DiCamillo Companion

Nostell Priory

  • Earlier Houses: There was a 12th century priory on the site of the current house.

    Built / Designed For: Sir Rowland Winn, 4th Bt.

    House & Family History: The original monastic buildings at Nostell were converted into a house in 1540 at the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The Augustinian canons who founded the priory dedicated it to St. Oswald, King of Northumbria, who was killed in battle in 642 (the Winn family title of Baron St. Oswald is taken from this bit of Nostell history). Cardinal Wolsey held a confirmation at the priory in 1530. The Nostell Priory Estate was purchased in 1654 by Sir Rowland Winn, a London alderman and successful textile merchant (the family's fortune was founded by George Wynne [1560-1610] of Gwydir, a Welshman who was appointed draper to Queen Elizabeth I). The House was built for Sir Rowland Winn, 4th Bt., who returned from his Grand Tour in 1729 determined to have a Palladian style house for himself. The design for Nostell Priory was based on Palladio's unbuilt Villa Mocenigo; it's very likely that Sir Rowland was advised in the design of the House by Lord Burlington and Colen Campbell. The actual plans for Nostell were probably done by James Moyser, though they were carried out and altered by James Paine. Paine also did many of the interiors, including the State Bedchamber, the Dining Room, and the two staircases. Robert Adam was employed by Sir Rowland, 5th Bt., to finish off many of the interiors (Adam's state rooms at Nostell are among the finest examples of his interiors). Nostell is particularly famous for its Chippendale furniture; the artist designed and executed over 100 pieces (almost all of which still exist at Nostell) of furniture expressly for the House between 1766 and 1776. The famous six-foot-high 18th century dolls' house, with its original furnishings, was made circa 1735 for the children of the 4th Baronet and is believed to be by Thomas Chippendale. Nostell Priory was given to the National Trust in 1953 by the Winn family. In 1986 the Chippendale furniture and other contents were transferred to the National Trust by the family, with the aid of a £6.1 million grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

    Collections: Nostell houses one of England's best collections (and the best documented) of the furniture of Thomas Chippendale, who grew-up nearby, designed especially for the House (the furniture was purchased for the National Trust with National Heritage Memorial Funds of £6,102,360, and remains in situ). There is also an outstanding art collection, with works by Angelica Kauffmann, Holbein's "The Family of Sir Thomas Moore," and Pieter Brueghel the Younger's "The Procession to Calvary." The remarkable 18th century dolls' house, complete with its original fittings and Chippendale-style furniture, is one of the stars of Nostell, as is the John Harrison long-case clock with its extremely rare movement made of wood. Sir Roland Winn, 4th Bt., commissioned a local antiquary to transcribe the "Nostell Act Book," an early 16th century book now housed in the Muniment Room at Nostell. A sale of some contents was held April 30 and May 1, 1990 by Christie's.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: The Winn family owed its wealth to the coal under the Estate, which was mined for hundreds of years. The grounds were laid out by Stephen Switzer, circa 1731. Robert Adam designed lodges, garden buildings, and gates (he also re-designed the west and south ranges of the Stables). The Adam Gate and Lodge at Featherstone Moor is in the form of a large pyramid, dated 1776. Switzer's Orangery, Greenhouse, and Belvedere have all been demolished. The Menagerie, a little Gothic building, survives today; Robert Adam may have designed two small wings for it. The original Wakefield-Doncaster Bridge was designed by Sir George Savile, a Yorkshire neighbor, in 1761.

  • Architect: George Savile

    Date: 1761
    Designed: Bridge over the Wakefield-Doncaster Road

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    Architect: Charles Watson

    Date: 1827-29
    Designed: Redecorated House for Charles Winn

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    Architect: James Moyser

    Date: 1736
    Designed: House
    (Attribution of this work is uncertain)
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    Architect: Stephen Switzer

    Date: 1730s
    Designed: Laid out grounds, Orangery, and Greenhouse.

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    Architect: James Pigott Pritchett

    Date: 1827-29
    Designed: Redecorated House for Charles Winn

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    Architect: James Paine, Sr.

    Date: 1733-50
    Designed: Executed James Moyse's designs and did interiors

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    Architect: Robert Adam

    Date: 1765-75
    Designed: Remodeled Hall; decorated principal rooms.

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  • Vitruvius Britannicus: C. IV, pls. 70-73, 1767.

    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. II, p. 218, 1855.

    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: Vol. V, 1822.

    Country Life: XXI, 594, 1907. XXXVI, 582 plan, 684 [Furniture], 1914. CXI, 1248 [Furniture], 1492, 1572, 1652 plan, 1952. CXII, 1028 [Furniture], 1952.

  • Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - SOFTBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 1995
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 0300072074
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Disintegration of a Heritage: Country Houses and their Collections, 1979-1992, The
    Author: Sayer, Michael
    Year Published: 1993
    Publisher: Norfolk: Michael Russell (Publishing)
    ISBN: 0859551970
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Grade II

  • Seat of: Charles Rowland Andrew Winn, 6th Baron St. Oswald; Winn family here since 1650.

    Past Seat of: SEATED AT EARLIER HOUSE: James Blount, 6th Baron Mountjoy, 16th century. Sir Thomas Gargrave, 16th century. SEATED AT CURRENT HOUSE: Sir Roland Winn, 5th Bt., 18th century.

    Current Ownership Type: The National Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Visitor Attraction

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 01924-863-892

    Fax: 01924-866-846

    Email: nostellpriory@nationaltrust.org.uk

    Website: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk

    Historic Houses Member: No