Allerton Castle nr Knaresborough

Allerton Castle
Allerton Castle

Thursday 11th July, 2019

Allerton Castle is situated in extensive parkland at the A1/A59 junction on the York – Knaresborough Road. Historic Houses describe it as ‘one of England’s most elegant and illustrious Gothic-revival stately homes . . . a beautifully preserved relic of the early modern aristocracy’. Its somewhat chequered history dates from the Norman Conquest, when the Allerton estate belonged to the Mauleverer family, with whom it remained until the end of the 17th Century, when it passed (in 1692) to Richard Arundell, MP for Knaresborough, who rebuilt the existing house and enlarged the park in the 1740s.

On Arundell’s death, Allerton passed to Viscount Galway, whose son sold it in 1796 to Prince Frederick, Duke of York, brother of George IV - the ‘Grand Old Duke of York’ of nursery rhyme fame, for his efforts in building the Temple of Victory at Allerton, clearly visible on top of its modest 200ft hill overlooking the A59!

In 1805 the Allerton estate was bought by the 17th Baron Stourton, whose family owned the house and Park until 1983 (Lords Mowbray). He proudly renamed it ‘Stourton Towers’, and added a Catholic chapel in Gothic style. However, his son demolished the existing Georgian house and employed the architect George Martin of London to build the present house in Tudor-Gothic style, starting in 1848 but never quite managing to complete the ambitious design.

Eventually, Allerton Castle (as it now was) was bought in 1983 by an American businessman, Dr Gerald Rolph, but with the surrounding park retained by the then Lord Mowbray, who continued to live there. Rolph set about renovating the rather dilapidated building to a high modern revival style, with furniture and pictures of appropriate scale and splendour, that we shall be able to admire in our guided tour of this unique House/Castle.

Much of the interior has late-Gothic decoration in the style of Pugin. The galleried Great Hall is one of the highest baronial halls in England, adorned by carved oak panelling and lit by beautiful stained glass windows. The Hall gives access to an elegant drawing room, blue and white ballroom and a Library lined with bookcases based on the original design, having been destroyed by fire in 2005. The wallpaper is based on one of Pugin’s designs for the Houses of Parliament.

Lunch will be pre-booked for us at‘The Mason’s Arms in the nearby village of Hopperton.