Frenchmans Lodge Stables, Upper Lambourn

Owners Day 2019.jpg

Windsor House

Windsor House

The Georgian House was originally the home of the curator connected with the church's house. It was then bought by Dr Kennard who was not only the local doctor but also a fanatical follower of the Craven hounds and would often take surgery in his hunting clothes.

1893 James Peace

One of the largest stables in Lambourn with 32 boxes, he was a most prolific trainer of winners. In 1897 he trained 52 winners worth £6,6661, more than any other trainer. He continued to churn out many winners until his departure from Lambourn before the end of the 1902 season when he retired to Chester.

1902 Arthur B. Thorp

During the remainder of the 1902 season he trained 5 winners. The following year he started with 2 horses and trained a dozen winners. By 1906 he ceased training

1918 Sir Charles Nugent

Following his move from Bourton-on-the-Hill, Sir Charles Nugent trained more or less exclusively on the Flat. For a short time from early 1916 he was private trainer to Sir William Nelson until they no longer saw eye to eye. From Windsor Cottage he won the 1921 Royal Hunt Cup and the 1921 Chesterfield Cup with Illuminator, and the 1924 Stewards Cup and the 1925 Wokingham Stakes with Compiler.

Even then it was regarded as a very lucky yard.  Bramble Twig, Cylgar, and Tetrachia won many more races than all of Sir William's at Stork House.

Sir Charles was not a qualified vet but did all his own operations and made up his own prescriptions such as "Tonic Ball" and "Fever Ball".

He trained until his death in 1927 when he was succeeded by his grandson Sir Hugh Nugent following the premature death of his son Hugh who was a leading amateur when killed in a hurdle race at Ostend in 1903.

1927 Sir Hugh Nugent

Sir Hugh Nugent first lived in Valley View when his father was private trainer to Sir William Nelson at Stork House stables. Then moved to College House and finally to Windsor Cottage. At the time Windsor Cottage had only eighteen boxes. On purchase of Windsor House, Sir Hugh joined the two places together and built an additional 12 boxes.

The Nugents were ardent Catholics and started the first chapel in the village in the upstairs rooms of the cottage at the end of the yard and installed central heating. Here Sir Hugh served mass and amongst the congregation as a boy, was the famous Irish trainer Paddy Prendergast.


Sir Hugh was responsible for a number of training establishments in Lambourn including Kingsdown, Berkeley House, Rhonehurst and Uplands.  In 1931 he laid down the gallops at Limes Farm, Lambourn, better known as Mandown. He doubled up the number of gallops and relocated the schooling fences.  Also added were a couple of walking grounds and an area to break and start yearlings. 

Limes Farm and Rhonehurst were handed to his younger son David Nugent on his marriage to Elizabeth Guinness who continued to make improvements including the all weather gallops and NH schooling grounds.

He also established Lambourn Racehorse Transport Service later to be known as Lambourn Ridgeway Transport [LRT], which was sold in 1990 by his son Sir John Nugent and is now run by Merrick Francis, son of Dick Francis. It was Sir Hugh who pioneered travelling horses forwards instead of backwards. LRT has carried great names such as Nijinsky, Arkle, Golden Miller and Grundy.

He continued to train at Windsor House until the end of 1940. On the outbreak of war he served as a Flying Officer in the RAFVR and was mentioned in dispatches and continued to train in Ireland at Consilla.  His overall influence on Lambourn and Upper Lambourn far exceeded his achievements as a racehorse trainer.

Plaque in yard

Windsor House Stables & World War II

During the Second World War the house and stables were requisitioned by the Army and taken over by American airborne soldiers of 101st Division, 501st Regiment. The officers lived in the house, the NCOs in the hostel and the soldiers nine to a box in the stables.

There are still signs of the Tortoise stoves in the boxes. 200 soldiers flew out on the eve of D-Day from Membury airfield, where the M4 service station is now, and sadly 23 of them never returned. 

1946 Tom Rimell

When Sir Hugh Nugent retired from training and moved to Ireland the place was bought by Tom Rimell.  Tom set up here in 1946 and trained Chivalry to win the Royal Hunt Cup, Easter Bride to win the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, Vid-Vici beaten a short head in the Cesarewitch, and Damremont winner of the City and Suburban.

He was also father of Fred Rimell who went on to become Champion Trainer and Champion Jockey.

1959 Syd Mercer

When Tom Rimell retired Syd Mercer took over in 1959 and trained good horses like Trelawney, The Blessing and the useful handicapper Midlander.

1960 Peter Walwyn

Peter Walwyn, who had been holding the licence and assisting his cousin Helen Johnson Houghton, as women were not then allowed to train, bought Windsor House for £12,000. It then had 30 boxes, 11 acres and two cottages as well as the main house.

One of his first horses was Golden Wedding, who won 8 races and was one of the first runners abroad when 2nd in the Prix Perth at St Cloud. Be Hopeful started his long winning career here and went on to win 27 races.  Mabel was 2nd in the Oaks and won the Yorkshire Oaks and 3rd in the 1,000 Guineas.

Due to demand for more boxes Peter Walwyn bought Seven Barrows off Mr & Mrs Derrick Candy where he trained the great Grundy to win the Derby and became Champion Flat Trainer.

Nugent Yard sign

1966 Brian Marshall

In 1965 the stables were sold to Mr & Mrs Peter Spicer who let the yard to Bryan Marshall the wonderful National Hunt jockey who was Champion in 1948-49 and rode two Grand National winners.

1970 Roger Charlton

After a few years with Brian Marshall as a tenant, Roger Charlton bought the yard and installed the Equine Swimming Pool, one of the best in the country. He operated that for some years before moving to Beckhampton.

1978 Nicky Henderson

When Roger Charlton moved Nicky Henderson who had been a top amateur and assistant to Fred Winter bought it in July 1978. He was Champion National Hunt Trainer twice from 1985-87, winning the Champion Hurdle three times in a row with See You Then, and many other big races.

1981 Spartan Missile

Nestling between the two yards can be found the final resting place of Spartan Missile. The 1981 Grand National was won by Aldaniti ridden by Bob Champion and 4 lengths 2nd was Spartan Missile owned, trained and ridden by one of the great amateur jockey's John Thorne, father of Diana Henderson who was married to Nicky Henderson. She was also the first lady to ride at Cheltenham.

1992 Peter Walwyn

In 1992 Peter and Bonk Walwyn did a swap with Nicky Henderson and moved back to Windsor House where Nicky had much improved the facilities with 20 more boxes. Peter then trained the very fast Hamas who won the July Cup and Duke of York Stakes and Nadwah, winner of the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot. 

1999 Ralph Beckett

Peter decided to retire in the autumn of 1999 and handed over to his assistant Ralph Beckett who after a good start trained Penkenna Princess to be 2nd beaten a short head in the 2005 Irish 1,000 Guineas. 

2006 Harry Dunlop

A new chapter in the history of Windsor House Stables began on 2nd October 2006 with the arrival of Harry Dunlop.  On 2nd November 2006 Harry sent out his first runner, Situla who dully obliged and made all to win by 2 lengths, truly a dream start.