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Wentworth Castle and Northern College for residential and non-residential adult education Virtual Tour - Stainborough Castle
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Stainborough Castle

A virtual tour of Northern College would not be a virtual tour without at least some mention of the castle from which the building gains its name.

In 1727 Thomas Wentworth began one of the most ambitious building projects in the grounds of his home which was the development of a mock castle. The construction took seven years to complete but the magnificent results transformed Stainborough hall into Wentworth Castle.

It is impossible to know whether the elevation of the hall to the status of castle was always part of Thomas' master plan and to this day the exact motive as to why he should choose to build a castle is unclear. Interestingly the castle sits on an iron-age fort so it was a fitting site to select and this quirk of the landscape may have contributed to the design.

It is also important to recognise the broader context and the symbolic nature of building at this point of history. Indeed during this time (when Walpole was prime minister) landscaping and building garden features as an expression of wealth was definitely in vogue and a way that gentry could re-assert their status. The process was perhaps fuelled by the bitter rivalry between Thomas Wentworth and his cousin Thomas Watson Wentworth, developer of the Wentworth-Woodhouse estate less than seven miles away.

There is one train of thought however that suggests that Thomas may have had more altruistic reasons for building the castle which was intended as a playhouse for his children - an eighteenth century equivalent of a giant wendy house!!


Stainborough Castle01 Stainborough Castle02 Stainborough Castle03

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