Broughton Hall – Living History that Stood the Test of Time
With modern buildings and towering skyscrapers dotting the skyline in most cities these days, looking at an impressive building laced with history and culture — Broughton Hall — that is well-preserved is a gratifying and overwhelming experience.
Broughton is a small village to the west of Skipton in North Yorkshire. Built with a Georgian style of architecture, Broughton Hall has continued to be the seat of the Tempest family for over 900 years. Sitting in the centre of a sprawling 3000 acre estate, the towering stately building’s rich history dates back to the beginning of the Millennium. Having been the home of the Tempest family since 1097, the building has seen 31 generations of Tempests live their life in the estate.
Not-so Humble Beginnings
The Tempest family is believed to have come from Normandy to England during the invasion by William the Conqueror in 1066. After the invasion, huge acres of land were given to the Tempests. Today, the estate is believed to have originated from the wedding of Katherine Gilliot and Roger Tempest II. And by the end of the 12th century, the Tempests were busy operating a corn mill which provided work to the locals. In fact, they still operate a corn mill to this day!
In a rare 14th century document, it is seen that Sir John Tempest acquired parts of the Broughton manor, the house and the watermill. Although the estate was spacious and aesthetically wonderful, end wings were later added to the complex’s main structure during the 18th century by Stephen Tempest. Some of the most illustrious names of architecture are involved in the designing of Broughton Hall such as William Atkinson and William Andrews Nesfield. In fact, when Sir Charles Tempest intended to reface the North front in Golden Kendal stone and add a luxurious portico during the early 1800s, he approached the established architect George Webster. The parks were landscaped and spacious gardens were designed in the late 18th and early 19th century, while the Tempest’s Italianate terraced garden was designed by William Andrews Nesfield in 1855.
Historic Beauty and Breathtaking Scenery
The historical gardens are filled with statues, beautifully manicured lawns, pristine ponds, fountains and walkways, and offer the visitors a glimpse of life in the 18th century. The estate is surrounded by the natural beauty of Yorkshire, with the Yorkshire National Park, the Bowland Forest and the Three Peaks nearby. In addition to the breathtaking scenery and the outstanding view, Broughton Hall is surrounded by a number of walkways, rivers, golf courses, cycle routes and parks.
The Grade I listed building has 14 double bedrooms and one single bedroom. Every single room of the house — from the Saloon to the Library, from the magnificent Dining Room to the aesthetically designed Chapel — emanates elegance and royalty. The house has some of the most sophisticated furnishings and artefacts of any stately home. The Tempests have, over the centuries, acquired some of the best collections of paintings, furnishings and artefacts from around the world. This historic mansion also houses some of the best collections of Gillow furniture in the whole of England.
The extensively ornate decorations on the huge mansion doors welcome each and every guest to lose themselves in the rich history of the place. Broughton Hall is not only replete with nuances of English history, but also demonstrates the way in which generations of people lived in Yorkshire. The serene parklands, surrounded by woodland and pasture land, the pristine waterways, the manicured lawns and the towering mansion sitting pretty in the middle of it all epitomises the very best of English architecture. It also brings to the fore the eccentricities of the English, their love for culture, their adoration for everything aesthetic and the pride they take in making sure that history is not pushed to the back pages of the world, but that it is thriving, living and moving forward with the times.Tags: British stately homes