Ham House is a historic house with formal gardens set back 200 metres from the River Thames in Ham, south of Richmond in London. It is claimed by the National Trust to be “unique in Europe as the most complete survival of 17th century fashion and power.” The house itself is designated on the National Heritage List for England as a Grade I listed building. Its park and formal gardens are listed at Grade II* by Historic England in the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.
Ham in the early 17th century was bestowed by James I on his son, Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales.
The house was built in 1610 by Sir Thomas Vavasour, Knight Marshal to James I. It originally comprised an H-plan layout consisting of nine bays and three storeys. The Thames-side location was ideal for Vavasour, allowing him to move between the courts at Richmond, London and Windsor. Prince Henry died in 1612, and the lands at Ham and Petersham passed to James’ second son, Charles, several years prior to his coronation in 1625. After Vavasour’s death in 1620, the house was granted to John Ramsay, 1st Earl of Holderness until his death in 1626.