Description: Wentworth Castle
Date Listed: 25 February 1952
English Heritage Building ID: 333917
OS Grid Reference: SE3199703182
OS Grid Coordinates: 431997, 403182
Latitude/Longitude: 53.5243, -1.5188
STAINBOROUGH WENTWORTH CASTLE
1/42 Wentworth Castle
Country house now adult education college. North front incorporates
'The Cutler House' of 1670-2 for Sir Gervase Cutler II; east wing 1710-20
by Johann Bodt for Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford; south front c1760
by the 2nd Earl, William Wentworth,for himself under guidance of Charles Ross
with carving by John Platt of Rotherham; C18 work executed by Strafford estate
masons. C19 alterations and additions. Ashlar sandstone, lead roofs apart
from c1670 house which has dressed sandstone and stone slates to front.
c1670 double-pile house wrapped around by U-shaped range comprising Baroque-
styled wing across east end with attached L-shaped Palladian-styled wing
enclosing south and west sides. c1670 house: 3 storeys with basements and attics,
7 bays. Ashlar quoins, plinth with basement windows (bays, 6 and 7 still
mullioned). Steps to single-storey porch having rusticated quoins, pulvinated
frieze and cornice; doorway within has quoined architrave with keystone.
Flanking 16-pane sashes with blocks to moulded sills and eared architraves,
cornices linked by string course. Central lst-floor sash in doorcase with keyed
architrave and scrolled pediment on plain corbels. 2nd floor: cross-windows with
similar architraves and later casements. Eaves cornice with 3-bay pediment
having architraved Diocletian window in tympanum. Hipped roof with 2 corniced
ashlar stacks to front slope and similar stack to front-right corner. Later wing
on right linked by 3-storey curtain wall. Attached east wing projects by 4 bays
on left. East front: 3 storeys, 2 : 4 : 3 : 4 : 2 bays; end and central projections
having ground-floor quoins and giant Corinthian pilasters dividing bays above.
Central doorway with later double door and fanlight with radial glazing bars
beneath archivolt with carved keystone , garlands and instruments in spandrels.
Flanking 24-pane sashes have sills on doubled, baluster-shaped pilasters and
architraves with consoled cornices. Other bays have later round-headed sashes
in similar surrounds, the sills cut away. 1st floor: band. Central bays: aprons
to large round-headed sashes with archivolts having head-carved keystones. Garter
arms above central bay flanked by copious floral reliefs. Other bays: panelled
aprons to 24-pane sashes in architraves with consoled segmental pediments, squat
attic windows, some with unequally-hung 12-pane sashes, moulded sills to eared
architraves. Entablature with dentilled and modillioned cornice and balustrade.
3 ashlar stacks set to rear above each 4-bay part. South front: 2 storeys, with
basement, 1 : 3 : 5 : 3 : 1 bays, 3-bay parts recessed . Plinth, rusticated
basement, central pediment on 6 giant Corinthian columns. Steps across central
bays, round-arched openings. Recessed bays have sashes with glazing bars in
reveals. bays 1 and 13 each with 16-pane sash in raised panel. Piano nobile:
deep band; balustraded aprons and linking string course to sills of sashes with
glazing bars in architraves with bay-leaf friezes and pediments. Bays 1 and 13
have Corinthian Venetian windows. Attic: 6-pane windows in architraves.
Strafford griffin and restrained carving in pediment; entablature and balustrade
as east front; similar stacks set to rear.
Interior: c1670 house: entrance hall has bolection-moulded fireplace with cornice
and wooden Jacobean overmantel; matching door architrave on left has fire-insurance
plaque; oak panelling with carved frieze. Stair hall: late C17-style wooden
staircase with foliage scrolls and cherubs in the balustrade, acanthus-carved
brackets to the newels. Front lst-floor room now subdivided has work of 1756 by
Horace Walpole and Richard Bentley including chimneypiece with caryatids, moulded
ceiling panels above rich frieze with cherubs. East wing: much of the sumptuous
C18 decorative scheme survives. Marble-floored entrance hall: 4 Ionic columns and
matching pilasters; bolection-moulded marble architraves to large 6-panel doors;
enriched cornices to panelled ceiling, the centre panel depicting the Awakening of
Aurora by Amigoni (or possibly by Angelica Kauffman (Humphrey, Short History, p9)),
outer panels in the style of Clermont. Room to north with lions on marble
chimneypiece, bay-leaf friezes to pedimented doorcases, panelled ceiling. End rooms
of east front in Rococo style, that to south with pilasters flanking the fireplace,
Strafford insignia in the capitals; modillioned cornice with corner shells and
baskets of fruit, figure of Fame in centre panel; northern room has figure of
Plenty. Italian staircase at north end of east front has wrought-iron balustrade
to cantilevered stone staircase, pedimented doorcases and rich plasterwork panels
by Artari and Bagutti with medallions of Fame and Perseus and the 1st Earl, 8 busts
of Roman emperors set on the lst-floor cornice. Long gallery by James Gibbs,
occupies full length of 1st floor and has marble-columned end screens and 2 fine
chimneypieces each with paired columns and pediment with griffin in tympanum
and 3 eagles over; iron fire-baskets with brass enrichment. Windows of central bays
flanked by Corinthian pilasters; southern Venetian window treated as on exterior.
South front: central ground-floor rooms linked by elliptical arches. Cantilevered
staircase to rear with iron balustrade; arcaded screen to 1st floor. Some painted
ceilings of note on 1st floor, some with geometric panelling, ceilings at east end
lowered. Strafford suite: ornate architraves with relief drops; mirrored frieze
to vault with rose-trellis decoration.
Seat of the Wentworth family, later the Vernon-Wentworths, until purchased by
Barnsley Corporation in 1948. Became the Northern College of Adult Education in
1978. Described and illustrated at length elsewhere:
Country Life: April 18th 1903 and October 25th 1924.
J. Humphrey, Wentworth Castle, A Short History, 1982.
J. Humphrey, 'A Prospect of Stainborough', unpublished thesis,
Sheffield University, 1982.
J. Lees-Milne, English Country Houses: Baroque 1685-1715, 1970, pp236-242.
N. Pevsner, B.O.E., 1967 ed, pp546-548.
Listing NGR: SE3199703182
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.