"Harlaxton must be seen to be believed and
one has seen it, it is not always easy to believe it".
Mark Girouard - The Victorian Country House
A more in-depth history can be found here.
Harlaxton Manor was built in the 1830s for Gregory Gregory, a wealthy
Nottinghamshire businessman, to replace the original Elizabethan
Manor House in Harlaxton Village. Having travelled throughout England
and Europe seeking inspiration, ideas and indeed artefacts for this
huge house, Gregory employed Anthony Salvin
(external link) as architect and Harlaxton
Manor must be regarded as Salvin's masterpiece. Built in Ancaster
stone, it is an exuberant merging of Gothic, Jacobethan and Baroque
styles creating an unforgettable and dramatic impact.
Owner and architect had many differences of opinion, however, and
Salvin having completed the exterior of the main building was replaced
by William Burn who is thought responsible for much of the interior.
Few houses in the country can match the splendid approach to Harlaxton.
A straight mile long drive across a bridge, under a gatehouse, past
'the pyrotechnic display of the forecourt gates and screen'*
to Salvin's towering facade whether by day or night when the building
is floodlit, is in itself a memorable, experience.
The house is now owned by the University
of Evansville, Indiana, USA, and is used as their British Campus.
*Lincolnshire by Pevsner and Harris in the Buildings
of England series.
Previous Occupants of Harlaxton Manor
||First section of Manor completed.
|| Manor completed.
|| Gregory Gregory in occupation.
||George Gregory, an elderly cousin of the above.
||John Sherwin, later John Sherwin-Gregory, a distant
relative of Gregory's at most, and his wife (the husband died
in 1869 and his wife in 1892).
|| Thomas Sherwin Pearson, also adopting the Gregory
to become Pearson-Gregory, but only a godson of John Sherwin-Gregory's.
|| Violet Van der Elst; also for a time in 1943
a company of the 1st Battalion of the British Airborne Division.
It is from this period that the emblem in the Pegasus Courtyard
|| Society of Jesus (The Jesuits). They actually
occupied the house for only part of this time, on two separate
|| The University of Stanford, California, as 'Stanford
||The University of Evansville, Indiana, first as
Harlaxton Study Centre, later Harlaxton College.
The State Rooms
The Front Entrance Hall
for the solidity of its design, the hall is approached via two very
large oak doors. These and other doors within the hall are also
noted for their ornate door furniture. A large marble fireplace
was added by Mrs Van der Elst who bought the Manor in 1937.
Although not visible within this picture, on the righthand side
of the foot of the staircase is the De Ligne coat of arms and on
the left that of the Gregory family.
This room was used as an informal dining room for the family. Its
window is designed to allow as much natural light in as possible.
From the window can be seen two of the 'Harlaxton Lions' which originally
came from Witley Court near Worcester.
Decorated largely in the French style, this comparatively small
room enjoys the morning sunshine, and hence its window originally
included tinted glass.
It is also noted for the curved door on the inside which were designed
to complete the symmetry of the room.
by the Medieval Great Hall it is notable for its oak panelling,
and the stone screen through which you enter is one of only four
in the country. Above the stone screen can be seen the Minstrel
It has an oriel window, which contains stained glass by Thomas
Like the Entrance Hall, the Gregory coat of arms is displayed,
this time in the design over the stone mantel.
The crystal chandelier, originally designed for a palace in Madrid,
was purchased by Mrs Van der Elst at the outbreak of the Spanish
The Great Hall was used as a chapel during the occupancy of the
Cedar Staircase is probably Harlaxton's greatest attraction. This
neo-Baroque feature with its clerestorey is a very fine example
of stucco work, possibly executed by the firm of Francis Bernasconi
The floor is composed of terrazzo marble acquired by Gregory Gregory
on one of his European travels.
"It is entirely and unbelievably Baroque; through struggling
atlantes, swarming cherubs, and tasselled festoons of drapery it
soars up to an illusionist Baroque heaven, under which more cherubs
climb and the figure of Time unrolls a plan of Harlaxton."(Mark
Girouard - The Victorian Country House)
formal drawing room is decorated largely in the French style overlaid
with baroque additions. A notable humorous feature is a cherub on
the painted ceiling putting a foot over the edge! The room has large
mirrors on either side opposite each, creating an interesting illusion
of continuing space.
Like the Morning Room, this room has curved doors at each of its
corners, two of which provide useful hidden storage areas.
Long Gallery provided both an area for entertaining and originally
for the display of a fine set of Beauvais tapestries. The panelling
was redecorated in the 1970s.
Four of the Seven Deadly Sins can be seen depicted in marble over
two of the doorways. (Deceipt, Jealousy, Pride and Malice). There
is a hidden doorway in the panelling at the far end of the room
which gives access to a spiral staircase which would have been used
for the servants' access.
Decorated in the French style, the motifs on its doors each depict
a different subject. The doors, incidently, are reputed to have
come from the chateaux of an aristocrat. The door furniture is by
Gibbons of Wolverhampton.
The ceiling, which was recently refurbished, is in the 'Jacobean'
State Dining Room
fine ceiling and noteworthy panelling. The view through the central
oriel window looks down the mile-long drive towards the spire of
Barrowby Church five miles away.
The Italian marble fireplace and buffet table were bought by Gregory
Gregory on one of his European travels.
Conservatory was a later addition to the house, but by 1977 had
fallen into disrepair. It was the first part of the Manor to be
refurbished with the help of grants and an exhibition of John Piper
paintings. On its completion Kew Gardens donated a number of plants.
It is one of the largest conservatories of its kind in the East