Built / Designed For: 2nd Earl of Halifax
House & Family History: The Menagerie was originally designed as a folly in the park of Horton House (qv), now demolished. The Earl of Halifax probably would have used the large main room as a banqueting house. Lord Halifax kept a large collection of animals at Horton House, with a moat to prevent their escape. During World War II The Menagerie was used by troops and was then continually vandalized and left in a bad conditino. In the 1970s it was filled with straw, almost to the ceiling, in some rooms. The architectural historian Gervase Jackson-Stops rescued The Menagerie and recreated the amazing plasterwork (the main room contains rococo plasterwork that includes signs of the zodiac). The Menagerie is one of the few extant buildings designed by Thomas Wright.
Garden & Outbuildings: The gardens created by Ian Kirby include formal ponds, wetlands, bogs, herbaceous borders, and circular, classical, thatched, Gothic and triangular arbors. There is also a mineral and shell-covered grotto showing Orpheus entertaining animals. These gardens were once home to Lord Halifax's animals.
Architect: Thomas WrightDate: 1750s
House Listed: Grade II
Park Listed: Grade II
Past Seat of: Parr family, until mid-1620s. Henry Montagu, 1st Earl of Manchester, 16th-17th centuries; George Montagu-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax, 18th century; Montagu family here from the mid-1620s until 1781. Sir Robert Gunning, 1st Bt., 18th-19th centuries; Gunning family here until 1888. Pickering Phipps, late 19th century. George Winterbottom, 1899-1935. Mr. W. Storey, 1935-36. Gervase Jackson-Stops, 1972-98. Alex Myers, 1998-2011
Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust
Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home
House Open to Public: No
Historic Houses Member: No