Menagerie House, 1-3 Park Drive, Wentworth Castle, Stainborough


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Menagerie House, 1-3 Park Drive, Wentworth Castle, Stainborough, S75 3EN


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Statutory Address:
Menagerie House, 1-3 Park Drive, Wentworth Castle, Stainborough, S75 3EN

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

Barnsley (Metropolitan Authority)
National Grid Reference:


Banqueting house, now three cottages. c1717 perhaps executed to a design by James Gibbs, constructed by the Bower family, estate masons, for Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford. Mid-C18 rear wing extension built for William Wentworth, 2nd Earl of Strafford. C19 and C20 alterations to form three cottages.

Reasons for Designation

Menagerie House, Wentworth Castle, of c1717 perhaps executed to a design by James Gibbs, constructed by the Bower family, estate masons for Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, with mid-C18 rear wing and lean-to extensions, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Historic interest: as an early C18 banqueting house built overlooking a cascade constructed in the landscaped woods to enable the Wentworth family and favoured guests to enjoy the view whilst taking refreshment;

* Architectural interest: the original range is designed in a classical style with a symmetrical front elevation of sandstone ashlar containing a row of three rooms, the grandest central room notably retaining much of its original appearance with a coved ceiling, moulded cornice, fielded-panel dado and a marble fireplace flanked by giant, fluted pilasters;

* Group value: Menagerie House has an aesthetic relationship with the other C18 structures and pleasure buildings of the estate such as Queen Anne’s Obelisk (1734, Grade II*), Stainborough Castle Gothick folly (1728-30, Grade II*), the Duke of Argyll’s Monument (1744, Grade II*), Rotunda Temple (1746, Grade II*), the obelisk to Lady Mary Wortley-Montagu (1747, Grade II), and the Serpentine Bridge (1758, Grade II) which form the designed landscape (Grade I on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens) in which Wentworth Castle (various dates, Grade I) stands.


The Stainborough estate was sold to Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford (2nd creation, 1672-1739) in 1708. Wentworth had bought the estate after the nearby Wentworth Woodhouse estate was inherited by another branch of the family, the Watson Wentworths. He immediately set about developing the house and grounds in rivalry and to press his claim to the title of Earl of Strafford. In 1731 he renamed the estate Wentworth Castle.

A birds-eye view of the estate drawn by Kip and Knyff in 1714 shows a highly formal, geometric layout. The alterations over the intervening years are apparent in the c1730 birds-eye view of the estate drawn by Thomas Badeslade and engraved by John Harris. On the E side of the estate (shown at the bottom of both plans) estate archives record that on 30 April 1717 ‘Bower has finished ye building in ye menagerie’; the Bower family were the estate masons. The Harris engraving shows a rectangular, single-storey building with a hipped roof and ridge stack and a row of six windows with a doorway with steps at the right-hand end and a doorway with steps to the narrow, return elevation. It overlooks a cascade in the woods which is recorded as complete by 1725. The cascade has previously been attributed to the architect Thomas Archer, although the date of the design is unknown. Archer had a long association with Wentworth Castle, but correspondence between Archer and the Earl ceased after 1714, suggesting that he retired then. Subsequently James Gibbs worked for the Earl; it is known that he designed the long gallery for the main house (due to a 1724 receipt). He was also preparing ‘A Book of Architecture’ around this time (published in 1728) which contained 35 designs for garden buildings and 93 for outdoor ornaments, the first English pattern book of its kind. It was aimed at gentlemen, ‘especially in the remote parts of the Country, where little or no assistance for Designs can be procured…with Daughts…which may be executed by any Workman who understands Lines, either as here Design’d, or with some Alteration…easily made by a person of Judgement’. The Earl was a subscriber and there is a possibility that Menagerie House was either designed by Gibbs or derived from his pattern book.

Although not exactly as built, the Badeslade depiction of Menagerie House is accurate enough to suggest that the central, rear wing was not built until after c1730. It, and the flanking lean-to extensions were probably added in the mid C18, perhaps around the time the nearby (slightly relocated) entrance gateway (Grade II) was built in c1768 for the 2nd Earl of Strafford. It is likely that the wing was used as an employee’s house.

At an unknown date in the C19 the S end of the original E range was converted to a cottage. An attic floor was inserted with a dormer window above a small, single-storey extension which was built against the S side elevation. The extension is shown on the 1:10560 OS map surveyed in 1850-51, published in 1855.

During the C20 the N end of the original E range was also converted to a two-storey cottage. A first floor was inserted which cuts across the large window apertures; this is not apparent on an historic photograph taken c1900. The unhorned, six-over-nine pane sash windows shown in the photo were replaced by fixed-frame and casement windows.

More recently, a modern, single-storey, flat-roofed extension has been built against the outer, W elevation of the rear wing, which is shown on the 1962 OS map. A small lean-to porch has also been built against the S, side elevation of the rear wing.


Banqueting house, now three cottages. c1717 perhaps executed to a design by James Gibbs, constructed by the Bower family, estate masons, for Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford. Mid-C18 rear wing extension built for William Wentworth, 2nd Earl of Strafford. C19 and C20 alterations to form three cottages.

Sandstone ashlar, painted and stuccoed brickwork, C20 concrete tiles.

PLAN: the original, rectangular E range is single-storeyed with partial upper floors inserted at each end, a small, central cellar, and a small, C19, single-storey extension at the S end. On the W side is a central, mid-C18, two-storeyed wing flanked by single-storey, lean-to extensions. Abutting the NW side of the wing is a small, single-storey, modern extension, and there is a modern, lean-to porch against the S side.

EXTERIOR: the main façade of the E range faces E looking across Menagerie Wood. The single-storey elevation is constructed of ashlar sandstone blocks with a plinth and moulded eaves cornice. It is of seven bays with a symmetrical design. The outer bays (one and seven) have former doorways, now converted to windows. Both have swept-shouldered architraves with pulvinated friezes and consoled, triangular pediments. The apertures contain timber fixed-frame glazing over casements. Both retain the original ashlar blocks forming the sides of a short flight of steps (stone steps presently missing). A sill band links the window architraves of the other bays. All have pulvinated friezes and consoles apart from the central bay which has a balustraded apron and a swept-shouldered architrave, pulvinated frieze and consoled, triangular pediment like those of the former doorways. The roof is hipped with one original ridge stack to the left with an ashlar plinth, brick shaft, and stone cornice. There is also a renewed brick ridge stack to the right of centre. The roof is covered in concrete roof tiles.

The narrow, side elevations are built of brick with stone quoins wrapping round from the E front elevation. The stone plinths and sill band also wrap round as far as the first apertures, both doorways, now (2016) windows. The moulded stone eaves cornice runs right across both elevations. The N elevation has two high doorways with gauged brick lintels. The bottom of the left-hand doorway has been bricked up to form a window with timber casements. The right-hand doorway has a door of six fielded-panels. Above, within the original aperture, is a rectangular overlight and the floor plate of the inserted first floor with a timber casement window above. The S elevation has a central, inserted dormer window, which rises through the stone cornice. It has a timber casement window and is flat-roofed. On the right-hand side is a high doorway with a gauged brick lintel which has been bricked up at the bottom to form a window with timber casements. The left-hand side of the elevation is obscured by a small, single-storey, brick extension rendered on the E side. The extension projects southwards with a double-pitched roof of concrete tiles. It has a timber casement window in the E elevation and a former doorway converted to a timber casement window in the W elevation with an inserted window to its right.

The rear, W side of the original building has an inserted brick eaves stack on the left-hand side. The elevation is almost completely obscured by the mid-C18, two-storey wing and flanking, single-storey lean-tos. The stuccoed, main W elevation of the wing has a stone plinth and is of three bays with a triangular pediment with an oculus. The ground floor has a shallow, round-headed niche containing a window with a projecting stone sill. The right-hand bay has a similar window, while the left-hand bay is obscured by a small, modern, flat-roofed extension. The first floor has three smaller windows with projecting stone sills. The windows are timber casements, with small-pane glazing to the oculus. The double-pitched roof has concrete tiles and a brick ridge stack.

To each side is a shallower, lean-to of painted brick with a stone plinth and impost band, and concrete-tiled roof. Both have a shallow, round-headed niche containing a wide doorway with a plain, stone frame (that to the left-hand lean-to now blocked) with the head of the niche filled by a Diocletian window. The right-hand doorway has a six-panelled door, with the central two panels now glazed. There is a modern, timber, lean-to porch in the return between the lean-to and the S elevation of the wing.

INTERIOR: the original E range has three rooms, the N room now (2016) sub-divided by an inserted cross-wall. The rooms have moulded cornices, that to the N room now visible on the inserted first floor. The S room has a six fielded-panel door and windows with fielded-panel reveals and soffits and moulded architraves. It has a corner fireplace, missing the chimney-piece. The central room has a coved ceiling above the moulded cornice and a fielded-panel dado. The N and S cross-walls have wide doorways on their S sides; the N doorway has a six fielded-panel door and wide, moulded architrave; the S doorway has been blocked, but retains a similar moulded architrave. To the right of the S doorway is a fireplace framed by giant fluted pilasters which rise to the cornice. It has a marble chimney-piece (presently painted black) with a moulded timber architrave, and a C20 tiled fireplace. Above is a moulded timber frame for a mirror (no longer present). The N room has a fireplace in the W wall, missing the chimney-piece, with a boxed-in staircase to the inserted first floor on its S side. The first-floor rooms have four-panelled doors. The NE first-floor room has a small, cast-iron chimney-piece. The cellar is reached by a flight of stone steps now within the S lean-to extension. The barrel-vaulted cellar is built of rubble-stone with a window opening on its E side with a hinged, timber shutter. It has a stone table-top on brick stands.

The interior of the S lean-to extension is sub-divided by an arcade of two round-headed arches with a central, square pillar. On the E side of this is a timber staircase rising to the attic storey. It has a moulded timber handrail, square newel posts and stick balusters. In the SE corner a flight of three steps descends to the doorway into the S room of the original E range. Adjacent is a doorway opening into the single-storey S extension. On the W side of the arcade is the doorway to the cellar steps. It has a plank door with ventilation slits. The N lean-to extension has no fixtures or fittings of interest. The central wing has a staircase in the NE corner.


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

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Dr Patrick Eyres, supporting document for Menagerie House citing various published books and articles.
Friedman, T, 'an unbounded prospect of a very rich Country': James Gibbs at Wentworth Castle' in Eyres, P, (ed), Wentworth Castle and Georgian Political Gardening: Jacobites, Tories and dissident Whigs: Proceedings of the 2010 Wentworth Castle Conference, Barnsley: Wentworth Castle Heritage Trust (2012), 71-90.


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

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 06 Apr 2002
Reference: IOE01/06483/03
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr John Kril. Source Historic England Archive
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