The manor of Buscot was purchased in 1557 by William Loveden. In 1749 the extensive estate, straddling the Thames, was inherited by Edward Loveden Townsend, a great nephew of the last Loveden descendant. In 1780 he designed the rather severe neo-classical house seen today.
A notable period of Buscot's history began in 1859 when the estate was acquired by Robert Tertius Campbell, a wealthy Australian.
By this time the 4,000 acres of land were almost derelict and Campbell instituted a daring agricultural plan that turned Buscot Park into the most progressive farm of its time.
At the centre of the scheme was the production of sugar beet and its byproducts. An extensive irrigation network was dug out and six miles of narrow-gauge railway were laid out to bring in the crop. A distillery to convert sugar into spirit was constructed on an island in the Thames, still known as Brandy Island.
Campbell also built a gas works and concrete farm buildings, 30 years before anyone else. He was an enlightened land-owner introducing in a nine hour day for his workers.
However, Campbell's grandiose scheme eventually overwhelmed his resources.
Because the tremendous capital cost could not be recouped fast enough he was bankrupted.
In 1889, two years after Robert Campbell's death, the estate was sold to Sir Alexander Henderson, later 1st Lord Faringdon. He was an exceptional financier, politician and connoisseur.
The 1st Lord began the art collection that is Buscot Park's outstanding attraction today.
In the saloon is a series of Pre-Raphaelite paintings by Edward Burn-Jones depicting 'The Legend of the Briar Rose' purchased from the artist in 1890. The house also has works by Rossetti, Watts and Millais.
The 1st Lord may have been influenced by his neighbour William Morris whose house Kelmscott is situated close by. The dining room, with its original filigree ceiling, is hung with Italian paintings. Elsewhere there are works by such noted artists as Rembrandt, Reynolds and Gainsborough.
The remarkable art collection acquired by the 1st Lord Faringdon was enriched by the 2nd Baron, one of the 'Bright Young Things' of the 1920s. He was a prominent socialist and seems to have inherited many of his predecessor's remarkable talents.
Works from the 20th century include two paintings by Graham Sutherland.
The 2nd Lord Faringdon did much to reinstate the original character to the house and commissioned Geddes Hyslop to add the two pavillions set either side of the house and the imposing flight of steps, flanked by bronze centaurs, rising to the pedimented entrance front.
The cultivated interiors have richly coloured carpets, mahogany doors, painted and inlaid Regency and Empire furniture and extravagant chandeliers.
In 1948 Buscot Park was sold to Ernest Cook on a lease-back basis and the art collection was was put into trust to ensure its survival.
In 1962 the house passed into the care of the National Trust.
The grounds slope down from the house to a lake created when the park was landscaped in the 18th century.
In the 20th century Harold Peto created an Italianate water garden. This features a dolphin fountain which feeds a series of cascades, basins and canals crossed by a hump-backed balustraded bridge, with box hedges framing the view on either side.