DiCamillo Companion
England

Mawley Hall

  • Built / Designed For: Sir Edward Blount, 4th Bt.

    House & Family History: The Catholic family of Blount had long lived quietly as recusants at nearby Sodington. By the early 18th century, with the threat of persecution much reduced, Sir Edward Blount, 4th Bt., built Mawley between circa 1728 and 1733, probably to the designs of Francis Smith of Warwick. Mawley, though, is no Tory Church-going squire's sober manor house, but a house of the highest quality—an exuberant celebration of design (listed as one of England's Thousand Best Houses by Simon Jenkins in his 2003 book of the same title). Each façade of the nine-by-seven bay house presents a different design; on the Entrance Facade giant Tuscan pilasters on the three-bay pediment and classical urns and statues on the parapet greet visitors with Roman gusto. Inside, the talents of the stuccadore Francesco Vassalli and the joiners Edward Poynton and Thomas Eborall (Poynton and Eborall frequently worked with Smith of Warwick) combine to create a riot of decorative detail. In the Hall the plasterwork is richly used as garlands, portrait roundels, and festoons, while the staircase climbs the three sides of its well with a wooden handrail of undulating fish and serpent form. The Oak Drawing Room is lined with finely carved and ornate oak paneling in the style of Grinling Gibbons and features a 1978 fresco ceiling by Graham Rust in the theme of Milton's "Paradise Regained." With some of the finest Baroque interiors in England, all appears, as several commentators have observed, more continental than English. With the departure of the Blount family, this remarkable house was almost lost in the middle years of the 20th century, until it was saved by the late Anthony Galliers-Pratt in 1962. In September of 2018 Mawley was sold by Anthony's son, Rupert Galliers-Pratt, to new owners with a guide price of £10 million. Mawley was famously used as the setting for the 1991 BBC/"Masterpiece Theatre" mini series production of "Clarissa." (We are most grateful to Gareth Williams for this history of Mawley Hall.)

    Collections: The principal contents of Mawley, comprising over 200 lots, were auctioned by the Cambridge firm Cheffins on September 11 and 12, 2019.

    Comments: Mawley is frequently cited as containing some of the finest Baroque interiors in England. Andor Gomme, writing in "Smith of Warwick: Francis Smith, Architect and Master-Builder," states that Mawley is "The most ambitious of early Georgian Shropshire houses..."

  • Garden & Outbuildings: The gardens were laid out in the 1960s and feature expanses of lawn with mature oaks, beaches and cedars, as well as parterres, vistas, urns, and an herb garden. The 18th century Stables are extant. As of 2020, the Mawley Estate stood at 3,750 acres.

    Chapel & Church: There was a late Georgian chapel (attached to a corner of the house) that has been demolished.

  • Architect: Craig Hamilton

    Date: 2018-20
    Designed: Restoration of House and addition of Orangery and Swimming Pavilion

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    Architect: Thomas White

    Date: Circa 1728-33
    Designed: House for Sir Edward Blount, 4th Bt. Attribution of this work is uncertain, and generally credited to Francis Smith.
    (Attribution of this work is uncertain)
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    Architect: Francis Smith

    Date: Circa 1728-33
    Designed: House for Sir Edward Blount, 4th Bt.

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    Architect: William Baker

    Date: 1748
    Designed: Stables for Sir Edward Blount, 4th Bt.
    (Attribution of this work is uncertain)
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  • Country Life: XXVIII, 18, 1910.

  • Title: Burke's and Savills Guide to Country Houses, Volume II: Herefordshire, Shropshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire
    Author: Reid, Peter
    Year Published: 1980
    Reference: pgs. 101-102
    Publisher: London: Burke's Peerage
    ISBN: 0850110319
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Smith of Warwick: Francis Smith, Architect and Master-Builder
    Author: Gomme, Andor
    Year Published: 2000
    Reference: pg. 188
    Publisher: Lincolnshire: Shaun Tyas
    ISBN: 1900289385
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - HARDBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 2008
    Reference: pgs. 91, 947
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 9780300125085
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Not Listed

  • "Clarissa" (1991 - BBC TV mini series, as the Harlowe family's country house).
  • Current Seat / Home of: Christopher Rokos; here since 2018.

    Past Seat / Home of: Sir Edward Blount, 4th Bt., 18th century. Rupert Galliers-Pratt, 21st century; Galliers-Pratt family here from 1962 until 2018.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

  • House Open to Public: No

    Website: https://greenknightestates.co.uk/

    Historic Houses Member: No