Newby Hall has been owned by the descendents of the Weddell family since 1748, who lived in the house shortly after it was built and designed by Christopher Wren. It blends Roman-style architecture with Regency and Victorian buildings, creating a house that reflects the different needs and tastes of its owners.
Newby Hall gets its name from the Nubie family, who owned the land in the 13th century. In 1689, the estate was sold to Sir Edward Blackett, MP for Ripon. Blackett demolished the old house and hired Sir Christopher Wren to design the new building. In 1748 the house was sold to the Weddell family, who are the ancestors of Richard Compton, the present owner. Weddell was a keen traveller and wanted to display his collection of classical Roman sculptures and Gobelin tapestries, so he contacted neoclassical architects John Carr and Robert Adam. They added two wings to the east of the house and planned the statue gallery and tapestry room. The sofas and chairs in the tapestry room are the only pieces of Chippendale furniture known to have retained their original covers. Roman architecture also inspired the plasterwork in the Entrance Hall and the Corinthian columns in the dining room, giving the room a grandeur and elegance rarely found elsewhere.
The next owner of the house, the 3rd Lord Grantham, felt that the library was too small for his book collection, so he turned the dining room into a library and designed the new dining room himself in the Regency style, with buttercup yellow walls. His daughter, Mary, commissioned a Victorian church for the grounds in 1872 in memorial to her son Frederick Vyner, who was murdered in Greece by brigands. She also added the Victorian Wing, including the wood-panelled Billiards Room, which contrasts dramatically with the rest of the house.
The gardens were mostly created by the present owner’s grandfather, who planned and planted 50 acres’ worth of colourful herbaceous borders and formal gardens. His children had a significant role in redecorating and re-organising the layout of the house so that it could work both as a functioning family home and a visitors’ attraction. Now Richard and his wife, Lucinda, continue to look after the house and gardens, which have a miniature railway running through the grounds. The gardens have won the Historic Houses Garden of the Year award twice, once in 1986 and again in 2019, and the estate is a popular location for tv and film productions like Peaky Blinders (2013), Mansfield Park (2007) and Victoria (2016).
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