Constable Burton

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Constable Burton Hall

Constable Burton Hall
Constable Burton Hall, a Grade I-listed Georgian country house, stands as a testament to the architectural and social history of North Yorkshire. Designed by the renowned John Carr of York in the Palladian style, the hall was constructed between 1762 and 1767 for Sir Marmaduke Wyvill.

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Outline description of Constable Burton

Constable Burton, a village with a rich tapestry of history, is nestled in the Richmondshire district of North Yorkshire, England. The name itself is derived from 'Burton', an Old English term for a fortified settlement, and 'Constable', referencing its grant to Roald, the Chief Constable for the Earl of Richmond around the year 1100. The village is synonymous with Constable Burton Hall, a testament to the architectural evolution from medieval times to the present day. The Hall, a Grade I listed building, stands proudly within a park designed by the renowned landscape architect Capability Brown, offering a glimpse into the grandeur of English country estates. The origins of Constable Burton can be traced back to the 12th century, with the lower part of the north tower of the Hall being the oldest surviving structure, serving as a pele tower to protect the village during the reign of King Stephen. In the late 15th century, a new brick manor house was established, eventually becoming the principal seat of the Constable family, replacing Halsham. The Elizabethan era saw significant construction, with Sir John Constable embarking on the creation of the prodigy house that we see today, incorporating parts of the earlier manor house and adding a new range containing a Great Hall and South Wing. The 18th century brought about a transformation of the Hall's interiors, with William Constable commissioning architects like John Carr and Capability Brown to remodel the house, reflecting the Georgian style's elegance. The decorative plasterwork by James Henderson of York is particularly noteworthy, showcasing the artistic craftsmanship of the period. The Hall's interiors, a blend of 18th and 19th-century designs, house a fine collection of furniture, paintings, and a remarkable 'cabinet of curiosities' filled with scientific instruments and natural history specimens, indicative of the era's intellectual curiosity. Today, Constable Burton Hall remains a significant cultural and historical landmark, with its parkland providing a serene backdrop for visitors to explore and appreciate the continuity of history through its well-preserved architecture and landscapes. The village of Constable Burton, though small, plays a crucial role in maintaining the legacy of its namesake Hall, ensuring that the stories and heritage of this unique place continue to be shared with future generations. The Hall and its grounds, now under the stewardship of the Burton Constable Foundation, a registered charity, remain a vibrant part of the community, hosting events and welcoming visitors who seek to connect with England's rich historical narrative.

Detailed history of ownership

When Harold II., the last Saxon king, sat on the English throne, the manor of Burton, with the rest of the district comprehended in the Liberty of Richmondshire, formed part of the extensive possessions of Edwin, the powerful Earl of Mercia. Edwin swore fealty to the Conqueror after the battle of Hastings, and was permitted to retain his estates; but, subsequently rebelling against the authority of William, his lands were confiscated, and given by the king to Alan Rufus, one of the adventurers that had accompanied him from Normandy, and whom he created Earl of Richmond.

Earl Alan, in partitioning this royal grant among his retainers, conferred the manor of Burton upon the constable of his castle of Richmond, and the descendants of the grantee subsequently assuming the name of Burton, the place was called from the office they held, Constable Burton, In the reign of Edward I., the manor of Burton was transferred to Geoffrey le Scrope, of Masham, who obtained from Edward II. a charter for a weekly market and fairs, and a grant of free warren in all his demesne lands in this manor.

In 1520, Constable Burton passed to Sir Ralph Fitz-Randolph, knight, of Spennithorne, by his marriage with Elizabeth, one of the three daughters and co-heiresses of Thomas, sixth Lord Scrope. The surviving issue of this marriage were five daughters, the youngest of whom, Alice, married Marmaduke Wyvill, and received this manor with other estates for her share. This family is descended from Sir Humphrey d'Wyvill, who accompanied the "base born Norman" to England, and received an extensive grant of land in Yorkshire as his share of the spoil. His name is found on the roll of Battle Abbey, and his descendants, who are still represented in the county, have contracted alliances with some of the best families in the north of England. Marmaduke Wyvill above-mentioned was M.P. for Ripon in 1553, having previously received the honour of knighthood.

Christopher Wyvill, Esq., his son, succeeded to the family estates, and married Margaret, daughter of the Hon. John Scrope, younger son of Henry, Lord Scrope, of Bolton, by Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Percy, earl of Northumberland. He was succeeded by Marmaduke, his son and heir, who married Magdalene, daughter of Sir Christopher Danby, knight, of Thorpe Park. He was elected M.P. for Richmond in 1584, and had the honour of entertaining Queen Elizabeth at Constable Burton during one of her journeys into the north, when she conferred upon him the honour of knighthood. Furthermore, he was subsequently created a baronet by James I., in 1611.

Sir Marmaduke Asty Wyvill, the seventh and last baronet, died unmarried in 1744, and the estates were inherited by his cousin and brother-in-law, the Rev. Christopher Wyvill, whose grandson, Marmaduke Wyvill, Esq., is the present owner and lord of the manor. Mr. Wyvill represented Richmond in parliament for several years; he is a J.P. and D.L. for the North and West Ridings, and the patron of three livings.


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