Beningborough Hall

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Last weekend we decided we’d take a break and go up to the North East to visit family, combining the trip with some tourism and a hill walk. On Saturday, we took a short detour off our route to visit Beningborough Hall, a National Trust property a few miles north of York. The hall was was built for a York landowner, John Bourchier III to replace his family’s modest Elizabethan manor. It was completed in 1716 this year is its 300th birthday.

The estate passed to the Dawnay family in 1827 (distant relatives of the Bourchiers). In 1916 it was bought purchased by the Count and Countess of Chesterfield. During the Second World War Beningbrough was used to house airmen from the bomber squadrons at nearby Linton-on-Ouse. Lady Chesterfield returned in 1947 and lived on alone in the house until her death in 1957 and in June 1958 the estate was passed on to the National Trust in lieu of death duties.

George I came to the throne in1714, two years before the house was completed, so it would be true to say that it is a Georgian mansion, but it is more ornate than the typical great Palladian houses associated with this period of history.The NT describe it as Italianate Baroque, although in a restrained English variation of the flamboyant, Catholic, style found in mainland Europe.

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The interior layout was very similar to that of Castletown, the first Palladian mansion in Ireland that I visited last year.

There was the grand, double story entrance hall

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and interconnected rooms with doors aligned so that when open you could see along the entire length of the house.

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The rooms were very ornate

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and there were very grand and tall four poster beds in the bedrooms

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I liked the displays and installations that the NT had set out in various rooms linked to the history of the house.

This display of tea cups in the drawing room celebrated the Dawnay family connection to Earl Grey. There’s probably at least two days worth of tea cups based on my personal consumption!

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The horse racing tags in the fireplace below the portrait of Lady Chesterfield celebrate her interest in the sport. There are several racecourses nearby.

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The NT work in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery and the hall has oer 120 18th-century portraits on display throughout the house. And on he top floor there are seven interpretation galleries featuring an exhibition – ‘Making Faces: 18th century Style’

They also host temporary exhibitions. Currently here’s a small display of portraits of noted natives of Yorkshire, including this one of Alan Bennett.

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In an outbuilding there’s a recreation of a Victorian laundry.

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The laundresses wouldn’t have had a easy life, even if they did have a primitive washing machine.

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Afterwards we went out into the sunshine to explore the gardens. There are six acres of immaculate gardens – with lawns, formal garden areas, and a Walled Kitchen Garden

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Given the time of year there were lots of colourful tulips in full bloom.

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I rather liked this tea pot. A good size for me! Alas, it wouldn’t be practical – it would leak quite badly!

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We spent a good half day exploring, longer than we expected. An enjoyable visit and “well worth a detour”, as they would say in the Michelin Guide.

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7 thoughts on “Beningborough Hall

  1. Despite many visits to Beningbrough I still haven’t written any of them up. Just shows I’m out and about to even more places than I write about. There are a few pictures on Flickr but I probably felt I hadn’t take enough to illustrate a visit.

    • It is indeed. I think maybe it’s because I used to have more local days out when I had days off from work whereas now, as you know, I’m away a lot more of the time 😀. Will have to review the situation. Of course, I’m home more in the winter but the houses and gardens are not so accessible then. I did hear that NT will open there houses a bit more out of season.

      • Yes, it’s a pity they close during the winter. They say they do this so they can do maintenance work, but sometimes it would e nice to visit during the winter months.

  2. I know I have been here (and recently read someone else blogging about it) but all I can really remember is the gardens. I’m getting the impression, not sure how 😉 that you might be quite fond of tea! I like the tea cup display. Vintage tea sets seem to be quite fashionable at the moment in cafes and at events. They look pretty, but as I’m sure you’ll agree, you just don’t get enough tea in them.

    • Yes, I certainly like a cup of tea! My wife reckons it would be easier if I had an intravenous drip!
      And you’re also right that, like you, I can’t be doing with diddy cups. Give me a decent sized mug everyday!

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