Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Kirby Hall -reborn

Recently while on the English Heritage website I saw intriguing photos of Kirby Hall and remembered it from the 1999 movie of Jane Austen's "Mansfield Park". I've always been intrigued by ruins so I asked my penpal if he had ever visited the estate. He responded with these pictures from his 2009 visit.
From a distance in the newly relaid gardens the structure appears as a normal Elizabethan house; as if the owners had just stepped away. However it has laid abandoned since the 18th century when the owners walked away and only in the past few decades have portions of the interior been rebuilt.
Kirby Hall began construction in 1570 for Queen Elizabeth I's Lord Chancellor and close friend, Sir Christopher Hatton. Many claimed he was actually her lover (particularly her enemy Mary, Queen of Scots) as they were very close personal friends and he benefited financially from their relationship (obviously). Some things never change with jealousy and  mud-slinging!
The facades were based on French architectural pattern books of the time and the influence of the Italian Renaissance was obvious, particularly on the interior courtyard facades.
Whenever I see great places like this going to waste I always think "this would make great condos" and that holds true here. I'll take one on the courtyard side please!
Ruins fascinated homeowners in the 18th century and still do to this day.  Kirby Hall may actually be more interesting in this semi-ruinous but stabilized state rather than had it been lovingly cared for over the centuries.
The Great Hall and staircase have been restored and were heavily featured in the aforementioned Mansfield Park movie from 1999 as the home of Sir Thomas Bertram. Read more about its role in the movie with many film shots of the interior and exterior HERE and HERE.
My favorite detail is perhaps the inset railing in the stone wall of the great staircase below. Image is from the Jane Austen Film website here.
Add Kirby Hall on your list of places to visit should you ever be passing through Northamptonshire!


Dean Farris said...


I would like to buy a Kirby Hall Condo!


Mark Ruffner said...

Hi, Stefan,

I'm sure that original floorplans of Kirby Hall exist, but the great thing about it's current state is that modern accomodations (I'm thinking bathrooms and kitchens) could easily be incorporated in the condo project. I'll join you on the courtyard side, but I require a corner room.

Karena Albert said...

Stefan I would like to reserve an end unit please! By the way has your friend been EVERYWHERE!!?

The Arts by Karena
Gallery Opening!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

karena, YES!! He's been to most churches and house museums in GB!

Row homes and Cobblestones said...

Gorgeous... Packing now to move. I must say you have the most amazing friend!!!