Dr Emma Wells, on the largest private dwelling in the UK: Wentworth Woodhouse

in Rotherham in Sheriff Hutton in Wentworth, South Yorkshire

Even though Wentworth Woodhouse stands as one of the most spectacular Country Houses anywhere in the world., most visitors in fact pass by entirely oblivious to this magnificent – and mysterious – buildings. Sited on the outskirts of Rotherham in South Yorkshire, in the little village of Wentworth, it is the largest private dwelling in the UK with c.365 rooms and five miles of corridors. Its eastern façade is the longest of any country home in Europe—and therefore record breaking. Extending to a mighty 600ft wide, it is twice the length of a standard football pitch, and double Buckingham Palace’s length.

Commissioned in 1724 by Thomas Watson-Wentworth, the first Marquess of Rockingham and great-nephew of the Earl of Strafford, it took nearly twenty-five years to complete, and cost an estimated £82,500. After the west front was constructed in a red-brick Baroque style which quickly fell out of architectural favour, Thomas ordered the construction of the East Front, as a grand visitor elevation in the popular Palladian style.

And the architectural marvels did not end there: the main staircase erected in 1770, was designed by famous local architect John Carr of York, who was responsible for Harewood House and Fairfax House; and the Marble Room which some say is the finest Georgian room in the country. As the epicentre of activity, the ballroom was used for entertaining guests, such as Anna Pavlova – the Russian ballerina – who danced for King George V and Queen Mary in 1912—and housed over 1,000 guests at one party in 1731!

However, the entirety of the estate was almost lost to history, all thanks to coal. After World War II decimated supplies, Wentworth was sited in the unfortunate position right atop the Barnsley Seam. The government agreed to commence the excavation below and so commenced forty years of open-cast mining extending almost to the front of the once great mansion.

Left essentially in a state of disrepair and damage, after the last family left the mansion, Wentworth stood empty and was almost bulldozed. Its rescue came in 2017 when it was purchased for £7.6 million, by the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust.

Books by Dr Emma Wells

Related Accommodation

The accommodation below is nearby - and has been updated recently.

Charming Wentworth Lodge with countryside views

Wentworth Lodge Town Lane, Rotherham, S61 3DD, United Kingdom

Mercure Sheffield Parkway

Britannia Way, Catcliffe, Rotherham, S60 5BD, United Kingdom

Holiday Inn Rotherham-Sheffield M1,Jct.33, an IHG Hotel

West Bawtry Rd, M1 Junction 33, Rotherham, S60 4NA, United Kingdom

1 thought on “Dr Emma Wells, on the largest private dwelling in the UK: Wentworth Woodhouse”

  1. I am currently reading Black Diamonds by Catherine Bailey, lots of history about Wentworth, the Fitzwilliam family and coal mining in the area, plus some social and political history of the time, fascinating thoroughly recommend it.


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