Tag Archives: William Burn

SANDBECK PARK

Sandbeck - Roger Perris
Sandbeck Park.  James Paine’s Palladian front was very unusual for the period. (Roger Perris)

Built: c.1765-1768
Architect: James Paine
Owner: Earl of Scarbrough
Country House
Grade I listed

“Dickon Scarbrough was much appreciated in the Sandbeck neighbourhood, and miners from the nearby Maltby pit were happy to act as beaters at his pheasant shoots. During the miners’ strike of 1984 there was a sudden lull during a drive, explained when a beater emerged from behind a bush. ‘Sorry, my lord,’ he said, ‘but we’ll have to scarper. There’s some snoopers from the DHSS over there in a van.'” (Obituary for the 12th Earl of Scarbrough, The Telegraph, 17 April 2004)

The former mining town of Maltby might not be the obvious place for a grand old country house. Many locals consider it down-at-heel yet, not far from its centre, is Sandbeck Park, the family seat of the Earl of Scarbrough since the 18th century, and to whom many residents of this small South Yorkshire town still pay their ground rent to.

Today Sandbeck Park is relatively unknown but it has seen its fair share of noble visitors.  It’s close location to Doncaster Racecourse firmly placed the house into the diaries of landed gentry as well as Kings and Queens, including our present one. If all this is forgotten then Maltby’s inhabitants delight in speculation that former model, actress and author Joanna Lumley might somehow be related to the present occupants of the house!

This Grade I listed house dates to the 17th century with extensive remodelling in the 18th and 19th centuries.  It lies close to the ruins of the better-known Roche Abbey, founded in 1147 by Cistercian monks.

The 1st recorded house at Sandbeck was built-in 1626 for Sir Nicholas Saunderson, 1st Viscount Castleton.  Sandbeck passed to Thomas Lumley later 3rd Earl of Scarbrough who died in 1752.

Sandbeck remained in the hands of the Castletons until 1723, when the sixth viscount, who was granted an earldom in 1720, died without an heir. He willed Sandbeck to his cousin, Thomas Lumley, the 3rd Earl of Scarbrough.

Sandbeck Park
Perhaps no great house in Yorkshire is more out-of-the-way than the Earl of Scarbrough’s seat. Nothing can be seen of it until several sylvan labyrinths and luxuriant groves have been threaded.”

In 1760 the fourth earl hired Neoclassical architect James Paine to considerably rebuild and extend the 17th century house in the fashionable Palladian style.  Paine had a favourable reputation in Yorkshire including his work at Nostell Priory, Hickleton Hall, Cusworth Hall and the Mansion House in Doncaster. He was also responsible for the huge stable block at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire.

Between 1763 and 1768 he enlarged the main building with a new Grecian front and added several outbuildings, including gatehouses and the limestone stables. Paine allegedly used stones from Roche Abbey during the construction of the house.

Sandbeck_Park,_by_James_Paine
Early architectural drawing of the east front created by James Paine between 1763 and 1768.

If the Dissolution of the Monasteries and the later handiwork of James Paine hadn’t robbed Roche Abbey of its contents then much worse was to come.

In 1774, the fourth earl commissioned Capability Brown to completely landscape the area, signing a contract to pay him £2,800 for work to last through 1777. It appears that Brown had little regard for the historical value of the abbey and systematically destroyed much of it to satisfy contemporary tastes. When finished the abbey was little more than a romantic folly.

‘Brown engineered a lake and islands over Roche’s southern buildings, substituted a river for the medieval water channels, contrived a waterfall to cascade from the Laughton Pond, and composed irregular tree groupings in surrounding fields. He also levelled the ruins’ irregular walls to provide a uniform grassed foreground for a banqueting lodge’.

Roche Abbey (Photo4me)
The park was landscaped by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown between 1774-77 with Thomas White, Adam Mickle senior and Adam Mickle junior. Roche Abbey was partly dismantled and its grounds landscaped to create a ‘contemporary’ vista.

In 1857, the 9th Earl of Scarbrough turned to the Scottish architect William Burn to further remodel and improve the house. This resulted in significant internal alterations and in 1869 Benjamin Ferrey, an ecclesiastical architect and pupil of Augustus Charles Pugin, built a private chapel for the earl.  A 19th-century service wing that linked the house to Sandbeck Chapel was demolished in 1954.

Sandbeck - Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Aug 3 1911
A garden fete and bazaar in aid of the new mission church at Maltby. The photograph on the left is of Sandbeck Hall, while on the right are members of the house party, including (in addition to the Earl of Scarbrough and the Countess of Scarbrough) the Countess Grosvenor, the Countess of Bradford, the Marchioness of Zetland, Colonel the Hon. O. Lumley and the Hon. Mrs Lumley, Lady Serena Lumley, and Miss Ashton. From the Sheffield Daily Telegraph, August 3rd, 1911. (British Newspaper Archive)

There might have been a steady decline in its social status, not helped by its close proximity to Maltby Colliery, one of Britain’s largest deep coal mines that closed in 2013. Sandbeck Park is now the home of Richard Osbert Lumley, 13th Earl of Scarbrough (b.1973). They still own the former family seat at Lumley Castle which now functions as a hotel. The 13th Earl has continued the good work started by his father (who was a godson of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and of the 1st Earl of Halifax) by helping charities, with the Dinnington-based Safe@Last being one of his top priorities. He is a patron of the charity which provides refuge and help for runaway youngsters or those in danger at home.

Sandbeck_Park_House_and_Chapel
Modern view of Sandbeck Park with the Chapel once connected by a 19th century service wing.

Read more at Handed On

Sandbeck Park,
Maltby, Rotherham, South Yorkshire, S66 8PB