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The Menagerie

A Grade II* Listed Building in Horton, West Northamptonshire

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Latitude: 52.1734 / 52°10'24"N

Longitude: -0.7984 / 0°47'54"W

OS Eastings: 482270

OS Northings: 253472

OS Grid: SP822534

Mapcode National: GBR CYH.NZB

Mapcode Global: VHDSF.3MSR

Plus Code: 9C4X56F2+9M

Entry Name: The Menagerie

Listing Date: 3 May 1968

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1041554

English Heritage Legacy ID: 235513

Location: Horton Hall Park, West Northamptonshire, Northamptonshire, NN7

County: West Northamptonshire

Civil Parish: Hackleton

Built-Up Area: Horton

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: Piddington with Horton

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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8/113 The Menagerie

- II*

Garden building. Late 1750s by Thomas Wright (attributed) for 2nd Earl of
Halifax. Restored 1975-1979 and 1980-82 wheh extended. Limestone ashlar, slate
roofs, brick end stack to rear. Central block, end pavilions and screen wall
links. single-storey, 13-bay range. Centre breaks forward slightly and has open
pediment and canted bay with semi-domed roof, originally of lead with raised
vermiculated panels, now reproduced in fibre-glass. Bay has central
part-panelled and glazed door with round-arched head and frostwork keyblock and
sash windows to canted sides with similar heads and keyblocks. Centre is
approached by grass mound and is flanked by lower bays with half-pediments and
lean-to roofs. They each have a 12-pane sash with blocked surrounds and heads,
vermiculation to keyblocks, blank balustrades to bases and pediments. Moulded
plinth, a sill band, band at level and springing of bay window and door heads
and base moulding of half-pediments carried across centre as string course, and
continued as moulding across canted bay at base of blocking cornice. Blank panel
with feet to central pediment. 3-bay screen walls either side have round-arched
gateways flanked by niches with frostwork keyblocks. The gateway bays break
forward slightly. Gateways have raised and blocked surrounds with vermiculation,
frost work and dropped key blocks. End pavilions have small square windows with
oversize blocked surrounds, frostwork to base panel and blocking and pyramidal
roofs with ball-and-spear finials. The ashlar facing is of local limestone with
better quality limestone dressings, possibly of Ketton stone. Extensions one
room deep have been built behind screen walls, whose archways are now glazed and
pavilions have been duplicated in rendered brick to rear. Rear elevation of main
block is of red brick in English bond. Side bays projects forward to this side
with hipped roofs and frame terrace approached by steps, with steps down to
basement. Centre has pair of round-headed niches at terrace level. Bays either
side were originally windowless with doorways to terrace on inner return sides,
but now have sash windows inserted c.1980. Trellis screens to new wings either
side of same date. Interior: saloon has fine plasterwork probably by Thomas
Roberts of Oxford, restored by Christopher Hobbs and Leonard Stead and Son of
Bradford. Saloon has "aisles" with openings to main space framed by fluted Roman
boric columns supporting full entablature to lintels with triglyph frieze and
martial emblems to metopes. The openings are flanked by niches which originally
held "four great urns, representing the animals of the four parts of the world,
made of plaster, painted to look like bronze" (Walpole). These have been
recreated. Bas-relief panels over niches with trophies of weapons appropriate to
each of the Four Continents. Dado with egg-and-dart to base, continued round
base of columns, and wave pattern to rail. Cornice of entablature to columns is
continued round room below deep cove with medallions hung by bows bearing
symbols of the Zodiac and framed by sprays matched to each symbol. The summer
signs are over window wall, midwinter sign over chimneypiece. Ceiling shows
Father Time with sythe and holding symbol of Eternity with the Four Winds to
each corner of ceiling. Apollo's head in sunburst to ceiling of bay. Acanthus
scrolls and cornucopia to angles of cove. Chimneypiece of hard plaster painted
to resemble porphyry with central panel bearing laurel wreath. Pedimented
overmantel framing glass. Bay opposite has garlands over windows and door and
drops either side with musical instruments. Side-rooms have rosettes to ceilings
of vestibule alcoves leading to terrace doors. Central doors have been pierced
in walls facing openings to saloon, where, side-boards may originally have
stood. The Saloon was originally used as a banqueting room and music probably
played in the bay. Basement where food was probably originally prepared has
brick groin vault to main room below saloon. The menagerie itself was housed
behind the building, which was designed both as banqueting house and eyecatcher
for Horton House (demolished), in a circular enclosure just over 2 acres in
extent and described by Horace Walpole in 1763 as "a little wood, prettily
disposed with many basons of gold fish". Four of those circular ponds survive
and a garden in the manner of Thomas Wright laid out on the site. The Menagerie
has been attributed in the past to Daniel Garrett, but can confidently be
ascribed to Wright who received payments from Lord Halifax in 1754, 1756 and
(Buildings of England: Northamptonshire: 1973, p264; Alistair Rowan: Garden
Buildings, R.I.B.A.: Drawings series 1968, plate 18; Gervase Jackson-Stops: The
Menagerie, Horton: 1983 (guide); Lucinda Lambton: "Beastly Buildings": The
National Trust Book of Architecture for Animals: 1985, p152)

Listing NGR: SP8227053472

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