In 1717, Henry Hoare I bought the old Stourton House and replaced it with a Palladian mansion, known as Stourhead. The architect was Colen Campbell, a master of the Palladian style. The house was completed by Henry Hoare II, who was also responsible for the famous landscaped gardens.
Sir Richard Colt Hoare, the renowned antiquarian and grandson of Henry Hoare II, inherited Stourhead in 1783. In the 1790s, Colt Hoare added the Library and Picture Gallery to the house.
In 1902, the central part of the house was devastated by fire, although most of the items from the house were saved. The house was rebuilt almost entirely as it had first been conceived by Colen Campbell.
Sir Henry Hoare (6th Baronet) gave the house and estate to the National Trust in 1946. The house contains a large picture collection, other artworks, and furniture made by Chippendale the Younger.
Stourhead is perhaps best known for its beautiful landscaped gardens, designed by Henry Hoare II.
The landscaping centres on a lake, created as part of the design, around which are placed the classical temples of Flora and Apollo, the Pantheon, a grotto, and the Gothic Cottage. Other features include the Bristol High Cross, an obelisk, and the Palladian bridge. As you walk through the surrounding woodland, views across the lake change, with sudden vistas opening up.
Away from the lake, two miles north-west of the garden, is Alfred's Tower. A triangular construction, the spiral staircase inside leads to a viewing platform at the top of the tower which affords views over three counties.
Stourhead - looking across the lake to the Gothic Cottage
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