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The Menagerie

A Grade II* Listed Building in Castle Ashby, Northamptonshire

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Latitude: 52.2258 / 52°13'32"N

Longitude: -0.7302 / 0°43'48"W

OS Eastings: 486830

OS Northings: 259378

OS Grid: SP868593

Mapcode National: GBR CY0.G6T

Mapcode Global: VHDS8.9BB2

Plus Code: 9C4X67G9+8W

Entry Name: The Menagerie

Listing Date: 3 May 1968

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1189885

English Heritage Legacy ID: 235441

Location: Castle Ashby, South Northamptonshire, Northamptonshire, NN7

County: Northamptonshire

Civil Parish: Castle Ashby

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: Castle Ashby St Mary Magdalene

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough

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13/41 The Menagerie

- II*

Garden building. Begun 1761 (contract signed October 1761), certainly no later
than 1774, with alterations of c.1840 to rear. Limestone ashlar, lead and slate
roofs. Tripartite plan. Single storey; 7 bays. Central 5-bay segmental portico
with 4 Tuscan columns and pilasters either end approached by 3 moulded stone
steps. Triple-stepped bases to columns which bear plain frieze with paterae
above columns and to centre of lintels, deep moulded cornice with elements of
Roman Doric cornice, blocking cornice, and cast-iron ogee-section gutter to base
of lead-covered dome. Dome has slight ogee profile and is crowned by dragon
supporter bearing armorial shield, both of lead. Curved rear wall of portico,
with different radius to that of portico, forms elliptical space and is divided
into 5 bays by pilasters supporting frieze with paterae. Round-headed niches to
upper level of 3 central bays containing bronzed plaster busts, casts after the
antique, one of which is now missing. Stone-paved floor to portico, fitted wood
bench within and low cast-iron railings between columns with gate to central
bay. Single-bay wings either side, slightly set back with round-arched sash
windows set in shallow round-arched recesses. Portico cornice is continued over
wings, with blocking cornices with recumbant lions looking out either end. Brick
cottage to rear extensively altered or rebuilt c.1840. Design of Menagerie is
attributed to Lancelot "Capability" Brown for 8th Earl of Northampton. Brown's
plan for the landscaping of the park, begun 1764, in Castle Ashby archives,
shows no building on site of Menagerie. Robert Adam's plan for improvements to
the park of 1760 does however show a garden temple near the site, although the
building shown on the plan has no particular resemblance to the Menagerie. As
executed it is notably more advanced in its neo-classical design than Brown's
Kentian-style Dairy (q.v.). (Castle Ashby park and gardens are included with
HBMC Register of Parks and Gardens for Northamptonshire at Grade I; Buildings of
England: Northamptonshire: 1973, p144; Castle Ashby Archives; Lucinda Lambton
"Beastly Buildings": the National Trust book of Architecture for Animals: 1985,

Listing NGR: SP8683059378

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