Beningbrough Hall, York, England.
A little change of scenery which brings us back up to Yorkshire my home region, I hope you enjoy my tour of Beningbrough Hall and Gardens.
Beningbrough Hall, situated a few miles outside of York, was built in 1716 by a York landowner, John Bourchier III to replace his family's modest Elizabethan manor, which had been built in 1556 by Sir Ralph Bourchier on his inheritance to the estate. Local builder William Thornton oversaw the construction, but Beningbrough's actual designer remains a mystery; possibly it was Thomas Archer. Bourchier was High Sheriff of Yorkshire for 1719-1721 and died in 1736 at the age of 52.
John Bourchier (1710-1759) followed his father as owner of Beningbrough Hall and was High Sheriff in 1749. It then passed to Dr. Ralph Bourchier, a 71 year old physician and from him to his daughter, Margaret, who lived there for 70 years.
After over 100 years in the Bourchiers' possession, the estate passed in 1827 to the Rev. William Henry Dawnay, the future 6th Viscount Downe, a distant relative. He died in 1846 and left the house to his second son, Payan, who was High Sheriff for 1851. The house was neglected, prompting fears that it might have to be demolished. In 1916 however, a wealthy heiress, Enid Scudamore-Stanhope, Countess of Chesterfield, bought it and immediately set about its restoration, filling it with furnishings and paintings from her ancestral home, Holme Lacy. During the Second World War the hall was occupied by the Royal Air Force.
Lady Chesterfield died in 1957 and in June 1958 the estate was acquired by the National Trust after it had been accepted by the government in lieu of death duties at a cost of £29,250. In partnership with the National Portrait Gallery it exhibits more than 100 18th century portraits and has seven new interpretation galleries called Making Faces: 18th century Style. Outside the main building there is a Victorian laundry and a walled garden with extensive vegetable planting, the produce from which is used by the walled garden restaurant.
Beningbrough Hall today offers a wide range of activities including a wilderness play area, community orchard, new Italianate border and garden shop. It also hosts many events, activity days and family art workshops (Artrageous! workshops). It also holds an annual food and craft festival, in 2010 this will be a big green festival