Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

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

East Northamptonshire (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TL 02318 95458


This list entry was subject to a minor amendment on 30/01/2015.

TL 0295, 18/2


(Formerly known as Apethorpe Hall)




Country house. Late C15 for Sir Guy Wolston, mid C16 for Sir Walter Mildmay, south and east ranges rebuilt as state apartments c.1623 for Sir Francis Fane later Earl of Westmorland. Orangery 1718 probably by John Lumley. Remodelled c.1740, probably by Roger Morris, for the Seventh Earl of Westmorland, mid C19 by Bryan and Edward Browning for the eleventh Earl of Westmorland and early C20 by Sir Reginald Blomfield for the first Lord Brassey. Squared coursed limestone and limestone ashlar, with collyweston slate and lead roofs. Originally hall with cross-wings, now double courtyard plan. Elizabethan, Jacobean and Palladian styles. 2 storeys with attics. East range, entrance front c.1623 is of limestone ashlar with a 9-window range of alternate 2- and 4-light stone mullion windows with transoms, and king mullions to larger windows. Centre bay breaks forward slightly and has shaped gable with finial, similar gables to end flanking bays. Centre 3 bays are flanked by lateral projecting stacks, each with 2 flues. Central porch has 2 pairs of Roman Doric columns on plinths with pairs of plain pilasters flanking the inner archway. Frieze with irregularly spaced triglyphs and rosettes and open balustrade with a central female bust. Inner arch has jewelled keystone and fielded panelled spandrels. 2-bay arcades of semi-circular arches, with keyblocks, flanking the porch are early C20 reconstructions of an original arcade, removed mid C19. Chamfered plinth with blocked cellar windows to left. Moulded string course above ground floor window heads and similar double string course above first floor windows. Parapet has subdivisions with finials and merlons at mid points of flanking ranges. Gabled roof, behind parapet, has C18 gabled dormers. South range, garden front, to left of entrance front is a irregular arrangement. Bay to far left is ashlar and breaks forward, with a 2-storey, 5-light stone mullion, canted bay window, all in similar style to the entrance front. 4 bays to centre have 3 gables of squared coursed limestone, added to existing range early C20. Lateral stacks between each bay. Bay to right is subdivided, part breaking forward with a 2-storey, 6-light stone mullion canted bay window, with transoms, and part with 4-light stone mullion windows. Ground and first floors of 3 bays to centre and left break forward in 3-stages with an eight bay open loggia at ground floor with semi-circular arches and diamond keyblocks. This was added c.1848 by Bryan Browning and has a flat roof, the S bay arcade to the left forms the axis of the garden front and has 3 tall 3-light stone mullion windows with transoms, at first floor, originally a conservatory. Each gable has a 7-light stone mullioned attic window. C16 gable to left of loggia has early C19 two-storey canted bay window with sashes. 2-window range set back to left is C16 with C18 sash windows with ashlar surrounds and glazing bars. Orangery c.1718 of ashlar is attached to left. 9-window range with tall sash window openings, with ashlar surrounds and keyblacks, and C20 casement windows with glazing bars. C20 door at base of third window from left. Cornice and panelled parapet with small urn finials. C16 gable to left of orangery is end of west range of second courtyard and has C19 two- and 5-light stone mullion windows. North elevation is an irregular range. From left to right the principal elements are a 2-storey canted bay window corresponding with and similar to the far right of the garden front. 5-window range of square windows at ground floor, and of blind sash windows at first floor, forms the library of c.1740. Late C15 gatearch, remodelled 1652, of 3 storeys. Gatearch with panelled doors has moulded stone surround and spandrels with the arms of Mildmay and Walsingham. To the left is a round head niche with vermiculated rustication and an heraldic griffin above. A similar arrangement was removed from the left side when the library was built. Above are the arms of Mildmay Fane, second Earl of Westmorland flanked by Cornucoplae. 3-light stone mullion, first floor window has arch-head lights, embellished cill and jambs and a device above with inscription: "Pace et amore suum palma coronat opus". Similar 2-light second floor window. 3 bays to right of gatearch are C16 and break forward and set back alternately, having various 2- and 3-light stone mullion windows. To the right the shaped gable of the Old Dining Room has 2 tall C18 sash windows at first floor, and a blind oval window in the gable. The kitchen is a 3-window range of tall 2-light wood mullion and transomed full height windows. To the right are 3 irregular gables with 2-, 3- and 4-light stone mullion windows. A lateral stack separates this range from a 2-storey range, modified C20 to form a caretakers dwelling. East elevation of main courtyard is of late C15 and C16, hall range with cross-wing. Irregular 7-window range with shaped gable of cross-wing to left of centre. 4-light, stone mullion, oriel window to hall, with transoms and arch-head lights, is to right of centre. Hall window, to immediate right, is formed with four 2-light stone mullion windows, with high cills. 2-storey porch, to right, originally gave access to the screens passage, and has a small shaped gablet, with pinnacles, above. Doorway with 4-centred arch-head, door with traceried panelling and 2-light stone mullion window above. 2-light stone mullion window and attached 5-light stone mullion canted bay window to far right. Similar canted bay window to far left. Cross-wing and bay to left have 3- and 4-light stone mullion windows. All windows have arch-head lights. Pitched roof behind plain parapets. West elevation of main courtyard is early C17; five-window range at first floor. 9-bay arcades at ground floor of blind semi-circular arches with keyblocks and plain pilasters between arches, supporting an entablature above. Reconstructed by Blomfield early C20 with the exception of the early C17 centre bay, which breaks forward as 2-storey porch with pairs of Doric ironstone columns. 8-light, stone mullion square bay window with transom, above porch, has plain parapet with centre merlon armorial device and pinnacles. Flanking first floor windows are 2- and 4-light stone mullion windows with transoms. Plain parapet with 3 shaped and stepped gables with pinnacles. South elevation of main courtyard has 3-storey late C15 gatearch, to centre, with oriel window at first floor. Octagonal stair turret with lead domed roof, to right. 4-window range to right is the library of c.1740. Rusticated ground floor with small square windows. First floor sash windows each have moulded stone surround and pulvinated frieze with entablature. Frieze below eaves, with cornice and shallow gabled roof. 4-window range to left of gatehouse is late C15/early C16 modified C17 and C18. 2 light mullion and transom windows at ground floor and sash windows at first floor. Plain parapet with pinnacles with stepped and shaped gable to right of centre. North elevation of main courtyard c.1623 remodelled c.1740 probably by Roger Morris. 10-window range. Rusticated ground floor with sash windows at first floor, all similar to the south elevation of the library. 3 bays to right of centre have engaged doric columns rising from a first floor plat band to support a triangular pediment, with central lunette. Pedimented bays break forward slightly and have a central panelled door at ground floor and alternate triangular and segmental pediments over first floor windows. Metope frieze with cornice and plain parapet above. East elevation of second court is an early C16 five-window range of 2-light stone mullion windows, with arch-head lights, at first floor and later 3-light windows at ground floor. Doorway with 4-centred arch-head, to left of centre. West elevation of second court is the rear of the hall range. Former porch into hall, to left, now modified. Various gables. 2 minor courtyards enclosed by the hall range and the matted passage were roofed mid C19. An archway from the north-west corner of this courtyard, now blocked, formerly led to a third courtyard which is formed from various outbuildings, modified C20. Interior: the hall c.1480 has C17 fireplace with 4-centred arch-head. Doorway with 4-centred arch-head in north wall. Gallery with turned balusters and some reset C17 panelling. Original 4-bay roof with 5 trusses with cambered arched-braced collar, 2 tiers of purlins and 3 tiers of windbraces. Mid C19 heraldic glass in oriel window by Edward Browning. A moulded doorway in the south wall of the hall leads to the cross-wing consisting of 3 rooms at ground floor and originally one room at first floor. To the south is the parlour. These ranges have roof structures of c.1624; they were remodelled internally by Browning mid C19. The matted passage runs parallel to the hall range and originally gave access to the cross-wing at right angles to the parlour; it has been incorporated into the range by later additions. The Old Dining room, to north of the hall, is noted as having a plaster barrel ceiling and fireplace with C17 plaster overmantel with 3 armless terms between 2 armorial panels. North range of main courtyard has centre gatearch; canopy room above noted as having a quadripartite vault. 2 rooms at first floor to left of gatearch, noted as having C18 panelling. To the right of the gatearch is the library c.1740, all internal fittings were removed in 1949. To the far right of the library is a C17 staircase noted as having turned balusters. The south range of the main courtyard contained the state rooms of c.1623 at first floor. The ground floor was originally an open flagged room and has heavily rusticated doorways at either end. A new dining room was created at the east end in 1876. At the west end is the White Stair remodelled c.1848 by Bryon Browning, it has stick balustrades and cantilevered stone treads. Plasterwork panels c.1740; panel on south wall has swags and scroll pediment. The Great Dining Room or Tapestry Room to east of the White Stair has a clunch fireplace of 1562 and has a rectangular opening with sunk panelled surround and overmantel with inscribed central panel and flanking pairs of quasi Ionic pilasters. Dentilled cornice, coved ceiling with strapwork incorporating armorial crests. The drawing room to the east has C17 scratch moulded panelling. Oolite fireplace with black marble insets and ionic columns frieze above rectangular opening has open book and flanking arms holding sword and sceptre. Overmantel has bas-relief, Sacrifice of Isaac, and former flanking figures, one now missing. Coved ceiling with fretwork of broad ribs enclosing armorial crests. Doorway to right of fireplace gives access to conservatory of c.1848. The flings room to the east has an oolite and marble fireplace, with flanking ionic columns, a frieze depicting a hunting scene and an overmantel with 2 terms holding back drapes to reveal the figures of War and Peace. Ceiling with central cove has strapwork and large central panel containing the Stuart Royal Arms. The east range of the main courtyard contains the entrance hall at ground floor, remodelled by Blomfield early C20 and the long gallery of c.1623 at first floor. In the entrance hall is a reset statue of James I. The oak stair to the south of the entrance hall is C17, installed in 1922. Secondary stair, to left, rising from first floor, has turned balusters. The Despenser Room at ground floor, to the south end of this range, has restored C17 panelling and fireplace with 4-centred arch-head and Jacobean wooden overmantel with Despenser crests. The Dukes Room or Princes Room immediately above the Despenser Room has an oolite fireplace with marble inset. Flanking pilasters, frieze with Prince of Wales devices and broken pediment above, supporting a carved panel depicting a ship in full sail. Flat, strapwork, ceiling. The long gallery has early C17 panelling with jewelled cutwork frieze and fluted corinthian pilasters flanking windows. Oolite fireplace with black marble insets has flanking ionic columns supporting anentablature and broken pediment out of which rises a figure of King David playing a harp. Flanking columns; reclining figures and central inscribed panel. Flat, ribbed, ceiling with geometrical patterns. Apethorpe Palace was begun by Sir Guy Woolston in late C15; in 1550 it passed to Sir Walter Mildmay and in 1617 to Sir Francis Fane, later Earl of Westmorland, who was responsible for much rebuilding. Elizabeth I stayed in 1566 and James I in 1605, 1614, 1616 and 1619, who used Apethorpe for hunting. The Seventh Earl of Westmorland began an ambitious Palladian remodelling c.1740 which was not completed. The house was altered mid C19 for the Westmorlands. In 1904 the estate was sold to Leonard Brassey, later Baron Brassey, grandson of the railway contractor Thomas Brassey, who engaged Sir Reginald Blomfield as architect. In 1949 the house became an approved school resulting in various modifications to the interior. Unoccupied at time of survey. The east front of Apethorpe Palace forms part of the forecourt to Apethorpe Palace with wall and gatepier attached to north-east corner of east front of Apethorpe Palace (q.v.) and walls, gatepier, and attached gates attached to and extending approximately 40 metres east of the East front of Apethorpe Palace (q.v.). (Buildings of England: Northamptonshire: p84; RCHM: An Inventory of Architectural Monuments in North Northamptonshire: p5; Country Life: March 20th 1909, p414-423: March 27th 1909, p450-459)

Listing NGR: TL0231895458


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

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Books and journals
Pevsner, N, Cherry, B, The Buildings of England: Northamptonshire, (1973), 84
'Country Life' in 20 March, (1909), 414-423
'Country Life' in 27 March, (1909), 450-459
Inventory of Architectural Monuments in North Northamptonshire, (1984)


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: 29 Sep 2003
Reference: IOE01/11335/31
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Roger Ashley. Source Historic England Archive
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