Mayfair is an affluent area in the West End of London towards the eastern edge of Hyde Park, in the City of Westminster, between Oxford Street, Regent Street and Park Lane. It is one of the most expensive districts in the world; the area was part of the manor of Eia and remained rural until the early 18th century. It became well known for the annual "May Fair" that took place from 1686 to 1764 in what is now Shepherd Market. Over the years the fair grew unpleasant and downmarket, became a public nuisance; the Grosvenor family, acquired land through marriage and began to develop it under the direction of Thomas Barlow. The work included Hanover Square, Berkeley Square and Grosvenor Square which were surrounded by high-quality houses and the Church of St George Hanover Square. By the end of the 18th century, most of Mayfair was built on with upper-class housing; the decline of the British aristocracy in the early 20th century led to the area becoming more commercial, with many houses converted into offices for major corporate headquarters and other businesses.
Mayfair retains a substantial quantity of luxury residential property, upmarket shops and restaurants, modern hotels along Piccadilly and Park Lane. Its prestigious status has been commemorated by being the most expensive property square on the London Monopoly board. Mayfair is in the City of Westminster, consists of the historical Grosvenor estate and the Albemarle, Berkeley and Curzon estates, it is bordered on the west by Park Lane, north by Oxford Street, east by Regent Street, the south by Piccadilly. Beyond the bounding roads, to the north is Marylebone, to the east Soho, to the southwest Knightsbridge and Belgravia. Mayfair is surrounded by parkland; the 8-acre Grosvenor Square is in the centre of Mayfair, its centrepiece, containing numerous expensive and desirable properties. Following analysis of the alignment of Roman roads, it has been speculated that the Romans settled in the area before establishing Londinium. Whitaker's Almanack suggested that Aulus Plautius built a fort here during the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43 while waiting for Claudius.
The theory was developed in 1993, with a proposal that a town grew outside the fort but was abandoned as being too far from the Thames. The proposal has been disputed because of lack of archaeological evidence. If there was a fort, it is believed the perimeter would have been where the modern Green Street, North Audley Street, Upper Grosvenor Street and Park Lane now are, that Park Street would have been the main road through the centre; this area was the manor of Eia in the Domesday Book, owned by Geoffrey de Mandeville after the Norman Conquest. It was subsequently given to the Abbey of Westminster, who owned it until 1536 when it was taken over by Henry VIII. Mayfair was open fields until development started in the Shepherd Market area around 1686–88 to accommodate the May Fair that had moved from Haymarket in St James's because of overcrowding. There were some buildings before 1686 – a cottage in Stanhope Row, dating from 1618 was destroyed in the Blitz in late 1940. A 17th-century English Civil War fortification established in what is now Mount Street was known as Oliver's Mount by the 18th century.
The May Fair was held every year at Great Brookfield from 1–14 May. It was established during the reign of Edward I in open fields beyond St. James; the fair was recorded as "Saint James's fayer by Westminster" in 1560. It otherwise continued throughout the 17th century. In 1686, the fair moved to. By the 18th century, it had attracted showmen and fencers and numerous fairground attractions. Popular attractions included bare-knuckle fighting, semolina eating contests and women's foot racing. By the reign of George I, the May Fair had fallen into disrepute and was regarded as a public scandal; the 6th Earl of Coventry, who lived on Piccadilly, considered the fair to be a nuisance and, with local residents, led a public campaign against it. It was abolished in 1764. One reason for Mayfair's subsequent boom in property development was it was able to keep out lower class activities. Building on Mayfair began in the 1660s on the corner of Piccadilly, progressed along the north side of that street. Burlington House was started between 1664–5 by John Denham and sold two years to Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Burlington who asked Hugh May to complete it.
The house was extensively modified through the 18th century, is the only one of this era to survive into the 21st century. The origins of major development began when Sir Thomas Grosvenor, 3rd Baronet married Mary Davis, heiress to part of the Manor of Ebury, in 1677; the Grosvenor family gained 500 acres of land, of which around 100 acres lay south of Oxford Street and east of Park Lane. The land was referred to as "The Hundred Acres" in early deeds. In 1721, the London Journal reported "the ground upon which the May Fair was held is marked out for a large square, several fine streets and houses are to be built upon it". Sir Richard Grosvenor, 4th Baronet asked the surveyor Thomas Barlow to design the street layout which has survived intact to the present day despite most of the properties being rebuilt. Barlow proposed a grid of straight streets, with a large place as a centrepiece. Buildings were constructed in quick succession, by the mid-18th century the area was covered in houses. Much of the land was owned by seven estates – Burlington, Millf
A godparent, in many denominations of Christianity, is someone who bears witness to a child's baptism and aids in their catechesis, as well as their lifelong spiritual formation. In the past, in some countries, the role carried some legal obligations as well as religious responsibilities of the Godparent. In both religious and civil views, a godparent tends to be an individual chosen by the parents to take an interest in the child's upbringing and personal development, to offer mentorship or claim legal guardianship of the child should anything happen to the parents. A male godparent is a godfather, a female godparent is a godmother; the child is a godchild. As early as the 2nd century AD, infant baptism had begun to gain acceptance among Christians for the spiritual purification and social initiation of infants, the requirement for some confession of faith necessitated the use of adults who acted as sponsors for the child, they acted as guarantors of the child's spiritual beliefs. These sponsors were the natural parents of a child, as emphasized in 408 by St. Augustine who suggested that they could, it seems exceptionally, be other individuals.
Within a century, the Corpus Juris Civilis indicates that parents had been replaced in this role completely. This was clarified in 813 when the Synod of Mainz prohibited natural parents from acting as godparents to their own children. By the 5th century, male sponsors were referred to as "spiritual fathers", by the end of the 6th century, they were being referred to as "compaters" and "commaters", suggesting that these were being seen as spiritual co-parents; this pattern was marked by the creation of legal barriers to marriage that paralleled those for other forms of kin. A decree of Justinian, dated to 530, outlawed marriage between a godfather and his goddaughter, these barriers continued to multiply until the 11th century, forbidding marriage between natural and spiritual parents, or those directly related to them; as confirmation emerged as a separate rite from baptism from the 8th century, a second set of sponsors, with similar prohibitions emerged. The exact extent of these spiritual relationships as a bar to marriage in Catholicism was unclear until the Council of Trent, which limited it to relationships between the godparents, the child, the parents.
Luther and Calvin preserved infant baptism against the attacks of more radical reformers including Anabaptists, with it, sponsors at baptism. However, Luther objected to the marriage barriers it created, Zwingli stressed the role of parents and pastors, rather than the "witnesses", in religious instruction, Calvin and his followers tended to prefer the sponsors to be the natural parents. A single godparent was retained in baptism at Geneva and among French Calvinists, but some followers of Calvin, most notably in Scotland and the English colonies in America, rejected them altogether. In the early church, one sponsor seems to have been the norm, but in the early Middle Ages, there seems to have been two, one of each sex, this practice has been maintained in Orthodox Christianity. In 888, the Catholic Council of Metz attempted to limit the number to one, but proliferation seems to have continued. In early 14th-century Spain, as many as 20 godparents were being chosen. In England, the Synod of Worcester stipulated three sponsors, this has remained the norm in the Church of England.
The Council of Trent attempted to limit the numbers of godparents to one or two, but practice has differed across the Catholic world. The Church of England, the mother Church of the Anglican Communion, retained godparents in baptism, formally removing the marriage barriers in 1540, but the issue of the role and status of godparents continued to be debated in the English Church, they were abolished in 1644 by the Directory of Public Worship promulgated by the English Civil War Parliamentary regime, but continued to be used in some parishes in the north of England. After the Restoration in 1660, they were reintroduced to Anglicanism, with occasional objections, but dropped by every dissenting church. There is some evidence that the restored institution had lost some of its social importance as well as its universality. At present, in the Church of England, relatives can stand as godparents, although it is not clear that parents can be godparents, they sometimes are. Godparents should be both baptized and confirmed, but the requirement for confirmation can be waived.
There is no requirement for clergy to baptize those from outside their parishes, baptism can be reasonably delayed so that the conditions, including suitable godparents, can be met. As a result, individual clergy have considerable discretion over the qualifications of godparents. Many "contemporary Anglican rites require parents and godparents to respond on behalf of infant candidates." Lutherans follow a similar theology of godparents as Roman Catholics. They believe that godparents "help with their Christian upbringing if they should lose their parents". Lutherans, like Roman Catholics, believe that a godparent must be both a baptized and confirmed Christian; some Lutherans follow the Roman Catholic tradition that a Christian, not affiliated with the Lutheran denomination may serve as a witness rather than a godparent. The Book of Discipline stipulates that it is the duty of a godparent known as a sponsor, "to provide training for the children of the Church throughout their childhood that will lead to a personal commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, to an understanding of
International Monarchist League
See Monarchist League for similar organisationsThe International Monarchist League is an organisation dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the monarchical system of government and the principle of monarchy worldwide. It has been active in advocating the restoration of the monarchy in countries that have become republics in the twentieth century since World War II; the League is based in the United Kingdom. The Rev. John Edward Bazille-Corbin founded the Monarchist League as a faux-chivalric body in 1943. Bazille-Corbin was a colourful character, according to Peter Anson, whilst retaining his living as Anglican Rector of Runwell St Mary in Essex became titular Bishop of Selsey in Mar Georgius' "Catholicate of the West". An avid collector of titles and orders of a questionable nature, Bazille-Corbin used the titles of Duca di San Giaconio and Marquis de Beuvel; the League developed into a pressure and support group. Celebrating its Silver Jubilee in 1968, The Monarchist editorial said "in the late 50s and the early 60s a great resurgence took place in the League when negative and passive monarchism was turned into positive and aggressive monarchism."The league is governed by a "Grand Council", which includes some non-British representatives.
The Chancellor for at least a decade prior to 1975 was Lieut.-Col. J. C. du Parc Braham, TD. Du Parc Braham, an industrious but eccentric personality, kept the league's profile high, he was succeeded by Victor Hervey, 6th Marquess of Bristol, a member of the league's Grand Council previous to 1968. He subsidised the league and many of its events until his death in 1985. Michael Wynne-Parker had been Principal Secretary from the late 1970s, following the Marquess of Bristol's death became the league's Acting Chancellor until 1987 when Count Nikolai Tolstoy was appointed to that position. Wynne-Parker was made a Vice-Chancellor, a post which he held until standing down in March 1990. In 1971, the league had numerous peers and notables as high-profile members, including John Whyte-Melville-Skeffington, 13th Viscount Massereene, Charles Stourton, 26th Baron Mowbray, John Biggs-Davison, MP, on the league's'Council of Honour'. In 1972 the Chancellor announced he had appointed Mr. Nicholas Parker "Director of Propaganda".
Count Nikolai Tolstoy-Miloslavsky joined in late 1975, Prince Moshin Ali Khan of Hyderabad and Lord Sudeley were both announced as new members in 1980. The league had an active youth wing, run in the mid-1960s by David Charlesworth. In February 1979 Lord Nicholas Hervey was elected as President of the International Youth Association of the League, contributed in the July 1981 edition of The Monarchist an article entitled "The Youth Association Spreading its Wings". In 1985 he became a league Vice-Chancellor, made the formal toast to the guests, the Prince and Princess of Lippe, at the League's Annual Dinner in the Cholmondeley Room, The House of Lords, on 1 April 1986. Lord Nicholas Hervey remained active in the league until 1992; the Monarchist League had become dormant by the mid-1980s, although Michael Wynne-Parker continued to engage in debates on behalf of the league, such as the one in 1982 at Wymondham College, when the motion, proposed by a Mr. Matehall, a member of the Communist Party, was "This House would Abolish the Monarchy".
The motion was soundly defeated. Gregory Lauder-Frost, who had joined the league in January 1979 organised a major dinner at the House of Lords on 9 February 1984, when the guests-of-honour were Prince & Princess Tomislav of Yugoslavia; the death of the Marquess of Bristol in 1985 meant the end of any kind of future subsidy and left the league overdrawn at the bank as a result. One edition of The Monarchist appeared that none at all the following year, it appeared for the last time in February 1987 following. He was replaced by BEM who served a two-year term as Secretary-General, but he lived in Edinburgh, inconvenient for a body based in London. Lauder-Frost was called in to become Publications Editor, Henry von Blumenthal became Treasurer. Major re-organisation by this duo of the league and its finances took place in 1988, Lauder-Frost emphasising that "we are not just a social group, but a serious pressure group carrying out a demanding role in the face of much opposition." In Autumn 1989 Kenneth Hay stated that the league was "indebted" to Lauder-Frost, his publications for the league being "received with enthusiasm", mentioning "the letters of appreciation" he had received "from members and non-members alike."
That year, von Blumenthal began developing a system of collaboration with other monarchist organisations, compiled The Monarchists' Directory and, published by Lauder-Frost in the League's Newsletter for the first time in 1989. Von Blumenthal attempted to develop a monarchist ideology; this led to a number of important reforms, chief of which were the establishment of a UK branch network and re-activation of the branches in the United States and Australia. One of the most successful UK branches, in Kent, was led by von Blumenthal, who had recruited Don Foreman as its secretary. Kenneth Hay was able to report in Autumn 1989 that "the League is forging ahead", he stood down at the end of 1989 and was replaced by Lauder-Frost whom he described as having an "active mind and restless energy, who has edited the Newsletter and Policy Papers with success". Meanwhile, Anthony J Bailey and W
Caxton Hall is a building on the corner of Caxton Street and Palmer Street, in Westminster, England. It is a Grade II listed building noted for its historical associations, it hosted many mainstream and fringe political and artistic events and after the Second World War was the most popular register office used by high society and celebrities who required a civil marriage. It was designed in 1878 by William Lee and F. J. Smith in an ornate Francois I style using red brick and pink sandstone, with slate roofs, it won the competition for a hall design set by the parishes of St John. A central entrance porch and canopy were added in the mid-20th century, now removed, it was opened as Westminster Town Hall in 1883 and contained two public halls known as the Great & York Halls. They were used for a variety of purposes including musical concerts and as a venue for public meetings. From 1933 on it was used as a Central London register office and was the venue for many celebrity weddings; this function closed in 1979 and the building stood empty for years getting a place on the Buildings at Risk Register.
It was listed as a building of Special Architectural or Historic Interest on 15 March 1984. It was redeveloped as apartments and offices in 2006; the facade and former register office at the front of the building facing Caxton Street were restored and retained being converted into luxury flats. The rear of the building, containing the halls, was demolished and a circular office building, named the Asticus Building, was built on the site, it was the location of the First Pan-African Conference in 1900. The Women's Social and Political Union, part of the British Suffragette movement held a ‘Women's Parliament’ at Caxton Hall at the beginning of each parliamentary session from 1907, with a subsequent procession to the Houses of Parliament and an attempt to deliver a petition to the prime minister in person. Caxton Hall's central role in the militant suffrage movement is now commemorated by a bronzed scroll sculpture that stands nearby in Christchurch Gardens open space. On 10 October 1925, Harry Pollitt, founding member of the Communist Party of Great Britain was married here to Marjorie Brewer.
Their best man and witness was Percy Glading, who would be imprisoned for spying for the OGPU. During the Second World War it was used by the Ministry of Information as a venue for press conferences held by Winston Churchill and his ministers; this wartime role is marked by a commemorative plaque unveiled in 1991. In 1940 it was the site of the assassination of Michael O'Dwyer, former Lieutenant Governor of the Punjab in India by Indian nationalist Udham Singh, as an act of revenge for the 1919 Amritsar massacre, it was the location of the press conference that the Russell–Einstein Manifesto was released in 1955 in response to the threat of nuclear war and humanity destroying itself. On 12 May 1960, over 1000 people attended the first public meeting of the Homosexual Law Reform Society; the National Front was formed at a meeting in Caxton Hall, Westminster on 7 February 1967. It was used as a central London register office for weddings from October 1933 to 1978. Notable people who were married there include.
On 18 August 1952, future Prime Minister Anthony Eden married Clarissa Spencer-Churchill, the niece of the Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Caxton Hall in Westminster and the marriage of Diana Dors to Dennis Hamilton Another Nickel in the Machine. Accessed July 2011. Many pictures of Caxton Hall events
House of Lords
The House of Lords known as the House of Peers, is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is else by heredity or official function. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster; the full name of the house is the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled. Unlike the elected House of Commons, members of the House of Lords are appointed; the membership of the House of Lords is drawn from the peerage and is made up of Lords Spiritual and Lords Temporal. The Lords Spiritual are 26 bishops in the established Church of England. Of the Lords Temporal, the majority are life peers who are appointed by the monarch on the advice of the Prime Minister, or on the advice of the House of Lords Appointments Commission. However, they include some hereditary peers including four dukes. Membership was once an entitlement of all hereditary peers, other than those in the peerage of Ireland, but under the House of Lords Act 1999, the right to membership was restricted to 92 hereditary peers.
Since 2008, only one of them is female. While the House of Commons has a defined number of seats membership, the number of members in the House of Lords is not fixed; the House of Lords is the only upper house of any bicameral parliament in the world to be larger than its lower house. The House of Lords scrutinises bills, it reviews and amends Bills from the Commons. While it is unable to prevent Bills passing into law, except in certain limited circumstances, it can delay Bills and force the Commons to reconsider their decisions. In this capacity, the House of Lords acts as a check on the House of Commons, independent from the electoral process. Bills can be introduced into the House of Commons. While members of the Lords may take on roles as government ministers, high-ranking officials such as cabinet ministers are drawn from the Commons; the House of Lords has its own support services, separate from the Commons, including the House of Lords Library. The Queen's Speech is delivered in the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament.
In addition to its role as the upper house, until the establishment of the Supreme Court in 2009, the House of Lords, through the Law Lords, acted as the final court of appeal in the United Kingdom judicial system. The House has a Church of England role, in that Church Measures must be tabled within the House by the Lords Spiritual. Today's Parliament of the United Kingdom descends, in practice, from the Parliament of England, though the Treaty of Union of 1706 and the Acts of Union that ratified the Treaty in 1707 and created a new Parliament of Great Britain to replace the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland; this new parliament was, in effect, the continuation of the Parliament of England with the addition of 45 MPs and 16 Peers to represent Scotland. The House of Lords developed from the "Great Council"; this royal council came to be composed of ecclesiastics and representatives of the counties of England and Wales. The first English Parliament is considered to be the "Model Parliament", which included archbishops, abbots, earls and representatives of the shires and boroughs of it.
The power of Parliament grew fluctuating as the strength of the monarchy grew or declined. For example, during much of the reign of Edward II, the nobility was supreme, the Crown weak, the shire and borough representatives powerless. In 1569, the authority of Parliament was for the first time recognised not by custom or royal charter, but by an authoritative statute, passed by Parliament itself. During the reign of Edward II's successor, Edward III, Parliament separated into two distinct chambers: the House of Commons and the House of Lords; the authority of Parliament continued to grow, during the early 15th century both Houses exercised powers to an extent not seen before. The Lords were far more powerful than the Commons because of the great influence of the great landowners and the prelates of the realm; the power of the nobility declined during the civil wars of the late 15th century, known as the Wars of the Roses. Much of the nobility was killed on the battlefield or executed for participation in the war, many aristocratic estates were lost to the Crown.
Moreover, feudalism was dying, the feudal armies controlled by the barons became obsolete. Henry VII established the supremacy of the monarch, symbolised by the "Crown Imperial"; the domination of the Sovereign continued to grow during the reigns of the Tudor monarchs in the 16th century. The Crown was at the height of its power during the reign of Henry VIII; the House of Lords remained more powerful than the House of Commons, but the Lower House continued to grow in influence, reaching a zenith in relation to the House of Lords during the middle 17th century. Conflicts between the King and the Parliament led to the English Civil War during the 1640s. In 1649, after the defeat and execution of King Charles I, the Commonwealth of England was declared, but the nation was under the overall control of Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, S
Public school (United Kingdom)
A public school in England and Wales is a long-established, student-selective, fee-charging independent secondary school that caters for children aged between 11 or 13 and 18, whose head teacher is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. Public refers to their origins as schools open to any public citizen who could afford to pay the fees. Traditionally, English public schools were all-male boarding schools, but the term now includes co-educational and girls' schools, while many accept day pupils as well as boarders. Public schools have had a strong association with the ruling classes, they educated the sons of the English upper and upper-middle classes. The sons of officers and senior administrators of the British Empire were educated in England while their fathers were on overseas postings. In 2010, over half of Cabinet Ministers had been educated at public schools. Public schools emerged from charity schools established to educate poor scholars—public because access to them was not restricted on the basis of religion, occupation, or home location, that they were subject to public management or control, in contrast to private schools which were run for the personal profit of the proprietors.
The origins of schools in the UK were religious until 1640, when House of Commons invited Comenius to England to establish and participate in an agency for the promotion of learning. It was intended that by-products of this would be the publication of'universal' books and the setting up of schools for boys and girls. Soon after the Clarendon Commission reported in 1864, the Public Schools Act 1868 gave the following seven schools independence from direct jurisdiction or responsibility of the Crown, the established church, or the government: Charterhouse, Eton College, Harrow School, Rugby School, Shrewsbury School, Westminster School, Winchester College. Henceforth each of these schools was to be managed by a board of governors; the following year, the headmaster of Uppingham School invited sixty to seventy of his fellow headmasters to form what became the Headmasters' Conference – the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. Separate preparatory schools developed from the 1830s, which "prepared" younger boys for entry to the senior schools.
According to the Independent Schools Information Service, a consortium set up by British independent schools to promote themselves to the public, public school is applied to describe the 215 independent and boys' secondary schools belonging to the Headmasters' Conference. The name dates back to the time when schools founded for local children went'public' and admitted children from further afield, it is used to describe the some 230 girls' senior schools belonging to the Girls' Schools Association. When the "Education" section of a capsule biography in Who's Who or similar British reference works says "privately", this refers to the person having been educated by personal tutors rather than at a school; the term "public school" in American English and in Scotland, where a state-funded education system began 300 years prior to England's, means something quite different: one administered by the local government to serve the children of that area. Until the late medieval period most schools were controlled by the church and had specific entrance criteria.
The need for professional trades in an secularised society required schools for the sons of the gentry that were independent from ecclesiastical authority and open to all. From the 16th century onward, boys' boarding schools were endowed for public use. Traditionally, most of these public schools were all full boarding; some public schools are old, such as The King's School, The King's School, Rochester, St Peter's School, Sherborne School, Warwick School, The King's School, Ely and St Albans School. These schools were under their complete dominion. Separate preparatory schools for younger boys developed from the 1830s, with entry to the senior schools becoming limited to boys of at least 12 or 13 years old; the first of these was Windlesham House School, established with support from Thomas Arnold, headmaster of Rugby School. Many of the schools, including Rugby School, Harrow School and the Perse School fell into decline during the 18th century and nearly closed in the early 19th century. Protests in the local newspaper forced governors of the Perse School to keep it open, a court case in 1837 required reform of the abuse of the school's trust.
A Royal Commission, the Clarendon Commission, investigated nine of the more established schools, including seven boarding schools and two day schools. The Public Schools Act 1868 regulated and reformed these "public schools", for which it provided the first legal definition: schools which were open to the paying public from anywhere in the country, as opposed to, for example, a local school only open to local residents, or a religious school open only to members of a certain church. St Paul's School and the Merchant Taylors' School claimed that their constitutions made them "private" schools, were excluded from the requirements of this legislation. In 1887 the Divisional Court and the
Ickworth House is a country house near Bury St Edmunds, England. It is a neoclassical building set in parkland; the house was the residence of the Marquess of Bristol before being sold to the National Trust in 1998. The house, built between 1795 and 1829, was the chief dwelling of an estate owned by the Hervey family Marquesses of Bristol, since 1467; the building was the creation of Frederick Hervey, 4th Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry, who commissioned the Italian architect Antonio Asprucci to design him a classical villa in the Suffolk countryside. It had been planned as an art gallery but the Earl's collection was seized by Napoleon; the Earl died in 1803. In 1956, the house, a large endowment were given to the National Trust in lieu of death duties; as part of the handover agreement, a 99-year lease on the 60-room East Wing was given to the Marquess of Bristol. However, in 1998 the 7th Marquess of Bristol sold the remaining lease on the East Wing to the National Trust, he was succeeded by 8th Marquess of Bristol.
The National Trust refused to sell the remaining lease term back to the 8th Marquess, thereby contravening the Letter of Wishes which states that the head of the family should always be offered whatever accommodation he chooses at Ickworth. The family's once private East Wing is now run as The Ickworth Hotel on a lease from the National Trust. Apartments leased from the Trust, are in located in the Dower House in the grounds; the West Wing at Ickworth House went uncompleted until 2006, when a joint partnership between the National Trust and Sodexo Prestige led to its renovation and opening as a centre for conferences and events. The first wedding in the property's history took place in 2006; as one of England's more unusual houses, Ickworth has been unflatteringly described as resembling "a huge bulk, newly arrived from another planet" and as "an overgrown folly". It is now being architecturally reassessed and recognised as the only building in England comparable with the monumental works of Boullée and Ledoux.
The design concept was based on the designs of Italian architect Antonio Asprucci, most noted for his work at the Villa Borghese, which the Bishop-Earl had seen. Asprucci's plans were adapted and the building work overseen by English architects Francis Sandys and his brother Joseph Sandys; the façades are of brick covered in stucco. The central rotunda is 105 ft. high with a balustraded roof. The building is entered through the central entrance ionic pedimented portico; the rotunda is decorated with pilasters, which on the lower floor are Corinthian above. The ground and first floor and the third floor and the balustraded parapet are divided friezes bas-relief; the rotunda is flanked by segmental single story narrow wings linking, in the palladian fashion, to two terminating pavilions. Unlike the design of a true Palladian building, the terminating pavilions, rather than minor balancing appendages, are in fact large wings, complementary in weight to the rotunda which becomes their corps de logis.
The East Wing, a small mansion in itself, was designed to be the everyday living quarters of the family, thus permitting the more formal rooms of the rotunda to be reserved for entertaining and display. The west wing, intended as an orangery, sculpture gallery and service rooms remained an unfinished shell until the beginning of the 21st century. For much of the time it was used as agricultural storage. Paintings by Velázquez, Titian and Claude Lorrain, as well as an unrivalled series of 18th-century family portraits by artists such as Gainsborough, Vigee-Lebrun, Angelica Kauffman, Van Loo, Hogarth. In addition, Ickworth has arguably the best collections in Britain of fine Georgian silver; the house contains good examples of Regency furniture and porcelain. Most members of the Hervey family, from Thomas Hervey up to the 7th Marquess of Bristol, have been buried at Ickworth Church, located in the Park, a short walk from the house; the church is Norman with some additions, possesses a 15th-century wall painting of the Angel of the Annunciation, a 15th-century font, roundels of Flemish glass from as early as 14th century, as well as numerous marble achievements to different members of the Hervey family over the centuries.
It remains in the hands of the Hervey family and has undergone repairs to make it safe with the help of a grant from English Heritage. Scriven, Marcus. Splendour and Squalor: The Disgrace and Disintegration of Three Aristocratic Dynasties. Atlantic Books. ISBN 978-1843541240. Jackson-Stops, Gervase; the Country House in Perspective. Pavilion Books Ltd. ISBN 0-8021-1228-5. Map sources for Ickworth House Ickworth House, Park & Garden information at the National Trust Ickworth House entry from The DiCamillo Companion to British & Irish Country Houses Historic England. "Details from image database". Images of England. Flickr images of Ickworth