HOLKER HALL, CUMBRIA

Grid Ref: SD 359 773
Date: 28 June 2011

 

 

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Holker Hall   Holker Hall

 

Holker Hall lies in South Cumbria about 2 miles south west of Cartmel. The hall stands on land formerly owned by Cartmel Priory, which was dissolved in 1536. The lands was bought by the Preston family. George Preston built a house. In 1644, at the time of the Civil War, the property was sequestrated by Parliament from Thomas Preston. Royalists commonly had their land seized and were obliged to buy it back if they could afford to do so. However, Thomas regained his property and on his death it went via his daughter Catherine to her husband Sir William Lowther, 1st Baronet of Marske by the Sea in Yorkshire. Sir William and Catherine Lowther had three children and Thomas (1699-1745) became the 2nd Baronet. Thomas married Lady Elizabeth Cavendish, daughter of William Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Devonshire, on 2 July 1723 and they had one son Sir William Lowther, 3rd Baronet (1727 – 1756). When he died without any issue his estates were divided and the Holker Hall property passed to a cousin Lord George Cavendish. He was the second son of William Cavendish, 3rd Duke of Devonshire. Lord George Cavendish lived until 1794. Holker Hall has remained in the Cavendish family ever since.

The original Preston family house was had alteration in the 18th and 19th century, the latter, designed by George Webster (1797-1864) in Jacobean Revival style. The west wing burned down in 1871 and was replaced by the celebrated Victorian ecclesiastical architects E. G. (Edward Graham) Paley (1823–1895) and Hubert Austin (1841 – 1915).

The Hall was designated Grade II* listed in 1970. In addition to the house there are formal gardens, park and woods amounting to 80 hectares. The parkland was laid out in the late 18th century. Joseph Paxton (1803-1865) designed a large conservatory for the house but it had now been demolished. Paxton rose from humble origins as a garden boy at the age of 15. The 6th Duke of Devonshire was most impressed by him and offered him the job of head gardener at Chatsworth when he was only 20. He went on to design the Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition of 1851 and Birkenhead Park and eventually became an M.P. and was knighted.

The interior of Holker Hall is a delight and out of all the many stately homes I have visited, it has my favourite bedroom . It is the Duke's Bedroom with the bay window shown at the top left in three of my pictures.

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Bedroom with a view   Holker Hall   Tea Room
Sources

Wikipedia articles on Holker Hall, Lord George Cavendish, Sir William Lowther 1st Baronet, Sir Thomas Lowther 2nd Baronet, Sir William Lowther 3rd Baronet, Joseph Paxton

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