Description: Longleat House
Date Listed: 11 September 1968
English Heritage Building ID: 313358
OS Grid Reference: ST8070543074
OS Grid Coordinates: 380705, 143074
Latitude/Longitude: 51.1866, -2.2774
HORNINGSHAM LONGLEAT PARK
ST 84 SW
2/137 Longleat House
Country house. 1568, facades of 1572 by Sir John Thynne with
Robert Smythson and Alan Maynard, north wing and internal
alterations 1801-11 by Jeffry Wyatville for 2nd Marquess of Bath,
interior redecorated 1870s by J.D. Crace for 4th Marquess of Bath.
Bath stone, Welsh slate hipped roof, lead flats, ashlar Tuscan
column stacks. Large rectangular block with two courtyards, the
east an amalgamation of two smaller courtyards by Wyatville. Three
storey and basement, 2:1:2:5:2:1:2 bays to front; 2 windows to
each of the four projecting bays. Central C18 Doric portico with
broken pediment with Thynne arms, double 8-panelled doors up ten
stone steps with curved balustrade, basement has 3-light and 4-
light recessed chamfered mullioned casements. Three storeys with
Doric, Ionic and Corinthian orders flanking the projecting bays and
linked by continuous entablatures, bays have 3-light mullioned and
transomed casements with circular niches to sill zones, windows
between are 4-light, with shaped aprons, balustraded parapet with
scroll and strapwork decorations to bays, C17 and C18 statues.
East front has three projecting bays with three 4-light mullioned
and transomed casements between, raised terrace with balustraded
parapet and steps to centre 7 bays. West front has similar rhythm
of bays as the east. Rear, north side including central bay was
completed by Wyatville, only the two flanking bays are C16. Roof
retains gables of 1568 build, with four square 'banqueting houses'
around the west courtyard, each with 2-light mullioned shuttered
windows, domed fishcale stone roof with classical cupola, three
octagonal stair turrets around the east courtyard have similar
detail, probably by Smythson. Chimney stacks with unusual
decorated friezes and domed cappings, single or grouped.
Interior: Four-bay 2-storey hall with screen's passage, in
original position to right of entrance; retains original C16
fittings and decoration, the remainder of the house refitted by
Wyatville and Crace. Hall has hammerbeam roof, screen's passage
with Ionic order and strapwork, by Andrew Gaunt c1578, carved
fireplace of 1560s with Ionic columns and overmantel with terms to
entablature is only fireplace by Alan Maynard in original position,
others by him now in west range and servants' hall, other ornament
includes niches with shell hoods flanking bay windows, carved
balcony at east end of c1682. Imperial stairs with carved turned
balusters with decorated Soane-style vault and glazed octagonal
dome by Wyatville, original stairs were at dais end of hall.
Wyatville also improved internal arrangements by making corridors
around the courtyards, external walls of courts retain cross
windows of 1568 build. All state rooms refitted and decorated late
C19 in Italian style, with fine gilded plaster ceilings, white
marble fireplaces, including some early C19, and imported wall
coverings such as Spanish leather in the state dining room.
Bedrooms with earlier C18 or C19 fittings including Regency
fireplaces and Chinese painted wallpaper. Bishop Ken's Library
over the Hall with pilastered walls and segmental arches made
c1585. Attached to rear by ashlar walls is former larder, now
shop, by Wyatville in same style and retaining original fittings.
House set in very fine parkland, landscaped by Capability Brown
1757-60 and again 1800-10 by Humphrey Repton whose Red Book for
Longleat is at the house. (D. Burnett Longleat, 1978; M.
Girouard, Robert Smythson and the Elizabethan Country House, 1983;
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England, Wiltshire, 1975.)
Listing NGR: ST8070543074
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.