Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of CALKE ABBEY
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

South Derbyshire (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SK 36773 22593


PARISH OF CALKE CALKE PARK SK 32 SE 4/13 29-5-52 Calke Abbey I GV Country House. C16 and C17, extensively remodelled in 1702-4 possibly by William Johnson of Nottingham. Portico 1806-8 by William Wilkins Senior, when the staircase added in 1728-9 by James Gibbs was removed. Alterations 1841-2 by Henry Stevens. Rubblestone, brick, render and sandstone ashlar from Pistern Hill quarry. Roofs hidden behind balustraded parapets. Moulded plinth, second floor band and richly moulded cornice. Basement and two principal storeys. Basically an early C18 rectangular plan with pavilions projecting at the angles, built around the courtyard of an earlier house and incorporating parts of that house, accounting for certain irregularities. South elevation of 3-7-3 bays. In the centre a three-bay pedimented Ionic portico over a basement with coupled pilasters, added by William Wilkins. The basement forms a porch arcade to the present main entrance with half glazed door. Flanked on each side by three glazing bar sashes in stepped keyed and moulded architraves. Central doorway above, now a window, has a sumptuous moulded architrave with broken segmental pediment on lavish consoles. Flanked on each side by three glazing bar sashes in stepped keyed and moulded architraves. Seven similar windows above. Projecting three bay pavilions have three tiers of similar fenestration, flanked by giant fluted pilasters on tall bases and with a rare form of composite capitals based on a plate in Philibert de l'Orme's treatise on architecture published in the C17. The capitals are set well below the cornice. The orders are repeated on the return elevations. East elevation of 2-10-2 bays. The paired end bays continue the theme of the pavilions with giant orders repeated on the returns. The ten bays between have a full length balcony on banded columns, added by Wilkins. Former doorway with stepped keyed and moulded architrave, flanked by glazing bar sashes in moulded architraves. Ten glazing bar sashes above in moulded architraves, the centre pair more elaborate. Ten similar windows above again. West elevation of 3-7-3 bays, the centre deeply recessed, with three bay returns. The projecting three bays repeat the theme of the pavilions to the south elevation. The centre part is rendered and the fenestration is grouped 2-3-2, with glazing bar sashes in moulded architraves. Central doorcase with a variant version of a Gibbs surround, with volutes embracing the window above. The north return has an odd recessed bay suggesting remodelling of an earlier house. North elevation of 3-8-3 bays and two storeys owing to the rise in ground level. Glazing bar sashes in stepped keyed surrounds. Angle quoins to three bay projections. Various later service buildings attached including an early C19 single storey block with tripartite windows. Internal courtyard has a three-bay round-arched arcade of early C17 character and various evidence of disturbed masonry. The fenestration is mostly glazing bar sashes in plain raised surrounds. Lead downpipes with moulded brackets and hopper heads. Interior: low entrance hall with two iron columns. Principal staircase to the north east climbs the full height of the house. Two balusters per tread, each standing on a carved miniature urn. Carved treads and richly panelled dado. The lobby and landings have round-arched doors and wooden Corinthian pilasters. The saloon fills the upper two storeys of the centre part of the south range, originally the hall. At each end is a fireplace flanked by coupled Corinthian pilasters carrying an enormous broken segmental pediment without bedmould. Panelling in two tiers, Corinthian pilasters to the lower part. Heavily coffered ceiling. The saloon was remodelled by Stevens. Dining room in the south west pavilion, remodelled 1793-4 by Wilkins, with Ionic columns to buffet recess and delicate plasterwork. Drawing room in the south east pavilion, also remodelled by Wilkins, as was the library to the north. Earlier evidence in one bedroom which has staggered panelling and a sumptuous late C16 carved chimneypiece. The house stands on the site of an Augustinian Priory founded c1131. It came into the possession of Sir Henry Harpur in 1621 and remained in the Harpur and Harpur-Crewe family until 1985. Bibliography: H Colvin 'Calke Abbey, Derbyshire'in Country Life October-November 1984 pp 1062-1065, 1162-1165 and 1242-1246. H Colvin 'Calke Abbey' The National Trust 1985.

Listing NGR: SK3677322593


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Books and journals
Colvin, H, Calke Abbey, (1985)
'Country Life' in November, (1984), 1062-1065
'Country Life' in November, (1984), 1162-1165
'Country Life' in November, (1984), 1242-1246
Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England, Part 10 Derbyshire,


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

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Date: 04 Aug 2006
Reference: IOE01/15734/04
Rights: Copyright IoE Mrs Gay Evans. Source Historic England Archive
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