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.

North Hertfordshire (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TL 22997 20868


Old Knebworth TL 22 SW KNEBWORTH OLD KNEBWORTH LANE (west side)

3/145 Knebworth House



Country House. Home of the Lytton family since 1492. It is one wing of a mid C16 brick courtyard house, the other 3 sides demolished in 1811 by Mrs Bulwer Lytton. Transformed as a Tudor- style stuccoed mansion c1815 - 1820 by J B Rebecca and modified in a more lavish Tudor style by H E Kendall for Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton soon after 1843. A third storey added to the E, entrance front in 1878 by John Lee. Servants' wing added at same time by George Devey, this demolished and replaced in 1950. Alterations including library by Sir Edwin Lutyens, 1907. 2-3 storeys. Stucco on red brick. Some early brickwork exposed on E elevation. This elevation has central and outer protections with tall angle turrets. Central porch has extravagant castellated attic. Carved gargoyles and blank heraldic motifs. The wings have large mullioned windows with traceried horizontal banding. Crow step central gables. Traceried octagonal turrets with ogee domes. Wall right of porch has 3 tall pointed-arch windows. Other windows are 2 liqhts with Tudor hood moulds. Late C19 3- window projection on left, joining with screen wall at right angles. This has massive gateway tower and round terminal tower. Garden elevation is more richly detailed. Continuous traceried frieze below battlements, interrupted by finials and slender octagonal turrets. Central porch is a round turret with square additions, including 1st floor oriel flanked by square turret. Deeply moulded 4-centre arch door. 2-liqht Tudor windows with rich cusping, those on left side larger and divided by transoms. Extension on riqht of late C19 with 3-storey canted bay window. S elevation is by Lutyens. It has 1:3:1 sash windows in moulded stone frames and a 2-storey canted bay with a mullioned leaded window.

Interior. Hall to riqht of screens passage is in original position and is an exceptionally well preserved examDle from the C17. Circa 1620 carved oak screen with balustrated minstrels gallery. 3 arches, the centre one with caryatid term figures. Open strapwork panelling. Other three walls have full height Corinthian panelling of cl7OO. Fluted columns and pilasters. Enriched entablature, broken forward as sedimented fireplace surround on W wall and as broad sedimented arch with detached columns on N wall. Fielded panelling to doors, soffits and blank arches. Continuous plinth imitating channeled ashlar. Original leaded windows. The two arches on left of screens passage are by Lutyens. W staircase is in 2 flights: Jacobean style c1843; diapered Tudor brickwork exposed on E staircase wall. Library in NW qround floor with bookshelves and fireplace by Lutyens, the latter with a medallion of Bulwer Lytton by Gilbert. State drawing room on N side 1st floor is decorated with painted heraldry by John Crace. In Mrs Bulwer Lytton's bedroom is a Jacobean overmantel; in the Falkland Room C18 Chinese wallpaper. (Pevsner (1977), RCHM Typescript, Knebworth House guidebook).

Listing NGR: TL2299220874


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Knebworth House Guidebook
Pevsner, N, Cherry, B, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, (1977)
Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England, Part 21 Hertfordshire,


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

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