The Entrance Facade
The Entrance Portico
The Front Door
Built / Designed For: Thomas Harley, Lord Mayor of London
House & Family History: Berrington is a rectangular house of a severe Neoclassical design with an entrance front of seven bays by two stories and a giant tetrastyle portico that contains a lunette window in its pediment. In the rear, three office pavilions form a courtyard. The exterior is of a sandstone of a brownish-red color that was quarried nearby. The House was built for Thomas Harley, younger son of the 3rd Earl of Oxford and Mortimer, on a site probably chosen by Capability Brown, who also supplied the landscape plan for Berrington in 1780. Harley was a banker who made his money by offering pay and clothing to the British Army in America; he was made lord mayor of London in 1767, when he was 37 years old, and later was a member of Parliament for Hereford. The interior of Berrington has remained virtually unchanged since it was built. The magnificent Staircase Hall is top-lit by a clear glass domed lantern and has yellow scagliola Corinthian columns that form screens to three of the galleries on the first floor. The dome and staircase balustrade are made of cast iron from Coalbrookdale. The Drawing Room has a ceiling with roundels supposedly by Biagio Rebecca and a fine chimneypiece of Carrara marble. The Library has a ceiling design that is very similar to that of Lord Clive's Dressing Room at Claremont (a house also by Henry Holland, in partnership with Capability Brown). Harley had no sons and thus Berrington was inherited by his daughter, Anne, who married the 2nd Lord Rodney, eldest son of the famous Admiral Lord Rodney. Berrington remained the seat of that family until 1900, when the 7th Lord Rodney sold up to Frederick Cawley, later 1st Lord Cawley. In 1957 the Estate was gifted to the National Trust by the Cawley family.
Collections: Berrington contains a splendid collection of French furniture, including pieces that belonged to Comte de Flahault, the son of Talleyrand and Hortense, Napoleon's stepdaughter.
Comments: Peter Reid refers to Berrington Hall as "one of the triumphs of its architect, Henry Holland." Lionel Esher, in his book, "The Glory of the English House," calls Berrington "the most perfect of his [Holland's] country houses."
Garden & Outbuildings: Capability Brown drew up plans for the landscaping in 1780. One of the primary focuses of the plan is a pool (in reality an artificial lake of 14 acres). The approach to the House is via a magnificent Triumphal Arch.
John Bernard (J.B.) Burke, published under the title of A Visitation of the Seats and Arms of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland, among other titles: .
Country Life: CXVI, 1952 plan, 2102, 2182 plan, 1954
Title: Burke's and Savills Guide to Country Houses, Volume II: Herefordshire, Shropshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire
Author: Reid, Peter
Year Published: 1980
Publisher: London: Burke's Peerage
Book Type: Hardback
Title: Glory of the English House, The
Author: Esher, Lionel
Year Published: 1997
Publisher: London: Barrie & Jenkins
Book Type: Hardback
Title: National Trust Handbook 2001, The
Author: Dittner, Liz (Editor)
Year Published: 2001
Publisher: London: The National Trust
Book Type: Softback
House Listed: Grade I
Park Listed: Grade II
Past Seat of: The Hon. Thomas Harley, 18th century. George Brydges Rodney, 1st Baron Rodney, 18th century. Frederick Cawley, 1st Baron Cawley, 20th century.
Current Ownership Type: The National Trust
Primary Current Ownership Use: Visitor Attraction