This browser is not fully supported by Historic England. Please update your browser to the latest version so that you get the best from our website.


List Entry Summary

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


List entry Number: 1371298



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

County: Northamptonshire

District: South Northamptonshire

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Castle Ashby

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: I

Date first listed: 03-May-1968

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: LBS

UID: 235416

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Building

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


CASTLE ASHBY CASTLE ASHBY PARK SP8659 13/16 Castle Ashby 03/05/68


Country house. Begun 1574 for Henry, 1st Lord Compton and completed c.1600 for William 2nd Lord Compton and 1st Earl of Northampton (created 1618). 1624-35 major remodelling including construction of south screen, and raising and enlarging of east and west ranges. Hall range doubled in depth, other additions and alterations made early C18. West range partly remodelled and other work carried out 1748. Hall rebuilt 1771-72 following collapse of roof. Extensive renovation 1797-1807. Long Gallery and Chapel remodelled by T.G. Jackson, c.1880. Hall rebuilt by Fairfax Wade 1884 following second collapse of roof. Other C20 alterations. Coursed squared limestone and limestone ashlar, lead roofs, stone internal stacks. Courtyard house, originally U-plan. Entrance front to south consists of 2-storey, 9-window screen flanked by 3-storey, wings. Screen has pedimented central bay with wide segmental-arched doorway and Venetian window to 1st floor above, both flanked by round-headed niches. Bearded head to keyblock of doorway. Screen is articulated by superimposed orders, a Tuscan order to ground floor with 3 bands of vermiculated rustication, and an unfluted Ionic order to 1st floor. Vermiculated rustication to alternate blocks of doorway. Tuscan order has entablature with triglyphs and metopes bearing 3 crests of the Comptons either side of doorway - demi-dragon, wyvern holding sheaf of corn, and beacon with scroll reading NISI DOMINUS - otherwise martial trophies. Centre breaks forward slightly and has attached columns framing doorway, window and niches. Pilasters to rest of screen, whose end bays break forward, with paired pilasters to inner angles. Raised blank panels to ground floor, 12-pane sash windows to ground floor of end bays and to 1st floor, all with moulded and eared stone surrounds. Pediment bears large cartouche of arms and is set against plain, solid stone-coped parapet. Lettered parapets either side reading DOMINUS CUSTODIAT INTROITUM TUUM. Facing courtyard, screen has 7 bays, similar articulation with round-arched arcading to ground floor either side of centre, attached columns throughout and lettered parapet reading DOMINUS CUSTODIAT EXITUM TUUM. Against end bays rise 5-storey octagonal stair turrets to wings flanking screen. Turrets are of coursed squared limestone except for top storeys of ashlar, which are belvederes with windows to all sides, now mostly blocked inside. Stone cross windows and lettered parapets bearing family motto, and dates 1624 (s.e. turret) and 1635 (s.w. turret). Tudor-arched doors to court, that to south-west turret with arms to spandrels of 1st Lord Compton and his wife, Frances Hastings, who died 1574. Front ends of wings flanking screen are symmetrical, of 2 bays with 4-light stone mullion and transom windows innermost and similar 3-light windows outermost. inner 1st floor windows are in superimposed oriels that to 2nd floor projecting slightly further. 1st floor oriels are supported by consoles either end and to centre, with carved consoles and gadrooning in between to south-west oriel only, and arcaded fluting to base of 2nd floor oriels. Lettered parapets with Latin text adapted from Psalm 127, verse 1 with lines reversed, NISI DOMINUS CUSTOS CUSTODIVERIT DOMUM FRUSTRA VIGILAT QUI CUSTODIT EAM NISI DOMINUS AEDIFICAVERIT DOMUM IN VANUM LABORAVERUNT QUI AEDIFICANT EAM. Beginning over south front of west wing with Nisi Dominus, text continues round inner sides of courtyard, in varum appearing above front end of east wing and ending over east front where east range meets north range with date 1624; section over hall dated 1771. East front facing garden has irregular composition and baby windows either end. Left end bay has large Venetian window to chapel with blocking to head of central round-arched light which is flanked by blank raised panels. Similar panels below lights of 4-light stone mullion window above. Right end section has pair of 2-storey canted bay windows with mullion and transom windows, which flank stone cross window to ground floor and 3-light stone mullion and transom window to 1st floor. 3-storey, 10-window range in between has former open loggia to ground floor with round-headed arches divided by pairs of diamond banded pilasters flanking narrow niches. Similar niches to 1st and 2nd floors between pairs of sash windows with moulded stone surrounds; raised blank panels below niches and 2nd floor windows, and sash windows to all floors. Loggia enclosed 1691. Rainwater heads dated 1748 either side of chapel bay. Mid C19 terracotta cherubs by Blashfield 1868 in niches, representing months. Lettered parapets of right end bay windows reads SALUS EST IN DOMINO. Latin text from Psalm 128 verse 1 begins above right end bay and continues over north front: BEATI OMNES QUI TIMENT DOMINUM QUI AMBULANT IN VIIS EJUS and continuing LAUDATE NOMEN DOM. to end round the corner over one end of west range INI AMEN 1827. North front: 2 storeys, basement and attic: 10-window range, of roughly symmetrical composition. Central door with moulded stone surround approached by flight of steps. Segmental-arched windows above to 1st and 2nd floors with stone mullions and transoms and moulded stone surrounds. Central bay flanked by plain giant pilasters. 2 bays of cross windows either side with moulded stone surrounds. Segmental-arched heads, then full height canted bay windows with stone mullion and transom windows. 6-light window to 1st floor far left with stone mullion and transoms and king mullion, pairs of cross windows to far right. 2-light stone-mullioned basement windows and horizontal oval windows to attic with moulded stone surrounds. Plain giant pilaster to right angle only. Rainwater heads to inner angles of bay windows dated 1721, two more to left end dated 1772. 3-storey, 10-window west range faces back court and has 6-panel doors to left and right of centre, with moulded stone surrounds, that to left with fanlight, that to right with overlight. Leaded cross windows with moulded stone surrounds, stepped in pairs to left of centre where they light west staircase and pair of 2-light stone mullion windows above with similar surrounds. Early C18 single-storey screen walls come forward and curve outwards to frame central 7 bays with service rooms behind. Plain stone-coped parapet to 7-bay centre, taller lettered parapets to 2 bays either end. That to right reads FICANT EAH and does not relate to anything else; possibly part of an earlier inscription (VCH). Side to inner courtyard has unusual 2nd floor stone cross windows with shouldered heads. Interior: stone rib-vaulted undercrofts below hall and former stone parlour, the latter rebuilt at lower level c.1920. Large carved wood chimneypieces from Northampton House, Canonbury, in Hall dated 1599, and King William's Room dated 1601 with terms supporting 2-tiered overmantel, cartouches of arms and allegorical figures in niches. Plasterwork ceiling of c.1625-30 in King William's Room with strapwork and cartouches of arms; similar ceiling in Old Library. West staircase of similar date: open-well serving all storeys with fine carved wood openwork panels to balustrade and carved stone doorcases to landings. Lady Margaret's Bower - a small room decorated by 2nd Earl who succeeded 1630 and was killed 1643 at Battle of Hopton Heath. His arms impaling those of his wife decorate painted wood corner chimneypiece. Painted wood panelling with large round-arched panels with small landscape panels above inscribed with a sign of the Zodiac. Recess for day-bed and plaster ceilings with strapwork. Painted decoration attributed to Matthew Sooderick by E. Croft-Murray. East staircase of c.1666, open-well with openwork acanthus panels to balustrade. Carved wood drops to overmantels of State rooms in style of 6rinling Gibbons. Mid C18 plaster cornices to 1st floor rooms of west range. Neo-classical plasterwork roundels to former Sculpture Room. End Drawing Room remodelled c.1807 possibly by C.H. Tatham. Chinese Bedroom created c.1871 by E.H. Godwin using late C18 Chinese wall-paper; dark green lacquered woodwork and ceramic fireplace with Chinese fish, probably by Minton. Dressing room en-suite. Chapel remodelled by T.G. Jackson with woodwork inspired by original chapel pew, since converted to bedroom. South screen attributed by Colen Campbell to Inigo Jones, but some surviving evidence suggests that the architect was Edward Carter. Mr. Johnston, who supervised rebuilding of Hall range 1771-2 according to accounts, may be John Johnson of Leicester. The Mr. Tatham mentioned in Lady Northampton's letter of September 1806 as in change of work be carried out in East range is probably C.H. Tatham. (Buildings of England: Northamptonshire: 1973, ppl39-144; VCH: Northamptonshire: Vol 4: 1937, pp230-232; Castle Ashby Archives; G. Jackson-Stops: Country Life: Jan. 30 1986, pp243-253 and Feb 6 1986, pp3l0-15; 6th Marquis of Northampton: History of the Comptons: privately printed 1930)

Listing NGR: SP8626959249

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Pevsner, N, Cherry, B, The Buildings of England: Northamptonshire, (1973), 139-144
Ryland, W, Adkins, D, Sejeantson, R, The Victoria History of the County of Northampton, (1937), 230-232
Sixth Marquis of Northampton, , History of the Comptons, (1930)
'Country Life' in 30 January, (1986), 248-253
'Country Life' in 6 February, (1986), 310-315
Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England, Part 30 Northamptonshire,

National Grid Reference: SP 86269 59249


© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1371298 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 23-Oct-2017 at 01:39:31.

End of official listing