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The Menagerie, Castle Ashby

Description: The Menagerie

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 3 May 1968
English Heritage Building ID: 235441

OS Grid Reference: SP8683059378
OS Grid Coordinates: 486830, 259378
Latitude/Longitude: 52.2258, -0.7302

Location: Castle Ashby, Northamptonshire NN7 1LQ

Locality: Castle Ashby
Local Authority: South Northamptonshire District Council
County: Northamptonshire
Country: England
Postcode: NN7 1LQ

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Listing Text

13/41 The Menagerie

- II*

Garden building. Begun 1761 (contract signed October 1761), certainly no later
than 1774, with alterations of c.1840 to rear. Limestone ashlar, lead and slate
roofs. Tripartite plan. Single storey; 7 bays. Central 5-bay segmental portico
with 4 Tuscan columns and pilasters either end approached by 3 moulded stone
steps. Triple-stepped bases to columns which bear plain frieze with paterae
above columns and to centre of lintels, deep moulded cornice with elements of
Roman Doric cornice, blocking cornice, and cast-iron ogee-section gutter to base
of lead-covered dome. Dome has slight ogee profile and is crowned by dragon
supporter bearing armorial shield, both of lead. Curved rear wall of portico,
with different radius to that of portico, forms elliptical space and is divided
into 5 bays by pilasters supporting frieze with paterae. Round-headed niches to
upper level of 3 central bays containing bronzed plaster busts, casts after the
antique, one of which is now missing. Stone-paved floor to portico, fitted wood
bench within and low cast-iron railings between columns with gate to central
bay. Single-bay wings either side, slightly set back with round-arched sash
windows set in shallow round-arched recesses. Portico cornice is continued over
wings, with blocking cornices with recumbant lions looking out either end. Brick
cottage to rear extensively altered or rebuilt c.1840. Design of Menagerie is
attributed to Lancelot "Capability" Brown for 8th Earl of Northampton. Brown's
plan for the landscaping of the park, begun 1764, in Castle Ashby archives,
shows no building on site of Menagerie. Robert Adam's plan for improvements to
the park of 1760 does however show a garden temple near the site, although the
building shown on the plan has no particular resemblance to the Menagerie. As
executed it is notably more advanced in its neo-classical design than Brown's
Kentian-style Dairy (q.v.). (Castle Ashby park and gardens are included with
HBMC Register of Parks and Gardens for Northamptonshire at Grade I; Buildings of
England: Northamptonshire: 1973, p144; Castle Ashby Archives; Lucinda Lambton
"Beastly Buildings": the National Trust book of Architecture for Animals: 1985,

Listing NGR: SP8683059378

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.