The stories from the people who have called Beningbrough home will be shared at various points throughout the hall and gardens – you can pick up a map from reception which shows you what to look out for including 300 tea-cups and tea trays on the stairs. Visit to find out why! Here’s a brief taster of some of Beningbrough’s history...
John Bourchier was only 16 when he inherited the Beningbrough estate, but he intended to leave his mark on the area. He decided to build this Italian Palace in Yorkshire, inspired by his Grand Tour of Europe .
In 1827, William Henry Dawnay inherited the Beningbrough estate, and later moved in with his wife Lydia. The Dawnays were an old Yorkshire family, and kept Beningbrough within the family until 1916, nearly a century. They made many interior changes, and also planted many trees, which we can fully appreciate today.
Lord and Lady Chesterfield managed to purchase Beningbrough for only £15,000 in 1916. After the break-up of the larger Beningbrough estate, they moved into the hall and furnished it with their luxury furniture, and completely redecorated. Lady Chesterfield remained there until her death in 1958.
As Beningbrough came to the National Trust in 1958, it was initially difficult to open as a visitor attraction, due to the lack of furnishings and funds! The 1970s however saw the start of a restoration project and a great deal of conservation work at Beningbrough. The partnership with the National Portrait Gallery was instrumental in the restoration, as they agreed to lend 120 18th Century portraits to bring the hall back to life....you can still see them to this day.
Things to see throughout the year
One of the new elements to look forward to is the Visiting Portraits Gallery ‘Director’s Choice’. To celebrate our 300th birthday, National Portrait Gallery Director Nicholas Cullinan has chosen four portraits of people who have shaped British history and culture. There will be one portrait for each century, and a fourth to represent the future. See the Brownlee brothers in this Olympic year and a John Singer Sargent portrait of Octavia Hill - one of the co-founders of the National Trust.