Wimpole Hall

From Academic Kids

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Wimpole Hall in 1880.
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The lake and Gothic folly in the grounds of Wimpole Hall

Wimpole Hall is a country house about 8½ miles (14 km) southwest of Cambridge in England. The house, begun in 1640, and its 3,000 acres (12 km²) of parkland and farmland are owned by the National Trust and are regularly open to the public.

Wimpole is the largest house in Cambridgeshire. Over the centuries, many notable architects have worked on it, including its first owner, Thomas Chichely (between 1640 and 1670), James Gibbs (between 1713 and 1730), James Thornhill (1721), Henry Flitcroft (around 1749), John Soane (1790s), and H. E. Kendall (1840s).

Before the present Wimpole Hall was built circa 1640, there was a moated manor house set in a small 81 hectare (200 acre) deer-park. Situated to the north and south of this were three medieval villages: Bennall End, Thresham End and Green End. Wimpole Hall's grounds were laid out and modified by landscape designers such as George London and Henry Wise (1693-1705), Charles Bridgeman (1720s), Robert Greening (1740s), 'Capability' Brown (1767), and Humphry Repton (1801-1809). The parkland as you see it today is an overlay of the work of these landscape designers and gardeners.

Bridgeman's formal grand avenue sweeps away from the south front of the house for two and a half miles in contrast with the remainder of the park which was "naturalised" by Capability Brown. The North Park is particularly attractive with its belts of woodland, gentle rolling hills with individual and clumps of trees. The central feature of the North Park is the Gothic Tower and the restored lakes in the valley below.

In the grounds are a chain of lakes (1695-1767), a church (1749), a folly (the Gothic Tower; 1768), a farm (1792), a walled garden (18th century), and a stable block (1851).

The owners of the modern estate, in chronological order, were:

  • 1640 Sir Thomas Chicheley (c.1613-1699)
  • 1686 Sir John Cutler (d.1693)
  • 1693 Charles Robartes, 2nd Earl of Radnor (1660-1723)
  • 1710 John Holles, Duke of Newcastle, 3rd Earl of Clare (d.1711)
  • 1711 Henrietta Holles
  • 1713 Edward Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford (1689-1741)
  • 1740 Philip Yorke, 1st Earl of Hardwicke (1690-1764)
  • 1764 Philip Yorke, 2nd Earl of Hardwicke (1720-1790)
  • 1790 Philip Yorke, 3rd Earl of Hardwicke (1757-1834)
  • 1834 Charles Yorke, 4th Earl of Hardwicke (1799-1873)
  • 1873 Charles Yorke, 5th Earl of Hardwicke ('Champagne Charlie')
  • 1894 2nd Lord Robartes, 6th Viscount Clifden
  • 1919 7th Viscount Clifden
  • 1938 Captain and Mrs George Bambridge
  • 1976 National Trust

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