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Burton Agnes Hall is an Elizabethan manor house in the village of Burton Agnes, near Driffield in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It was built by Sir Henry Griffith in 1601–10 to designs attributed to Robert Smythson. The older Norman Burton Agnes Manor House, originally built in 1173, still stands on an adjacent site; both buildings are now Grade I listed buildings.Put Burton Agnes Hall at the forefront of your travel plans using our Driffield trip itinerary maker website.
The Hall contains a number of fine 17th-century plaster ceilings and chimneypieces. The ceiling of the Long Gallery was restored in two stages by Francis Johnson between 1951 and 1974. The plan attributed to John Smythson presents a square block with bay windows and a small internal courtyard. All of the display has been concentrated on the entrance facade, which includes many windows and many shaped projecting bays, two square flanking the central entrance, two semicircular at the ends of the projecting wings, and two five-sided around the corners. Variety in the skyline is created by gables alternating with level parapets.
The main facade is built a story higher than the rest of the house to contain a long gallery running the full length of the second floor, with the result that the minor side facades are asymmetric.
The two square projecting bays flanking the central double bay contain the porch and the bay window at the screens end of the hall. This preserved a traditional arrangement, but with the doorway to the porch placed where it does not show, not in the front but in the side of its projection; in this way apparent symmetry is preserved.
The main rooms vary in size due to the recessions of the bay windows but the main feature of the interior is the Long Gallery, which runs the length of the main front; it is covered by a wagon-roofed, richly plastered ceiling. The "great chamber." now divided into two, was placed on the first floor above the parlour. Even though the house has been through many renovations, a great deal of 17th-century fittings still remain such as carved woodwork, plaster and alabaster.
Robert Smythson heavily influenced Burton Agnes Hall, however comparing the Smythson plan with the house as built it is clear there are several differences. In the plan all four of the great bay windows at the corners of the main front are five-sided but in the building two are semicircular. The central bay of the east front has dropped out, the corner bays of the north front have become square, and the whole of the west front has been much altered. Also, the door of the porch is shown in the plan frontal instead of at the side.
These variations make it impossible that the plan could be only a survey of the house. It must be at any rate the first version of an original plan produced by Smythson for Sir Henry Griffiths. It is difficult to say how far the variations in the existing house are due to second thoughts on the part of Smythson himself. how far to alterations made by the Griffiths or the masons and carpenters who actually built the house. The semicircular windows were very probably Smythson’s own contributions, for such windows appear prominently in two of his other plans. But it is possible that he planned a house with a level parapet, and of the same height throughout, and that these features were altered or omitted by a conservative patron.
Burton Agnes Hall Reviews
Quite expensive but a nice walk int the wood land to see the flowers. lots of snowdrops look out for the wood carvings of owls and birds ver cleverley done more »
I have brought my Granddaughter for many years to the Snowdrop Walk. This year 2020 was so disappointing, no wind chimes in trees, lots of tractor/vehicle damage to grounds, areas cordoned off. It... more »
One of the best house and gardens I have ever visited. It was a rainy day but still lovely to walk around the walled garden and woodlands. Many carved sculptures in the woodland. The house is beautiful and full of interesting objects and art. The view from the long gallery is amazing.
This is a beautiful house with an interesting collection of artworks. The walled gardens are lovely growing fruit, veg and herbaceous plants. The woodland walk has an adventure playground for children. Lots to do and see. Well worth a visit.
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