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Hovingham Hall

  • Earlier Houses: There was very likely an earlier house on the site of the current house.

    Built / Designed For: Thomas Worsley VI

    House & Family History: The Worsleys are an ancient Yorkshire family who purchased the manor of Hovingham in 1563 and have remained here ever since. The current Hovingham Hall is a Palladian style L-shaped country house built of limestone ashlar; unusually, it was developed around an existing stableblock, which today forms the main entrance. The house was built between 1750 and 1770 by Thomas Worsley VI (1710–78) to his own designs. Worsley was surveyor general to the Board of Works and an amateur gentleman architect who was obsessed with horses, which is why Hovingham has extraordinary stables and a large riding school (where Thomas taught King George III to ride). In 1828 the Worsleys were elevated to a baronetcy by King George IV. The 5th Baronet's younger sister, Katharine Lucy Mary Worsley, became the Duchess of Kent on June 8, 1961, when she married Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, a member of the royal family. The couple got married at York Minster, the first royal marriage there in 633 years. Hovingham was also the childhood home of the noted architectural historian and author Giles Arthington Worsley (1961-2006), whose funeral took place at Hovingham on January 26, 2006.

    Collections: On July 7, 2022, at Christie's London, a circa 2400-2300 BC Egyptian limestone statue of Mehernefer and his son sold for £6,014,500, against an estimate of £5,000,000 to £8,000,000. The Old Kingdom, mid-to-late 5th Dynasty statue was given to King George III as a gift from Sir James Porter, the British ambassador in Constantinople (in post 1746-61). George III presented the statue as a gift to Thomas Worsley VI, who taught the king, as a young prince, to ride at Hovingham.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: The private cricket pitch in front of the house is believed to be the oldest cricket ground in England. There is a Tuscan temple and ornamental bridge over a waterfall that are both listed Grade II.

  • Architect: Thomas Worsley

    Date: 1750-70
    Designed: House for himself

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  • 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: 2.S. Vol. I, p. 133, 1854.

    Country Life: LXII, 884, 920, 1927. CXXIX, 1410, 1961.

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Not Listed

  • Current Seat / Home of: Sir William Ralph Worsley, 6th Bt.; Worsley family here since 1563.

    Past Seat / Home of: SEATED AT CURRENT HOUSE: Thomas Worsley VI, until 1778; Edward Worsley, 1778-1830; Sir William Worsley, 1st Bt., 1830-79; Sir William Cayley Worsley, 2nd Bt., 1879-97; Sir William Henry Arthington Worsley, 3rd Bt., 1897-1936; Colonel Sir William Arthington Worsley, 4th Bt., 1936-73; Sir William Marcus John Worsley, 5th Bt., 1973-2012.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 01653-628-771

    Fax: 01653-628-668

    Email: [email protected]

    Website: http://www.hovingham.co.uk

    Historic Houses Member: Yes