Easton Neston - Nr Towcester, Northamptonshire, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Dragontree
N 52° 08.259 W 000° 58.676
30U E 638382 N 5778276
Easton Neston is one of the Great Buildings of the World and it stands in a large estate in Northamptonshire.
Waymark Code: WM58VH
Location: East Midlands, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 11/29/2008
Published By:Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 17

This great house was built in 1685-95 and then remodelled in 1700-2 by Nicholas Hawksmoor. Originally it was built for Sir William Fermoor who was later Lord Lempster. Wren was also consulted in 1682 and was influential in the architecture of the house. One wing survives from this period today. It has nine bays, is built of brick with stone dressings and has a hipped roof - as described by Nikolaus Pevsner in his book 'The Buildings of England - Northamptonshire'. There are similar buildings like this wing behind towards the stables.

Hawksmoor was born in 1661 and was an office assistant in the 1680s but also a close colleague of Wren for twenty years. He was also Clerk of the Works at Kensington Palace and Greenwich Hospital.

The exterior finish of the house is all Hawksmoor's work. It has ashlar facing from the Helmdon quarries. Originally the house was all brick and the first design was in the style of a model of wood at the R.I.B.A. Looking at the house today you can see how superior and noble it appears. In 1712 Morton described it as being 'the finest building stone I have seen in England'. The grandeur of the building has been compared with Chatsworth.

Immediately after Hawksmoor built Easton Neston he changed his style to a Baroque ideal which is even apparent inside the house. This change is thought to be from the influence of Vanbrugh who Hawksmoor worked with at Castle Howard from 1699. There were 95 drawings of the house left when Hawksmoor died.

The house itself is nine bays wide and two storeys high with a basement. There is a balustrade at the top and the some bays project a little from each other. The windows are simple with the ground floor ones having slight projecting hoods. Corinthian pillasters are seen all the way along both east and west fronts with the middle bay having columns giving it the only Baroque motif on the outside. Above this area is a piece of attic with a Late-Wren motif coat of arms 'Hora e sempre', a Fermors Italian motto.

The date in the frieze is 1702 and at the rear is an extra storey between the first floor and the balustrade not meant to be seen. There are more details of the interior described in the book.

In the grounds are eighteenth century stables, a temple dated 1641 on the rain water heads, gate piers on the west facade and statues similar to Stowe's, a canal pool and formal gardens from the 20th century. There are two lodges at the entrances to the estate on the Northampton Road (original A43) by John Raffield in 1822; they are on the north west and south west. Also, the gate screen, now the entrance to Towcester Racecourse (A5 Roman road the Watling Street) which lies within the grounds dates to the same period but is signed by William Croggan 1822 and is made of Coade stone.

The last Earl to own the estate died in 1867 leaving debts and work to be done on the house. This was duly completed when Sir Thomas Hesketh bought the property and altered the interior for the first time since it was built. A sewerage system was added in the 1880s and a tennis court added in 1887. The house was passed down the Hesketh line and in 1935 the formal gardens were created the estate and house was said to be in the best condition it had ever been.

The small church for Hulcote and the estate lies within the grounds and there is access to this, past the house. There are graves to the Heskeths and other owners here.
City, State or City, Country: Northamptonshire, England

Year Built: 1695 - 1710

Architect: Nicholas Hawksmoor

Webpage from GreatBuildings.com or other approved listing: [Web Link]

Other website with more information about building: [Web Link]

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greysman visited Easton Neston - Nr Towcester, Northamptonshire, UK 10/22/2009 greysman visited it

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