Middlethorpe Hall is a perfect William and Mary country house built in 1699-1701 of beautifully laid mellow red brick with limestone dressing and panelled interiors of excellent joinery.
Famous Residents of Middlethorpe Hall
Middlethorpe Hall was built for Thomas Barlow, a prosperous master cutler who bought the Middlethorpe estate in 1698 as a bid to establish himself as a country gentleman.
It was once the home of the famous diarist, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762), who wrote in her diary "Tis a very pritty place...I think there is nothing to be done but to send an immediate note to Mr Harrison to let him know I will be at Middlethorpe with my family Tuesday next" (August 1713). Lady Mary was one of the most remarkable women of the 18th century, not least due to her campaigning for the introduction of smallpox inoculation, but also as a writer and poet.
Middlethorpe Hall was also the family home of Fanny Rollo Wilkinson (1855-1951), who was the first woman Professional Landscape Gardener in England and paved the way for women to enter the profession, which until then had been a strictly male preserve. She may have been inspired by the grounds of Middlethorpe Hall, which led her to apply in 1882 to the Crystal Palace School of Landscape Gardening, as she later said that "I was always fond of gardening as a child, and I took it up because I felt it suited me, and I wanted to do something..."
Middlethorpe is influenced indirectly by the architecture of Sir Christopher Wren, especially his Hampton Court of the 1690's with its horizontal skyline and its pattern of red brick, white sash windows and stone quoins and window surrounds; all features taken up at Middlethorpe.
The handsome north entrance front of seven bays and three full storeys plus a basement, is surmounted by a proud stone eagle, the Barlow family crest.The pedimented porch over the front door is early 19th century addition, while the attractive curved railings and gates enclosing the forecourt were added by Historic House Hotels in 1983.
In September 2008 HISTORIC HOUSE HOTELS LTD and all its interests in MIDDLETHORPE HALL, HARTWELL HOUSE and BODYSGALLEN HALL, became the property of the NATIONAL TRUST, by donation, with all profits benefiting the charity.