RAF Bentley Priory was a non-flying Royal Air Force station near Stanmore in the London Borough of Harrow. It was famous as the headquarters of Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain and the Second World War. The RAF Bentley Priory site includes a Grade II* listed Officers' Mess and Italian Gardens. These, together with the park are designated a Registered Garden Grade II.
Originally built in 1766, Bentley Priory was significantly extended in 1788, by Sir John Soane, for John Hamilton, 1st Marquess of Abercorn. The priory was the final home of the Dowager Queen Adelaide, queen consort of William IV, before her death there in 1849. It subsequently served as a hotel and girls' school before being acquired by the Royal Air Force in 1926.
The Royal Air Force station role ceased on 30 May 2008, following the relocation of units to their new accommodation at RAF Northolt. The site will be used for private accommodation and the Officers' Mess will become a Battle of Britain museum.
The land south of the house is the Bentley Priory Nature Reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest maintained by Harrow Heritage Trust.
... RAF Bentley Priory was a non-flying Royal Air Force station near Stanmore in the London Borough of Harrow ... The RAF Bentley Priory site includes a Grade II* listed Officers' Mess and Italian Gardens ... Originally built in 1766, Bentley Priory was significantly extended in 1788, by Sir John Soane, for John Hamilton, 1st Marquess of Abercorn ...
... Following the closure of the RAF station the site was handed over to Defence Estates, who in turn passed it to the prime plus contractor for Project MoDEL, VSM ... although in 2010 it was agreed that the museum would go ahead and be run by the Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Trust, with support from the charity The Prince's Regeneration Trust ... The RAF Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Trust supported VSM Estates in the decision to fill in the bunker on the grounds of maintenance costs ...
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“Blessing turned to blasphemies,
Holy deeds to despites.
Sin is where our Lady sat,
Heaven turned is to hell,
Sathan sits where our Lord did sway,
Walsingham, Oh farewell!”
—Unknown. A Lament for the Priory of Walsingham (l. 3944)
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—Richard Bentley (16621742)