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.
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
and interconnected rooms with doors aligned so that when open you could see along the entire length of the house.
The rooms were very ornate
and there were very grand and tall four poster beds in the bedrooms
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!
The horse racing tags in the fireplace below the portrait of Lady Chesterfield celebrate her interest in the sport. There are several racecourses nearby.
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.
In an outbuilding there’s a recreation of a Victorian laundry.
The laundresses wouldn’t have had a easy life, even if they did have a primitive washing machine.
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
Given the time of year there were lots of colourful tulips in full bloom.
I rather liked this tea pot. A good size for me! Alas, it wouldn’t be practical – it would leak quite badly!
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.