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Wentworth Woodhouse

Wentworth Woodhouse is a stately home in the village of Wentworth near Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England. Set in a 150 acre estate, its 606ft long East Front is the longest fašade in England.

The building contains 240 rooms and covers over 2.5 acres. The Baroque style, brick-built Western portion of the house was begun in 1725, replacing an older structure that was once the home of Thomas Wentworth. In c.1734, before this West Front was finished, Wentworth's grandson, Thomas Watson-Wentworth[?] commissioned Henry Flitcroft[?] to build the East Front extension.

The massive length of the East Front is thought to have been the result of a longstanding feud with the Stainborough branch of the Wentworth family who lived at the nearby Wentworth Castle[?]. The castle was itself undergoing an extension at the time.

The house was later the home of Watson-Wentworth's grandson Charles Watson-Wentworth, the 11th Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. It subsequently passed to his sister's family, the Fitzwilliams, who in c.1782 added an extra storey to parts of the East Front.

From 1949 to 1974 the house became the Lady Mabel College of Physical Eudcation (named after the sister of the 7th Earl Fitzwilliam) which trained female PE teachers. The college later merged with Sheffield City Polytechnic (now Sheffield Hallam University[?]), and the house has since passed through the hands of a number of private owners.

The house is a Grade I listed building. Its size makes it very expensive to maintain, which is perhaps the main reason why the building has never been bought up by a charity or the local council as a tourist attraction.

The grounds (and surrounding area), which are largely open to the public, contain a number of follies including:

  • Hoober Stand - A tapering pyramid with a hexagonal lantern. It is 30m high and was built in 1747-8 to commemorate the defeat of the Jacobite rebellion[?]. It was designed by Henry Flitcroft. The tower is open to the public on Sunday afternoons throughout the Summer.

  • Keppel's Column - A 115ft tower, built in the late 18th century to commemorate the acquittal of the court-martialled Admiral Keppel[?]. It visibly bulges due to an entasis[?] correction which was rendered inappropriate when funding problems reduced the height. It was designed by John Carr[?].

  • The Rockingham Mausoleum - A 90ft high, three story building, situated in woodland. Consequently, only the top level is visible over the treetops. It was commissioned in 1783 as a memorial to Charles Wentworth, and was designed by John Carr. The ground floor is an enclosed hall containing a statue of the former prime-minister by Joseph Nollekens, plus busts of his eight closest friends. The first floor is an open colonnade, with Corinthian columns surrounding the (empty) sarcophagus. The top storey is a Roman-style cupola. Like Hoober Stand, the Mausoleum is open on Summer Sunday afternoons.

  • The Needle's Eye - A 45ft high sandstone block pyramid with an ornamental urn on the top and a tall Gothic ogee[?] arch through the middle which straddles a disused roadway. It was built in the mid 18th century, allegedly to win a bet after Charles Wentworth claimed he could drive a coach and horses through the eye of a needle.

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