Beningbrough Hall
Beningbrough Hall is a large Georgian mansion near the village of Beningbrough, North Yorkshire, England overlooking the River Ouse. It boasts one of Britain's finest baroque interiors and an attractive walled garden, as well as being home to over 100 portraits on loan from the National Portrait Gallery. It has a restaurant, shop and garden shop, and was shortlisted in 2010 for the Guardian Family Friendly Museum Award.

History
At one time the site of a modest Elizabethan manor house, built by Sir Ralph Bourchier on his inheritance to the estate in 1556, the present house, situated a few miles outside of York, was created for his descendent, John Bourchier. Beningbrough was built in 1716 by a York landowner, John Bourchier III to replace his family's modest Elizabethan manor, which had been here since 1556. It has a baroque interior and amazing cantilevered stairs, exceptional wood carving and unusual central corridors which run the length of the house. Externally the house is an imposing red-brick Georgian mansion with a grand drive running up to the main frontage. Little is known about the architect. Possibly it was Thomas Archer. Local builder William Thornton oversaw the construction, but Beningbrough's actual designer remains a mystery. After over 100 years in the Bourchiers' possession, the estate passed to the Dawnays, their distant relatives. The house was neglected, prompting fears that it might be demolished. In 1916 a wealthy heiress, Enid Scudamore-Stanhope, Countess of Chesterfield, bought it and immediately set about its restoration. She filled it with furnishings and paintings from her ancestral home, Holme Lacy. Lady Chesterfield died in 1957. In June 1958 the estate was acquired by the National Trust after it had been accepted by the government in lieu of death duties at a cost of £29,250 following the death of Enid Scudamore-Stanhope, Countess of Chesterfield. In partnership with the National Portrait Gallery it exhibits more than 100 18th-century portraits and has seven new interpretation galleries called Making Faces: 18th-century Style. Outside the main building there is a Victorian laundry and a walled garden with extensive vegetable planting, the produce from which is used by the walled garden restaurant. The Hall is set in extensive grounds and is separated from them by a fine example of a ha-ha (a sunken wall) to prevent sheep and cattle getting into the Hall's gardens or the Hall itself. Beningbrough Hall has a wide range of activities including a wilderness play area, community orchard, new Italianate border and garden shop. It also hosts many events, activity days and family art workshops (Artrageous! workshops). It also holds an annual Food and Craft Festival, in 2010 this will be a big green festival; www.biggreenfestival.org.uk

Notes and references
  • Bourchier knot a.k.a. the Granny knot