A book of drawings in the R.I.B.A., a group of buildings at Garendon Park, near Loughborough, in Leicestershire, and a passage in John Nichol's History of Leicestershire combine together to present a reasonably full picture of Ambrose Phillipps, an amateur architect of the 18th century.
His grandfather, also called Ambrose, was a successful London lawyer who purchased the Garendon estate in 1683 from the 2nd Duke of Buckingham, and was knighted three years later. Sir Ambrose died in 1706, when Garendon was inherited by his second son William, who had been a merchant in Constantinople until called home by the death of his elder brother in 1716. William had married, in 1703, Jane, the daughter of Sir Samuel Dashwood, at one time Lord Mayor of London. They had three sons: Ambrose, who was born in 1706 or 1707, and Samuel and William, who both became merchants in Smyrna.