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The charge of eccentricity might equally be levelled at the 3rd Earl of Carlisle who at the end of the 17th century commissioned an untried and formally untrained architect to build Castle Howard, his country seat at Henderskelfe in Yorkshire. There was a lot at stake, after all, for the ambitious earl hoped to outscore his contemporaries in the prevailing fashion for creating grand country houses.

Perhaps it was the 3rd Earl’s breeding which encouraged him to pursue the courage of his own conviction for his family was not short of colourful characters. Foremost among them, perhaps, were the 4th Duke of Norfolk, who was beheaded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1572 for plotting to wed Mary, Queen of Scots; and Charles Howard, who adroitly switched sides between Parlia-mentarians and Royalists and was created 1st Earl of Carlisle by King Charles II.

The 3rd Earl, too, skilfully hopped from role to role: a Member of Parliament, Gentleman of the King’s Bedchamber, Commissioner for the Union with Scotland and Constable of the Tower of London. It was only fitting that he should have a fabulous country seat. Fortunate or inspired, he chose as his architect John Vanbrugh, one-time prisoner of war and writer of bawdy plays.

History can judge that the choice was indeed inspired for Vanbrugh’s maverick visions created a fabulous architectural masterpiece. As part of his revolutionary scheme, Vanbrugh shifted the axis of Castle Howard so that all the state rooms might enjoy a southerly aspect, and included corridors as features in their own right rather than as a means of moving from room to room.

Finally, as a piece de resistance, Vanbrugh built the Great Hall which combined grandeur with skittish fancies, arches, niches, columns and capitals. The crown, 70 feet above, was a dome more dramatic than any to adorn a private house in England. A film set before its time, Castle Howard would later make a perfect setting for the popular television series, Brideshead Revisited!And in the same time if yu plan to make a tour of French castles please check the best hotels in calais website for more information.

20. Vanbrugh Castle


The heroic spirit which created Castle Howard can also be found at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, to which Vanbrugh turned his imagination after his northern masterpiece, more interesting information you can find at this website.Queen Anne had already created John Churchill Duke of Marl-borough in recognition of his exploits during the War of the Spanish Succession and the palace was to be a further fitting reward for his famous victory at the Bavarian village of Blindheim, or Blen-heim. Who would have guessed that a project begun in such harmony would be beset by so many troubles?

From the outset Vanbrugh found him-self constantly at odds with the duchess. He considered his task “much more as an intended Monument of the Queen’s glory than a private Habitation for the Duke of Marlborough.” The duchess, on the other hand, wished for a home and admitted: “I made Mr Vanbrugh my enemy by the constant disputes I had with him to prevent his extravagance.”