Page images

Longleat, Wiltshire ;



ver, amidst pleasant woodland scenom

This venerable and superb Mansion is seated in a park, fifteen miles in circumference, well stocked with excellent timber, amidst pleasant woodland scenery, and wide prospects over the adjacent country: the approach with the shrubbery to the left is really grand. The building is spacious and magnificent; it is said to be the most ancient regularly built house, and is certainly entitled to rank with the first in the kingdom. It was erected on the site of an Augustine priory, by Sir John Thynne; the foundation was laid in the month of January, 1567, from which time the building was carried on to 1579; so that twelve whole years were spent before it was finished. The stone and timber were all his own, and, besides carriage, it cost £8,061 16s. 6d., as appears from three folio books of accounts relating to the building of Longleat, now remaining there. It is traditionally asserted, that the designs for this Mansion were obtained from Italy, and that John of Padua was the master-mason, or the clerk of the works : he was an architect of some note at that time, and was termed “ Devizor of his Majesty's Buildings” to Henry VIII.

Sir John Thynne, the founder, died May 21, 1580, and was buried in the church of Deverell Langbridge, where a monument, which cost £100, was erected to his memory. At the time of his decease, the principal part of the interior was left unfinished. By his wife, Christian, sister and heir of Sir Thomas Gresham, Knight, the founder of the Royal Exchange, he left John, his eldest son, who succeeded to the estate, and continued the works at Longleat, but did not live to complete them. His descendant, Thomas Thynne, Esq., who was barbarously murdered in his coach, in Pall-Mall, Feb. 12, 1682, made several material alterations in the house, and formed a road to Frome, planted with elms, but the completion of the whole, according to the original design, was left to the first Viscount Weymouth, created in 1682. It then comprehended only three sides of a quadrangle, and was finished and fitted up in the most expensive style.

The flower gardens, parterres, fountains, cascades, and ponds, were laid out in all the formality of the prevailing taste. In a grove still remains the stump of the Weymouth pine, which was planted, with other firs, by the first Viscount Weymouth. * Very material improvements were made in the disposition of the grounds by Thomas, third Viscount, under whose directions the park and gardens were remodelled by Brown, and 50,000 trees are said to have been annually planted during the last sixty years. A most material change in the arrangement of the Mansion has been effected by the present Marquess of Bath, who has built a north or garden front, corresponding with the other sides of this magnificent structure, from the designs of Jeffrey Wyatt, Esq. It is now in the form of a parallelogram, 220 feet long, by 180 feet deep, built entirely of freestone, and is ornamented with pilasters of the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian orders. It has four principal fronts, each of these surmounted by a handsome balustrade, and on the south and east sides are colossal stone statues, which, with the various turrets and columnar chimneys, have a most picturesque appearance. The principal entrance is on the south side, and on the east is a handsome architectural entrance from the flower-garden, both of which are shewn in our view.

The Hall is grand and imposing; it rises to the height of two stories, and has a flat roof, with spandril brackets and pendents of timber, and at one end a rich carved screen; the stone chimney-piece consists of an entablature, supported by four Ionic columns, above which are caryatides and other sculptured ornaments.--The Library contains many curious books, and some valuable manuscripts : two Ante-rooms, a Drawing-room, two Dining-rooms, a grand Saloon, and a Billiard-room, constitute two principal suites of apartments, which are upon the eastern side of the Mansion.---The Great Staircase consists of a centre flight of oak steps, ten feet wide, with two returns, and is well adapted to the style and magnitude of the building. It is lighted by an octagon lantern, fifteen feet in diameter, rising from a coved roof, which is decorated with arabesque foliage : on three sides, the walls of the staircase are adorned with large paintings.—Galleries extend to the right and left on the ground floor, and another branches off from the top of the stairs, all of which have been executed from Mr. Wyatt's designs. The suite of family apartments are: Lord Bath's dressing-room, a sitting-room, large bed-room, Lady Bath's dressing-room, another sitting-room, lobby and wardrobe, and lady's-maid's room. To each dressing-room are attached warm and cold baths, with water-closets; these, with the domestic chapel and servants' offices, complete the accommodation.—The whole height of the ground-floor is fifteen feet, the next is eighteen feet high, and the third, or attic, twelve feet.--The apartments abound with many fine portraits, amongst which a head of Jane Shore has always been particularly admired.

Charlton House, Wiltshire ;



CHARLTON House is situated about a mile north-east from Malmsbury; the Manor formerly belonged to the abbots of Malmsbury, and came into the possession of the present noble family by the marriage of the first Earl of Suffolk with Catherine, eldest daughter and co-heir of Sir Henry Knivet. The Mansion was commenced by Thomas Howard, the first Earl of Suffolk, in the time of James I., and is deemed an excellent example of the style of architecture in that reign. The west front was built by Inigo Jones; and it is said to have been designed by that master before he had studied the works of Palladio, the Italian architect. A great gallery extends the whole length of this front.

The general plan of the Mansion consists of a square of four fronts, with towers at the angles, finished with cupolas and vanes; the whole of stone, and extending one hundred and twenty-eight feet by one hundred and eighty, which formerly enclosed a quadrangular court in the centre: this has been covered by a roof and dome, and converted into an immense hall. The south or principal front has a centre porch, adjoining square towers and wings at each extremity. In the basement of the porch is an arcade in the bastard Doric style, an innovation on the buildings of Elizabeth's reign. The line of the west front is broken by small projecting bay windows raised the height of the elevation; the windows are mullioned with square heads, but in the upper stories retain the Tudor labels. The parapets are enriched to an extreme with scroll-work, perforated, which ornament is continued up the gable ends, and crowned with pedestals, orbs, and obelisks. The chimneys are carried up in pedestals, with double detached columns and entablatures enriched.

The north and east fronts were erected by Brettingham, under the direction of Henry, the twelfth Earl of Suffolk, and fifth Earl of Berkshire, who was the principal Secretary of State for the northern department in the early part of the late reign : he died in 1779. This ancient family is descended from Thomas Howard, the fourth Duke of Norfolk, by his second wife, Margaret, daughter and sole heir of Thomas, Lord Audley of Walden, K. G. Their son, Thomas, was created Earl of Suffolk, July 21, 1603; and his second son, by Catherine Knivet, inherited his mother's estate at Charlton; in 1622, he was created Lord Howard of Charlton; and, in 1626, advanced to the dignity of Earl of Berkshire. Henry Bowes Howard, the fourth Earl of that title, succeeded Henry, the tenth Earl of Suffolk, by which means both the titles became united in him and his descendants.—The following is

Santale, with double detached columns anu vom


--- created Lord Howard of Charlton; comme

a List of the Principal Pictures at Charlton House :

Elizabeth Howard, Countess of Berkshire, a handkerchief in | The Duchess of Suffolk, by Holbein. her right hand.

The Earl of Warrington, 1747. Richard Sackville, Earl of Dorset, son of Margaret, daughter Henry Bowes, Earl of Suffolk and Berkshire ; landscape and of Thomas, Duke of Norfolk : he died in 1624.

hunting in distance. Sir Edward Sackville, Bart., his brother, who succeeded him A Female Head, between a rose and fleur-de-lis, each crownin the earldom, and died in 1652.

ed; at her breast is a pelican, and in her left hand, which Isabella, Lady Cary, in a flowered gown and sash, her right is elevated, are chains of pearl and a cross of jewels; she hand on a chair.

has a ring on her thumb. William Howard, son of the Earl of Berkshire, gray head and A Portrait in armour, ships in the distance; probably Thomas, beard.

first Earl of Suffolk, who commanded several fleets against Lady Dorothy Cary, sister to Isabella, Countess of Ox Spain. ford. .

Sir Jerome Bowes, Ambassador from Queen Elizabeth to the Charles I. with a Mastiff: motto, “Laudesque manebunt.” Emperor of Russia, 1588 ; of the family who, by marriage, A Portrait of a Lady, dated 1566.

conveyed the estate of Elford, in Staffordshire, to the HoLord Howard, who died in 1803, in regimentals.

wards, in 1683. Elizabeth, Countess of Berkshire, when young. She was the The Countess of Exeter, leaning on an ancient chair; ring daughter of William, Earl of Essex.

and thread in her left hand, in her right hand a handkerCatiline's Conspiracy.


The Rev. John Gaskath, Rector of Banbury, whose sister The Earl of Essex, whole-length, with hat and ribbon in his married the present Earl of Suffolk. right hand.

The Countess of Suffolk, with her two sisters, a dove, &c. His Countess, in blue satin, with a rose at her breast, and a

fan in her hand.

The Duchess of Newcastle, in a ruff, her right hand over a

The Raising of Lazarus. Mary Queen of Scots.


[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »