Listed as a Grade I country House in Northumberland, England Seaton Delaval Hall is located between Seaton Sluice and Seaton Delaval which was designed by one of the most famous renowned architect John Vanbrugh in English Baroque style of architecture.
Designed by Vanbrugh in 1718 for Admiral George Delaval, since its completion, it had an unfortunate History. Neither architect nor Patron was alive to see the beauty of design when it was completed.
In 1822, the Central bank was gutted in fire and ever since it has remained an empty shell of piece ever since and now it is owned by National Trust.
Seaton Delaval hall was owned by Delaval family since the time of Norman Conquest. The Estate was purchased by Admiral Delaval from Sir John Delaval who had made his fortune from capturing prize ships when he was working in Navy.
In 1718 Sir John Vanbrugh was called to modernise and enhance the existing mansion. As Vanbrugh was famous for some of his works at that time including Holkham Hall. Burlington House and Richmond House. Sir John Vanbrugh upon viewing his site felt that he could do nothing to modernise the mansion and advice to complete demolish the hall except the ancient chapel which is located near the mansion.
The advice was taken into consideration and the construction work completed in the year of 1728, two years after Admiral death. The new mansion became the last country house whose architecture and designs were designed by John Vanbrugh and is regarded as finest works of him.
The mansion was inherited by Admiral’s nephew Francis Blake Delaval and she moved there immediately.
In 1822, the central block of the mansion was gutted by fire which was caused due to chimneys of the south-east wing which was closest to the main house.
Restoration of the house was partially done in 1862 by architect John Dobson. The effects of the fire were clearly visible in the great hall even after the restoration.
Further restoration work started in the year of 1859 which includes replacement of windows of the central block. The House remain unoccupied for about 160 years and Edward Delaval Henry moved into west wing and remained there with his family until his death in 2007.
In September 2008, National Trust launched an appeal for £6.3m to bring hall and gardens into Trust’s Custody and the appeal was successful and the hall was opened to visitors on 1 May 2010.
Architecture and Layout
Built in English Baroque style of architecture which is based on the Palladian Style that was introduced into the UK by architect Inigo Jones. John Vanbrugh with his ideas evolved the style from more decorated and architecturally lighter continental baroque which was popular in some of the parts of Europe.
The center block portico, also known as corps de logis contains the state and principal rooms situated between two flanked wings. The wings had a center projection having three bays each crowned by a pediment. On either the sides of the central block are 7 bays of sash windows located above ground floor arcade.
The west wing was totally damaged during the fire but was restored to its original plan, the west wing is distinguished by a colonnade and boasted a lofty vaulted kitchen which is now a saloon. On the other side, the east wing of the mansion contains a sixty-foot chamber made of palatial design having stalls and mangers of stone fit.
There is a great open courtyard which is 180 feet long and is 152 feet broad between these two wings. The exterior of the mansion is a perfect example of English baroque style whereas the interiors of the rooms remain understored due to fire which was caused earlier in 1822.
There is a stone mausoleum about half a mile east of the hall that had once a majestic dome (now gone), retains a huge portico resting on monolithic columns. This mausoleum is surrounded from all the sides by a circular ha-ha which is a stone fetched ditch.
The lead roof which was made during the construction is now gone. On the east side of the garden wall, is a south facing orangery which was designed by architect Willam Etty which he built with the collaboration of John Vanbrugh.
Orangery has five glazed arches which are separated by Doric demi-columns. The statue at the front of the house is a lead figure of David, lightly poised above coaching form of Goliath.
The National Trust is planning to reopen Seaton Delaval Hall to the public and are seeking architect for the complete restoration of the Hall.