The Windham family acquired Felbrigg in 1599 and it formed their main residence up to death of William Windham III in 1824. Improvements were made to the house in 1621-24 by Sir John Windham and in the 1680s by his grandson, William Windham I. Whilst the basic form of the house has remained largely the same since then, interior alterations were made by successive generations, especially William II following his Grand Tour (1738-42). He created a Cabinet in which to hang his newly acquired collection of paintings. His son, William III, was a politician, serving as Secretary for War in the 1790s, but he was also a man of letters who knew Samuel Johnson, inheriting some of his books. The family were not always blessed with happy marriages: Ashe and his wife Elizabeth separated after only three years of marriage, their correspondence revealing much about their deteriorating relationship. Following the death of the childless William Windham III, the estate passed to the son of his half-brother. It was acquired by the National Trust in 1969.