£75 All day (inc. lunch and refreshments) This study day will provide members with a special opportunity to explore one of England’s finest country houses as it enters into an exciting period
All day (inc. lunch and refreshments)
This study day will provide members with a special opportunity to explore one of England’s finest country houses as it enters into an exciting period in its colourful nearly 300 hundred-year history.
Built on the site of an earlier Jacobean house, Wentworth Woodhouse was begun in 1725 by Thomas Watson-Wentworth, later 1st Marquess of Rockingham, in the English Baroque style by Ralph Tunnicliffe. Before the Baroque western range, constructed from red brick with ashlar dressings, was completed c.1734 it had already fallen out of fashion and Watson-Wentworth had commissioned Henry Flitcroft to build a Palladian ‘extension’ on the east front. This extension, which used Colen Campbell’s Wanstead House as its inspiration, extends to some 185m supposedly making it the longest country house façade in Europe. Inherited by the 4th Earl Fitzwilliam in 1782, the house remained in the Fitzwilliam family until 1988. A combination of a number of deaths in quick succession in the 1940s and 1950s, resulting in heavy death duties, along with the nationalisation of the coal industry and the implementation of open-cast mining in the grounds immediately surrounding the house, greatly reduced the wealth of the Fitzwilliams, leading them to sell off most of the contents of the house in a number of auction sales. By the time the estate was sold in 1989, Wentworth was in a poor state of repair and in the succeeding decades the future of the house has been uncertain. Following the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust’s purchase of the building in 2017, a concerted effort is now underway to raise the funds to restore the house and develop it as a heritage attraction.
The day will include an introduction by the Director of WWPT, Sarah McLeod, about the work of the Trust and their vision for Wentworth, and will be followed by an extensive tour of the building, the stables and riding school, and some of the garden buildings, providing access to spaces which are not usually open to the public. Work to replace the roof over the east front is currently underway and there may be the opportunity to go up on the roof on the scaffolding platform that has been erected while this work is carried out.
Outline for the day
Talk on the work and progress being made by the Trust and the plans for the future
Tour of the east wing, looking particularly at the evolution of carved decorative interior features from Palladian to Grecian; tour of roof (if accessible) and West Wing, structured around the range of historic wall coverings and ornate plastered finishes.
Garden tour including stables and riding school, Camelia House and Ionic Temple
Visit to the South Tower Adam Room via the garden Bridge, return to Pillared Hall via Bedlam
All Day (Thursday)
Wentworth, Rotherham S62 7TQ