The Dukeries by Prof John Beckett, Dr Denise Amos and Andy Nicholson



Clumber, c.1818.

Clumber, c.1905.

Clumber in 1992.

Brick house, designed by Stephen Wright, constructed c.1760-70 for the 9th Earl of Lincoln, nephew of the 1st Duke of Newcastle. Replaced a hunting lodge built in the early 18th century. Further building work undertaken in the late 1780s for the 2nd Duke. Following a serious fire the central section of the house was rebuilt in 1879-80 in Italianate style by the younger Charles Barry.

The house was demolished in 1938. The only fragment still standing is the ‘Duke’s Study’ which was linked to the main house by a low wall.

The stable blocks and service buildings are a short distance to the north. Both stables date from the second half of the 18th century, with later additions.

The gardens and pleasure grounds had a complicated history. English Heritage (2002) have summarised it as follows:

‘An early C18 deer park landscaped in the C18, possibly with some advice from Lancelot Brown, containing the remnants of early C19 terraces possibly by William Sawrey Gilpin, a lakeside pleasure ground by William Eden Nesfield with C18 garden features by Stephen Wright and John Simpson, and a C19 garden feature by William Andrews Nesfield.

Some of the most impressive features are the serpentine lake, the three-arched stone bridge, a Grecian Doric temple of c.1784 on the south side of the lake and Limetree Avenue (1838), four rows of lime trees extending for three miles.

The National Trust bought the park in 1945.

Lodges in a variety of styles and the estate village of Hardwick-in-Clumber (largely late 19th century estate workers’ cottages).

The church of St Mary was built in 1886-9 for the 7th Duke and designed by G. F. Bodley. According the Hartwell (2020) ‘it is one of his masterpieces, eclecticism at its most refined, referring to the transition between Dec[orated] and Perp[endicular styles].’ It replaced an earlier chapel of 1865-8 on a site nearer to the house by the Nottingham architect T. C. Hine.

Thoresby Hall

Thoresby Hall, c.1725.

Thoresby Hall, c.1819.

Thoresby Hall in 2007.

Thoresby township was enclosed in 1683 by the 4th Earl of Kingston. His house, remodelled in 1685-7 from an earlier house, has been attributed to William Tallman but Pevsner suggests Benjamin Jackson, mason at Thoresby and Chatsworth, as the architect and describes it as ‘of brick with stone dressings, on a courtyard plan, with a main front of thirteen bays and two storeys plus an attic crowned by a massive balustrade parapet.’ It was destroyed by fire in 1745 and replaced by a red brick house with a stone basement and a central feature of four Ionic columns designed by John Carr and built in 1767-71.

The current neo-Tudor mansion was built of stone in 1865-75 by the 3rd Earl Manvers who commissioned the architect Anthony Salvin. The house is located a short distance to the north of the site of the previous two buildings.

The stables and riding house to the north of the house date from 1872-5 and may also be by Salvin.

The National Heritage Listing provides a concise summary of the history of Thoresby Park:

‘A C19 country house set beside mid C19 formal gardens by Anthony Salvin and pleasure grounds by Edward Milner, surrounded by parkland of the late C17, with C18 alterations by Francis Richardson, possibly Lancelot Brown in 1768, and by Humphry Repton who produced a Red Book in 1791.’

The estate village of Perlethorpe was rebuilt in the 1890s by W. O. Hickson but still contains some houses in the early 19th century Gothick style of cottages at nearby Budby. The church of St John the Evangelist was constructed in 1876 by Anthony Salvin in the ‘conventional Dec[orated style] of Nottinghamshire idiom.’

Budby Castle (also known as Castle William) on the western edge of the park dates from c.1789 and was designed by John Carr. It is built of stone and resembles a toy castle.

Welbeck Abbey

Welbeck Abbey from the south, 1726.

Welbeck Abbey from the south-east, c.1890.

Welbeck Abbey from the west, 1908.

The site was originally a Premonstratensian monastic house founded in 1153-4. Some fragments still survive including seven bays of the undercroft and a doorway dating from c.1180.

The architectural history of the building is complicated and still not fully understood. However, Hartwell (2020) has identified several main phases:

The gardens around the house date from 1899-1905 and were designed by Alfred Parsons and W. C. Saint-Ives Partridge.

The park at Welbeck has had as complicated an evolution as the house. Evidence exists for rare early 17th century water gardens and pavilions designed by John Smythson.  The garden designer, Francis Richardson, was commissioned by Lady Oxford to lay out a kitchen garden in 1744 and then to plant out the ground east of the house which included creating a lake by damming the River Poulter.

A large number of estate buildings were constructed by the 5th Duke of Portland in the 1860s and 1870s, designed in the Jacobean Revival style. The 5th Duke is also renowned for his tunnels under the estate and underground rooms in the house.

Worksop Manor

The south prospect of Worksop Manor, 1745.

Worksop Manor in 1780.

Worksop Manor from the south-east in 1913.

The 6th Earl of Shrewsbury built a magnificent mansion in 1580-85 designed by Robert Smythson. Pevsner describes it as ‘prodigiously tall, with a narrow central tower in the centre of each façade capped by a domed lantern and, on the ends of the long facades, projecting square bays.’ The house had a long gallery running for 224 feet along the top floor that provided splendid views.

The 8th Duke of Norfolk modernized the house by installing sash windows and squaring off the towers. Disaster struck in 1761 when the building was destroyed by fire.

A replacement was quickly commissioned from the architect James Paine who envisaged a quadrangular design on a scale that would make it a palace rather than a country house. Only one wing was built in 1763-7: it was never inhabited. In 1839 the estate was sold to the 4th Duke of Newcastle who owned nearby Clumber; he had no need of Worksop Manor so had the wing demolished in the 1840s. The only surviving fragments of this house are the rusticated basement of the north side and a re-assembled pediment carved in 1765.

A smaller country house was fashioned out of the remains in the mid-late 19th century. To the north of the house is a service block, including stables, built in 1701-4.

A park was created here in the 12th century. A survey of Worksop in 1636 describes a large park with areas of woodland containing 800 deer and a watercourse to the south. The park was remodelled in the 18th century by Charles Bridgman and later by William Dickinson and Lord Petre. In the 1750s Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown planted trees around Manor Hills.

Mary Howard, Duchess of Norfolk designed Castle Farm, located a short distance from the site of the house. It has a courtyard plan with battlements and towers.

Worksop Manor Lodge was probably built by Robert Smythson for the 7th Earl of Shrewsbury as a hunting lodge to Worksop Manor and dates from c.1595.