Pemberley for sale.
The Grade I listed Pride and Prejudice estate in South Yorkshire is up for grabs for a sum of £8million.
Wentworth Woodhouse is the breath-taking country house that probably inspired the Darcy estate in Jane Austin’s chef-d’oeuvre. The house is set in 82 acres of land near Rotherham, South Yorkshire, surrounded by the greater park and farmland of the Fitzwilliam Estate, which was once one of the finest parklands of its age.
At 124,600 square feet, the house made it into the 1966 Guinness World Record as the largest private home in Britain. It’s without doubt one of the finest and grandest Georgian houses in Britain, with a 606-foot façade that is nearly twice as long as Buckingham Palace’s.
The estate was originally owned by the esteemed Wentworth family, who rose to particular importance in the 17th century with Thomas Wentworth, an advisor to King Charles I and first Earl of Strafford. The house as we know it today was originally built over 25 years by Thomas Watson-Wentworth, 1st Marquess of Rockingham, and extended again by his son, the 2nd Marquess, Charles, who was twice prime minister, from 1765 and 1782. Several great architects were involved in the construction, including John Carr, who together created English Baroque on the west front and a Palladian masterpiece on the east.
Over the centuries, Wentworth has played host to some of Britain’s most prominent individuals. During the 18th century it was passed to the Earls Fitzwilliam, who held it until 1979. Wentworth was then bought in 1999 by architect Clifford Newbold, who began a long programme of restoration.
Once upon a time, the residence would have sat within vast pleasure gardens, much of which have unfortunately long disappeared, destroyed by mining, although a programme of restoration has begun.
The magnificent interiors at Wentworth span several wings, with more than 350 rooms and about five miles worth of corridors, and have been acknowledged as some of the finest interiors of the Georgian era, spanning the whole of the 18th Century. The dazzling Marble Saloon, once christened the best Georgian room in England, is 60 feet squared and 40ft high, with an uninterrupted pillared gallery and intricate ceiling plasterwork by Jonathan and Joseph Rose.
The Palladian wing in particular, also has a series of state rooms to the north and south of the Marble Saloon which are equally breath-taking, these include the Ante drawing room, the Van Dyck rool and the Whistlejacket room.
Happily, hopes of saving Wentworth Woodhouse for the nation have been unexpectedly revived after its sale to a Hong Kong-based investment firm was cancelled at the end of last year. At the moment, a British trust wants to purchase the estate and make it into a tourist magnet, backed by government funds and the National Trust.