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Burghley House

In the civil parish of St Martin's Without.
In the historic county of Northamptonshire and the Soke of Peterborough.
Modern Authority of Peterborough; City of.
1974 county of Cambridgeshire.
Medieval County of Soke of Peterborough.

OS Map Grid Reference: TF04830607
Latitude 52.64225° Longitude -0.45214°

Burghley House has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are major building remains.

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


Circa 1555 to circa 1587. One of the largest of the Elizabethan mansions. An earlier house on the site with remains of St Michaels Priory, incorporated in the present house, came into the possession of Richard Cecil between 1508 and 1528. Richard Cecil's son William Cecil Lord Burghley built the mansion. Built of Barnack stone. The hall with double hammer beam roof and the vaulted kitchen are the earliest parts and form the east side. The rest of the house is built around the other 3 sides of a rectangular courtyard. Three storeys, at the corners 3 storey and attic square towers with octagonal turrets with ogee cupolas. (Listed Building Report)

Burghley House was built by William Cecil, Lord Burghley, Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I. It was begun about 1556 and completed
in 1587, although work stopped between 1564 and 1577. It comprises four wings of three storeys around an open court and is built of Barnack rag-stone. It is built on the site of an earlier house of early 16th century date which occupied what is now the east side of the inner court and "no doubt some of its walls still remain incorporated in the present building" (PastScape ref. VCH)

Burghley clothes its architectural ancestry in castle design beneath an impressive veneer of classical detailing: its battlements dissolve into rich ornament (Goodall, p. 458)

Goodall's definition of 'castle' is, perhaps, somewhat broader than many people would be happy with. Included in Gatehouse as a fortified manor house where fortified is used to mean a style of architecture owing something to military considerations although at Burghley these debts are expressed in stylised symbolic ways.
NB. The house staddles the boundary between the parishes of Barnack and St Martins Without. In is listed as in St Martin's Without although the greater part of the house is in Barnack, most of the park is in St Martin's Without CP. It is very close to the Lincolnshire county boundary and the town of Stamford, Linconshire and is sometimes recorded as in that county or as by that town.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:01

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