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Newby Hall

  • Earlier Houses: Sir Edward Blackett demolished an earlier manor house in the late 17th century.

    Built / Designed For: Sir Edward Blackett

    House & Family History: In the late 17th century the manor of Newby was sold by the Crossland family to Sir Edward Blackett, who demolished the old house and built a new house on the site, possibly designed by Christopher Wren (the attribution of the design to Wren was made by Daniel Defoe in his 1727 book, "Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain"). In the mid-18th century the Newby Estate was purchased by the Weddell family, whose most famous member, William Weddell (called "a dilettante of exceptional taste" by Christopher Hussey), formed the tremendous collection of classical sculpture and other works of art at Newby. Weddell engaged Robert Adam to make improvements, including the addition of two wings forming a forecourt on the east, and the conversion of the east façade to the entry, complete with a new porch. The spectacular, pink domed rotunda sculpture gallery (based on the Villa Madama in Rome [see "Images" section], complete with a top-lit tribune) was also Adam's, as was the tapestry room, which contains an exceptional set of Gobelins tapestries made for the room (the sculpture gallery at Newby was the inspiration for the classical galleries at The National Gallery of Art's ground-breaking 1985-86 exhibition "The Treasure Houses of Britain" in Washington, DC). Adam's dining room was converted to the library circa 1792. Since the popularity of the TV series "Downton Abbey," Newby has been suggested as one of the inspirations for the house and its fictional family; in the 18th century Newby was occupied by the lords Grantham (the 2nd Lord Grantham's portrait currently hangs in the dining room); and, of course, the closest town to Newby is Ripon, which features heavily in the world of Downton. Julian Fellowes, who created the TV series, did, in fact, go to school in Ripon, but he has said that “beautiful Newby” is “connected to Downton Abbey by coincidence, nothing more.” Lord Fellowes said that he chose earl of Grantham as the title for the Crawley family because, when he ran away from school, it was in Grantham, Lincolnshire, that he was apprehended by the police. During World War II Newby was one of four country houses chosen as an emergency residence of state for the royal family in the event of a German invasion. The town of Grantham, New Hampshire, is named after the 1st Lord Grantham (the title became extinct with the death in 1859 of the 3rd Lord Grantham). Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was a frequent visitor to Newby.

    Collections: The walls of the Tapestry Room at Newby are covered with a set of Gobelins tapestries entitled "The Loves of the Gods" (from designs by François Boucher; see "Images" section) ordered in Paris in 1763 (one of only six sets made for English patrons). Thomas Chippendale was commissioned to provide, in "the French style," 12 armchairs, two sofas, and a fire screen covered in matching tapestry for the room, the only known pieces of Chippendale furniture that remain today with their original upholstery. Newby contains an exceptional collection of classical sculpture which is housed in the magnificent Sculpture Gallery created to receive it by Robert Adam. The star of the Sculpture Gallery was the 1st-2nd century AD Roman statue known as the Jenkins Venus (see "Images" section). The statue, then in the Barberini collection and known as the Barberini Venus, was purchased in 1763 by Gavin Hamilton, a Scottish connoisseur in Rome; he sold it to Thomas Jenkins, the English antiquities dealer and banker to the English community in Rome. It was from Jenkins (where the statue picked up its name) that William Weddell, in the midst of his Grand Tour, purchased the statue in the spring of 1765 for Newby Hall. The undisclosed sum for which it changed hands this third time was reputedly the most ever paid for an antiquity in the 18th century. In 2002 the Jenkins Venus was sold in London by Christie's to fund repairs to the stableblock at Newby. The statue broke the world auction record for an antiquity, selling for £7,926,650. The Venus is today in the collection of Sheikh Saud-al-Thani, cousin of the emir of Qatar. A laser-made Carrara marble copy stands in the place of the original in the Sculpture Gallery at Newby. In June 2007 a Chippendale table worth an estimated £500,000 was stolen from Newby during a burglary; it was returned following a 2011 police raid and is now on view in rooms seen by the public. In 2021 the London dealer Ronald Phillips listed for sale for £100,000 a Neoclassical pedestal that was probably made as part of the Etruscan dining room suite for Newby. Made circa 1785, the polychrome painted plate warmer pedestal was almost certainly designed by Robert Adam and made by Thomas Chippendale. Numbering over 100 pieces, Newby Hall has a notable collection of chamber pots, some of which date to the 16th century.

    Comments: Pevsner said "Robert Adam's interiors at Newby are amongst the finest of their date anywhere in Europe." Christopher Hussey, writing of the Sculpture Gallery, said "It may be observed that Adam nowhere applied the neoclassical conception of spacemodelling into primary shapes with more moving success. The contrast between the sculpture galleries at Newby and Holkham succinctly illustrates the meaning of neo-classical."

  • Garden & Outbuildings: With the River Ure running through them, the gardens, which won the Christie's/HHA Garden of the Year Award in 1987, span 25 acres and contain famous double herbaceous borders (one of Europe's largest) and the National Collection of Dogwoods (there are 90 varieties of dogwoods at Newby). The Grade I-listed stableblock has been converted into offices, which houses 15 local businesses. Jaspar Latham's equestrian statue of Charles II was moved from the Stock Market, London (on the site of Mansion House), to the island on the Newby Estate in 1779. An outbuilding on the estate contains replicas of the British crown jewels. In the early 21st century a hydroelectric plant was installed on the River Ure to generate electricity for the house; the new plant occupies the site of a similar facility that was built in 1906 to provide power for the entire estate. The Newby Estate today stands at 7,000 acres.

    Chapel & Church: The Grade I-listed Church of Christ the Consoler (see "Images" section) was built by the 1st Marquess of Ripon in memory of his brother-in-law, Frederick Grantham Vyner, who was taken prisoner and murdered in 1870 by bandits near Athens while on his Grand Tour. The church was built between 1871 and 1878 to the designs of William Burges and, since 1991, has been vested in the Churches Conservation Trust.

  • Architect: William Burges

    Date: 1870-71
    Designed: Church of Christ the Consoler for 1st Marquess of Ripon

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    Architect: John Carr

    Date: Circa 1758-60
    Designed: Alterations, including addition of wings, for William Weddell.

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    Architect: Thomas Philip de Grey (Grey)

    Date: 1808
    Designed: Dining Room for himself, with assistance from John Shaw.

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    Architect: Christopher Wren

    Date: Circa 1685-90
    Designed: May have designed original house for Sir Edward Blackett, Bt.
    (Attribution of this work is uncertain)
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    Architect: Robert Adam

    Date: 1767-74
    Designed: Remodeled interiors of South Wing (containing Sculpture Gallery) and Library and Lodges for William Weddell

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    Architect: William Belwood

    Date: Circa 1777
    Designed: Stables for William Weddell. Also heightened wings, and altered interiors.

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  • Country Life: xix, 90; xxxv, 878; Lxxxi, 658, 688, 714; cxxvii, 1428; corr. Cxxxv, 123; cLxv, 1802, 1918, 2006, corr. 2016; corr. cLxvi, 173; cLxviii, 2406; gardens, xix, 90; Lxxx, 344; Lxxxi, 658; cx xiii, 494, cxxv, 510; cxxviii, 184; cLxxvi, 598; 17/93.70; 29/97.54; redecoration letters, 31/97.75; gardens, 39/98.108;

  • Title: Treasure Houses of Britain, The - SOFTBACK
    Author: Jackson-Stops, Gervase (Editor)
    Year Published: 1985
    Reference: pg. 333
    Publisher: Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art (New Haven: Yale University Press)
    ISBN: 0300035530
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Telegraph, The (newspaper)
    Author: NA
    Year Published: NA
    Reference: Apr 15, 2013 article by Joe Shute in the Lifestyle section
    Publisher: London: Telegraph Media Group Ltd.
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Newspaper

    Title: Newby Hall Guidebook - 2000
    Author: NA
    Year Published: 2000
    Reference: pg. 29
    Publisher: Norfolk: Jarrold Publishing
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Light Softback

    Title: Georgian Group Annual Report
    Author: NA
    Year Published: NA
    Reference: 2002, pg. 7
    Publisher: London: The Georgian Group
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Light Softback

    Title: English Country Houses: Mid Georgian, 1760-1800
    Author: Hussey, Christopher
    Year Published: 1956
    Publisher: London: Country Life Limited
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Country Life Cumulative Index: Volumes I to CXCIII to December 1999
    Author: NA
    Year Published: 2000
    Publisher: London: IPC Magazines Limited
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Light Softback

    Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - HARDBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 2008
    Reference: pgs. 52, 119, 225, 451, 1160
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 9780300125085
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: No Voice From the Hall: Early Memories of a Country House Snooper
    Author: Harris, John
    Year Published: 1998
    Publisher: London: John Murray
    ISBN: 0719555671
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Best Buildings of England, The
    Author: Pevsner, Nikolaus
    Year Published: 1986
    Publisher: London: Viking
    ISBN: 0670812838
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Grade II*

  • "The House of Eliott" (1991–94 - TV series). "Heirs & Graces" (1993 - TV series). "Mansfield Park" (2007). "Peaky Blinders" (2013 - BBC TV series). "Victoria" (2016 - TV series). "King Charles III" (2017 - TV movie, as Buckingham Palace). "The Little Stranger" (2018 - as exterior of Hundreds Hall in the early 20th century). "Gentleman Jack" (2019-21 - TV series, as Lord and Lady Stuart’s home).
  • Current Seat / Home of: Richard Compton; Compton family, matrilineal descendants of William Weddell, here since 1748.

    Past Seat / Home of: SEATED AT EARLIER HOUSE: Sir John Crosland, until 1670. SEATED AT CURRENT HOUSE: Sir Edward Blackett, 2nd Bt., 1695-1718; Sir Edward Blackett, 3rd Bt., 1718-40; Sir Edward Blackett, 4th Bt., until 1748. William Weddell, 1748-92. Thomas Philip de Grey (Robinson), 2nd Earl de Grey, 3rd Baron Grantham, and 6th Baron Lucas, 1792-1859. Henry Frederick Clare Vyner, until 1883; Robert Charles de Grey Vyner, 1883-1915. Major Edward Robert Francis Compton, 1921-60; Robert Edward John (Robin) Compton, 1960-97.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 01423-322-583

    Fax: 01423-324-452

    Email: [email protected]

    Website: https://www.newbyhall.com

    Awards: Christie's/HHA Garden of the Year Award 1986.

    Historic Houses Member: Yes