The importance of the iconic Pantheon at Stourhead

A view of the Pantheon at Stourhead
The Pantheon is a focal point drawing the eye from across the lake Joe Ashman

In 2014 the Pantheon at Stourhead was in urgent need of repair. It was a lengthy and expensive task, so why were we making it a priority? Because, as we explain here, the building is so important to the landscape and history of Stourhead.

The building

Famous architect Henry Flitcroft was commissioned to design the Pantheon. In 1753 local mason William Privett started to build it using Chilmark limestone with a brick and timber-supported dome.

The inspiration

Modelled on the Pantheon in Rome, it was originally called the Temple of Hercules as it was home to a statue of Hercules created by Rysbrack. It was renamed the Pantheon when statues including Diana, Flora, Isis and St Susanna were added in the 1760s.

A status symbol

Stourhead was Henry the Magnificent's country house and he spent 20 years and £20,000 creating the garden which showed his social status and wealth.

Magnificent and iconic

The Pantheon can be viewed from across the lake and is iconic to this world-famous landscape garden. It was used by the Hoare family for relaxation and as a place to entertain guests. In 1762 Horace Walpole said that the Pantheon had few rivals ‘in magnificence, taste and beauty’.

Previous restoration

The National Trust has looked after Stourhead since 1947. The last time work was carried out on the Pantheon was in the 1980s when we conserved the dome and interior, but the portico was left untouched.

Essential repairs and conservation

In early 2014 we started work on restoring the Pantheon to its former glory which involved building a temporary roof above the portico to keep the weather out and allow removal, replacement or repair of timber and roofing materials. This helped us to ensure that the iconic Pantheon will be around for the next 200 years. Without funding from SITA Trust this work would not have been possible.
We are currrently fundraisng to save other structures in the garden and around the estate. If you would like to get involved please donate to help us save Stourhead.