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Wentworth Castle and Northern College for residential and non-residential adult education Virtual Tour - The Palladian Wing (1760's)
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The Palladian Wing (1760's)

Wentworth Castle is a building of many subtle styles, reflecting the ongoing expansion as different owners sought to establish and stamp their own 'mark' on its structure. The Palladian wing is a good example of this, and represents the building project that Thomas Wentworth embarked upon shortly after purchasing Stainborough Hall in an attempt to expand the hall and its grounds.

His vision for the building was very impressive and he spared no expense in commissioning the Berlin architect Johannes Von Bodt who drew up the designs for the ambitious expansion programme. As you will have read in other parts of the tour, the building is also a physical manifestation of the rivalry between Thomas Wentworth and his cousin Thomas Watson Wentworth who was also expanding his family seat at Wentworth Woodhouse, not too far away.

There was a great sense of one-upmanship. As one Wentworth scored an architectural victory it was possible to see a similar development in the building of the other Wentworth. Local onlookers must have considered this as a real sight to behold. The highpoint for Wentworth Castle probably came when Thomas made sure that this new wing contained the longest room in Europe supported by twin marble pillars. The room still stands today and is the current site of the Northern College library which is well worth an explore. If the aim was to outshine Wentworth Woodhouse then William's ambition was realised and the end result was widely celebrated. It is rumoured that when it was finally completed in 1768 that the wing (standing three stories high with six columns) was described by the younger son of the prime minister of the time, Horace Walpole as being one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.

As with much of the history of Wentworth Castle it is difficult sometimes to separate fact from fiction. However the building is never short of drama and even during the building of this wing it is said that the builders discovered the tomb of a knight buried with his armour. Quickly it was asserted that the knight was one of the Norman owners of the house. Again this is difficult to substantiate but it was yet another event that added further credence to the building being a place of great history with its very foundations containing relics of past glories.


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