lady Julia Tyler (1820–89) wrote a defence entitled ‘The Women of England vs. the Women of America’.

The Duchess’s petition was later ridiculed by Thomas Carlyle (see entry for Carlyle’s House) and criticised by Karl Marx (1818–83), not least because the Duke’s mother had been associated with the clearance of the inhabitants of Sutherland 30 years earlier, removing highland small tenants to settlements on the coast.

Ashdown House, West Berkshire

Ashdown House, Berkshire

Ashdown House, Berkshire

Ashdown House was built around 1660 by William Craven, 1st Earl of Craven (1608–97). After the Restoration, Craven was granted a share in the colony of Carolina and served as one of the eight Lords Proprietors – Englishmen granted the joint-ownership by Charles II through the Carolina Charters of 1663 and 1665. In 1670, he was appointed a governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company and in 1673 he was appointed a Commissioner for Tangier.

Basildon Park, Berkshire

Basildon Park, Reading

Basildon Park, Reading

In 1771, Basildon Park was purchased by Francis Sykes (c.1730–1804), who returned from India to settle in Berkshire as one of the ‘nabobs’ (East India Company officials who had lived on the subcontinent and returned with wealth and a taste for luxury).

Sykes joined the East India Company as a writer in 1750. While working at the English trading factory of Cossimbazar in Murshidabad in 1756, the factory was captured by the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj ud-Daula. Later, he served as Resident at the Nawab’s court at Murshidabad,

where he acted jointly with the Nawab’s chief minister in the direction of the government – the first time an English merchant became a member of the indigenous executive.

Sykes’s success not only enabled him to acquire Basildon Park but also to purchase further estates in Yorkshire and Dorset, to become Member of Parliament in Shaftesbury and then for Wallingford, and to acquire a coat of arms and a baronetcy. It is also thought that he returned with at least one Indian servant, as his will mentions the ‘Black servant Thomas Radakissan’. His will left Thomas the sum of seven shillings a week during the term of his natural life and the request that he be given a mourning ring