Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Monday, 16 November 2020

Wentworth Woodhouse: A House and its Follies

I have posted in past years about the spectacular country house Wentworth Woodhouse, which stands in my home area of the West Riding of Yorkshire. At long last its future appears secure and restoration of the vast building is taking place as funds become available.

The Historic Houses blog had two articles about the estate last July. One, Wentworth Woodhouselooks at the history of the house and its owners, and the second at five of the buildings - follies, although one is a Mausoleum - which ornament the estate. It can be seen at The Follies of Wentworth Woodhouse and has some good photographs to illustrate it.

The story of the rise of Wentworth Woodhouse and it owners, but, more sombrely, of its and their  decline in the twentieth century, can be read in Catherine Bailey’s Black Diamonds.

That book helped bring attention to the house which is one of the great but little known treasures of Yorkshire and of the eighteenth century. Fifty and more years of inaccessibility and decay have given it an enigmatic and secret quality that is now being made available to visitors and the wider public.

The survival and rescue of this outstanding building, its follies and parkland against the odds is something we should all appreciate and give thanks for.

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