Possibly the most admired historic English building outside London, Blenheim Palace is an uncompromising World Heritage monument to English military ambition and one family's self importance. The story of its construction is a fascinating catalogue of excess and outrage, while the result is both monstrous and utterly sublime. But it is in the effect that its perceived spirit has had on consecutive generations of Marlborough's, that is most revealing. It is also of course, from within this 'cauldron' that a Churchill was born, recently voted the "The greatest Britain of all time". This lecture explores these themes and the characters involved, marvelling at the genius of Vanbrugh and considering the real impact the palace has left on the nation.