Tong Castle
Tong Castle was a very large mostly Gothic country house in Shropshire, set within a park landscaped by Capability Brown, on the site of a medieval castle of the same name. The original castle was built in the 12th century. During the Civil War it was defended for the King by William Careless, and afterwards by George Mainwaring. The original structure was demolished in 1765 after the estate had been purchased by George Durant who built the house illustrated. The building has been described both: as an " architectural mongrel", and more flatteringly as " the first real gothic building in Shropshire" . While at first glance there appear some anomalies of design, such as the ogee domes which though Gothic in shape are more redolent of the English Renaissance style, the house was actually in the Strawberry Hill Gothic style popularized by Horace Walpole. Walpole's Gothic house at Strawberry Hill was begun in 1749, expanded in 1760, and completed in 1776. Thus the comparatively early date of 1765 for Tong Castle to be erected in this fairly rare style would today have made Tong of the highest architectural grading class. The crenellated towers and pediments coupled with the paned, rather than traditional Gothic leaded, windows crowned by Ogee curves are typical of this style, as too are the generous bay windows with circular windows and cruciform motifs in the upper levels. The later 19th century Gothic tended to be more ecclesiastical and sombre in mood, with dark rooms lit by lancet windows while the earlier Gothic had larger windows and a " joie de vivre" of design not found in later versions of the style. The house passed from the Durant family in 1854 to the Earl of Bradford. The Earl had no wish to live at Tong but expanded his estate in the area and let the house. In 1911 the house was damaged by fire and remained unrestored and increasingly structurally unstable until demolished in 1954 and the site is currently part of the route of the M54 motorway.