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Mentmore Towers

A Grade I Listed Building in Leighton Buzzard, Buckinghamshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.8682 / 51°52'5"N

Longitude: -0.6906 / 0°41'26"W

OS Eastings: 490251

OS Northings: 219659

OS Grid: SP902196

Mapcode National: GBR F3N.S81

Mapcode Global: VHDV0.Z98N

Plus Code: 9C3XV895+7Q

Entry Name: Mentmore Towers

Listing Date: 26 September 1951

Last Amended: 15 October 1984

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1117863

English Heritage Legacy ID: 42105

Location: Mentmore, Buckinghamshire, LU7

County: Buckinghamshire

District: Aylesbury Vale

Civil Parish: Mentmore

Traditional County: Buckinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Buckinghamshire

Church of England Parish: Cheddington with Mentmore

Church of England Diocese: Oxford

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Description

This list entry was subject to a Minor Enhancement on 29/04/2019

SP 91 NW
4/120

MENTMORE
Mentmore Towers

(Formerly listed as Mentmore House)

26.9.51

GV
I
Formerly a country house, now the British Seat of the World Government of the Age of Enlightenment. Built 1852-54 by Sir Joseph Paxton and G.H Stokes for Baron Mayer Amschel de Rothschild, it was the first of the grand Rothschild properties to be constructed in the Vale of Aylesbury. Ancaster ashlar, flat lead roofs. In the Jacobethan style, much influenced by Wollaton Hall.

Main block of two storeys is almost square in plan with projecting three storey corner towers and single storey wings flanking entrance courtyard. Right wing masks service court to north. Main block is articulated by entablatures and pairs of lugged pilasters on plinths: ground floor is Doric with triglyph entablature; first floor is Ionic and has plinths with cartouches. Balustraded parapet with stone urns on plinths and, on north east side, a central scrolled gable with broken segmental pediment, clock and flanking obelisks.

Towers have Corinthian pilasters on plinths with cartouches, entablatures with carved heads, and scrolled gables with small pediments, central open roundels, heraldic lion finials and corner obelisks. Groups of round stone chimney shafts with panelled capitals and linked cornice heads. Stone mullion windows with double transoms. North east front has five-light windows in outer bays, and slightly projecting centrepiece with two-light windows flanking four-light. Towers have four-light windows or elaborate strapwork cartouches. Central double panelled doors with large radiating fanlight.

Single storey porch has semi-circular arch to each face with carved lion-head keystones, flanking pairs of lugged Doric columns, and triglyph entablature with central Rothschild crest. Flanking wings have rows of six arched niches, triglyph entablature and balustraded parapet, and terminate in similar two-storey towers to front. Remainder is similar, the south east front with central heraldic crests and cyphers dated 1851, and keyblock dated AH1878. Service wing is of two storeys and a basement with a single Doric order and similar parapets, and is built around a small court with inner walls of white brick and entrance arch to north west.

Interior: central two storey hall is faced with Caen stone and has arcaded first floor gallery with marble balustrade. Glazed ceiling with wooden ribs, plaster coving with moulded strapwork cartouches. Ground floor of hall has large arched doors with early examples of plate glass, and fireplace, said to have come from Rubens' house in Antwerp, of black and white marble with large projecting entablature hood on scrolled sheep herms. Other ground floor rooms have heavy carved marble fireplaces with large mirrors above, carved skirting boards and door surrounds with panelled doors. Rooms in south east range have plaster ceilings with gilt Rococo decoration, some C18 imported from France. Dining room has very fine C18 boiseries and gilt ceiling from the Hotel de Villars, Paris, with C18 Genoese velvet in some panels and paintings by Van Loo over the mirrors. Small room to right of entrance front also has C18 french panelling with overdoors by Boucher. Stairwell is of Caen stone with Jacobethan plaster ceiling; single lower flight and double upper flights of stairs with marble balustrades. First floor has suites of bedrooms, also with marble fireplaces, and with bathroom fittings adapted from C18 french commodes. His Lordship's Room has plaster gilt Rococo ceiling.

Mentmore is also notable as one of the earliest houses to have a hot water and central heating system.

James de Rothschild, head of the Paris branch of the international Jewish banking dynasty, was so impressed by Mentmore that he commissioned Paxton to design his own country property, the Château de Ferrières near Paris between 1855 and 1859


Listing NGR: SP9025119659

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