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History of Kirtlington Park Polo Club

A new era of elegance began in 1746 when Sir James Dashwood’s dreams of a magnificent Palladian mansion in Kirtlington became reality. Kirtlington House stands in fifty acres of gardens and formal parkland designed by Capability Brown and provides a stunning backdrop to the polo grounds.

Kirtlington Park Polo Club was originally formed in 1926 after a former inhabitant of the Argentine, Major Deed, bought polo ponies to school in the grounds of Kirtlington Park and persuaded the late Mr Hugh Budgett, who had become the new owner of the park in 1922, to start playing.

It wasn’t long before he was being told ‘you’re a natural polo player’ and part of the estate parkland was laid out as a polo ground. The club was maintained until the beginning of the Second World War when the ground was cultivated as part of the ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign. Mr Alan Budgett, son of Mr Hugh Budgett, reopened the club in 1954 and added a second ground.

By the beginning of the 1990’s the number of playing members had risen to just over fifty and a third ground was added at the original site.

A fourth playing field and a practice pitch was also added half a mile up the road at Park Farm. The club survived the foot and mouth disease in 2001 well. By the beginning of the 2002 season the number of playing members topped 100 and a purpose built polo office was opened on the edge of the practice field at Park Farm.

In 2005 the sixth ground came into operation and Kirklington Polo Club now has six boarded grounds and we are looking to irrigate grounds one and two. We continue to flourish and grow.

Kirtlington Park Polo Club has some very famous teams and some of the top professionals have started their careers at Kirtlington. Andrew and Will Hine, Robert Thame, Malcolm Borwick and Henry Brett started on a Shetland pony!

In the same week at Windsor in 1970, Kirtlington (11 goals) won the Royal Windsor (14 goal then) with Richard Clifford (1), Mark Barlow (2), Antonio Harrera (5), Mark Trotter (3). And Friar Cup 8 goal (later called Archie David) with Jeremy Taylor (1), Mark Barlow (2), Mark Trotter (3) and Simon Loder - an amazing feat!