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Brocket Hall

  • Earlier Houses: The current house was probably built around an earlier courtyard house.

    Built / Designed For: Sir Mathew Lamb, 1st Bt.

    House & Family History: Sir Matthew Lamb, a successful lawyer, purchased the Brocket Estate in 1746 and began construction of a house circa 1760. The house was completed for Sir Penistone Lamb, later 1st Lord Melbourne, around 1780. Brocket was the home of two important 19th century prime ministers: William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, and Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston. Today's Brocket Hall is a large, three-story, square, red brick house built by James Paine around an older courtyard house; the staircase, which has a large, glazed oval dome and a riot of columns and color, filled in the space that was the courtyard in the earlier house. In addition to its staircase, Brocket is known for its saloon, an exceptionally large room with a plethora of gilding and painting on the coving and ceiling. The ceiling and coving paintings were designed and firstly executed by John Hamilton Mortimer and completed by Wheatley, after Mortimer's death in 1779. The saloon sports a large and very fine white marble chimneypiece designed by James Paine, Jr. (the door frames and pier glasses in were designed by Paine, Sr.). In 1923 Sir Charles Nall-Cain purchased the house and its contents; he was created 1st Lord Brocket in 1933. The 2nd Lord Brocket was a thoroughly nasty piece of work. He was an infamous absentee landlord (he treated his tenants with contempt and threw them out of their homes without provocation) and an enthusiastic Nazi supporter (he was a passionate member of the Anglo-German Fellowship) who frequently entertained Nazis and British supporters of the movement in his homes. Lord Brocket attended Hitler's 50th birthday celebration in 1939 and was a close friend of Joachim von Ribbentrop. The 3rd Lord Brocket was famously jailed in 1996 after breaking up and hiding three Ferraris and a Maserati from his £20 million automobile collection; Lord Brocket claimed the cars had been stolen in a bid to clear his debts. He was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud an insurance company and sentenced to seven years in prison, of which he served two-and-a-half years. Lord Brocket's problems began after he successfully converted Brocket Hall into a golf club and conference center and found himself awash in cash; he made large investments in Ferraris and when the Ferrari market collapsed overnight the bank called in its £5 million loan and laid claim to Brocket Hall. To save his ancestral home, Lord Brocket developed an insurance fraud scheme, which he probably would have gotten away with, had not his estranged wife turned him into the police. Since his release from prison, Lord Brocket has achieved famed through the 2004 hit television show "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me out of Here," which he followed up with the TV series "Bad Lad's Army" and "Private's Exposed." His latest spot in the limelight is as host of a dare-devil series called "Scream! If You Want to Get Off!"

    Collections: The 1st Viscount Melbourne commissioned Thomas Chippendale to supply furniture for Brocket Hall. In July of 2018 the Cleveland Museum of Art purchased a pair of five-feet-tall Neoclassical torcheres carved by Chippendale (see "Images" section) for Brocket Hall. The gilded wood stands were commissioned in 1773 by Sir Peniston Lamb and were sold at Christie's in London for $640,000. The candle stands had previously been owned by the Washington, DC, collector Jon Gerstenfeld. A painting of Brocket Hall attributed to the Chinese artist Spoilum (probably a copy of a print of Brocket by William Angus) is today in the collection of the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts. A sale of the contents of Brocket Hall took place March 12-14, 1923.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: The stables, Paine's sublime bridge of 1772-74, as well as his entrance screen and pedimented lodges at the southeast corner of the park, are all extant. Lord Melbourne engaged Richard Wood of Essex to landscape the park.

  • Architect: James Paine Jr.

    Date: Probably circa 1760s
    Designed: Chimneypiece in Saloon

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    Architect: Richard Wood

    Date: 18th century
    Designed: Landscaping for Lord Melbourne

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    Architect: James Paine Sr.

    Date: Circa 1760-75
    Designed: Rebuilt House for Sir Matthew Lamb, Bt., and his son, Sir Peniston Lamb (circa 1760-75). Also designed bridge in park (1772-74) and entrance screen and pedimented lodges (circa 1770-75).

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  • John Preston (J.P.) Neale, published under the title of Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, among other titles: 2.S. Vol. V, 1829.

    Country Life: LVIII, 16 plan, 60 plan, 96, 1925.

  • Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - HARDBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 2008
    Reference: pgs. 771, 772
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 9780300125085
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, The
    Author: Pevsner, Nikolaus; Cherry, Bridget
    Year Published: 2000
    Reference: pgs. 111-112
    Publisher: London: Penguin Books
    ISBN: 0140710078
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Making of Pride & Prejudice, The
    Author: Birtwistle, Sue; Conklin, Susie
    Year Published: 1995
    Publisher: London: Penguin Books
    ISBN: 014025157X
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Treasure Houses of Britain, The - SOFTBACK
    Author: Jackson-Stops, Gervase (Editor)
    Year Published: 1985
    Publisher: Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art (New Haven: Yale University Press)
    ISBN: 0300035530
    Book Type: Softback

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Grade II

  • "Lady Caroline Lamb" (1972). "The Scarlet Pimpernel" (1982 - TV movie, using shots of the Park). "Caleb Williams" (1983 - TV mini series). "Murder with Mirrors" (1985 - TV movie). "Inspector Morse" (1987 - TV series, as as Eirl's mansion in the episode "Who Killed Harry Field?"). "Clarissa" (1991 - BBC TV mini series). "Pride and Prejudice" (1995 - BBC TV mini series, as the Netherfield ballroom). "Love in a Cold Climate" (2001 - TV mini series, as the ballroom for Lord and Lady Montdore's party). "Johnny English" (2003 - as Sandringham House). "The Queen" (2006 - the Ballroom and Morning Rooms were used as Buckingham Palace interiors). "Agatha Christie: Poirot" (2013 - TV series, as the London townhouse where the opening party is held in the episode "The Labours of Hercules"). "The Windsors" (2018 - TV series - interiors for Meghan Markle's wedding in the royal wedding special). "Belgravia" (2020 - TV series). "The Crown" (2020 - TV series, as Kensington Palace).
  • Past Seat / Home of: Sir Matthew Lamb, 1st Bt., 1765-68; Penistone Lamb, 1st Viscount Melbourne and 2nd Baronet, 1768-1828; William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, 1828-48. Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, 19th century. Charles Nall-Cain, 1st Baron Brocket, 1923-34; Arthur Ronald Nall Nall-Cain, 2nd Baron Brocket, 1934-67.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Mixed Use

    Ownership Details: Owned by Lord Brocket and leased to CCA, who operate it as a golf resort and conference center.

  • House Open to Public: By Appointment

    Phone: 01707-368-700

    Fax: 01707-368-701

    Email: [email protected]

    Website: https://brocket-hall.co.uk/

    Historic Houses Member: No