Categories of Special Interest
Archaeological, Architectural, Artistic, Historical, Social
1730 - 1740
Detached multiple-bay part three-storey, part two-storey and part one-storey Palladian style former mansion, built 1731-40 to designs by Richard Castle, now in use as a visitors centre with gift shops. The house was extensively damaged by fire in 1974. It is constructed in granite. The central three-storey block is joined by single-storey links to two-storey wings. The central section is nine-bay with a five-bay pedimented break front and the two-storey wings are each four-bay. The first and second floors of the central bay are articulated with giant order Ionic pilasters; busts of roman emperors replace windows to the second floor. The composition is finished with curved walls which incorporate tall pedimented arched gateways and tall obelisks which carry eagles, the Wingfield crest. The house was constructed around the remains of an earlier castle and this causes the garden front to be slightly asymmetrical. To the south-east the garden front overlooks a formal garden and a lake; this has the Great Sugar Loaf mountain as a back drop. To the south is the Italian garden which incorporates many fine features including decorative gates and hot houses.
One of the most impressive Palladian mansions in the country. Despite the loss of much of the interior of the entire central section the house is still a most important national asset.