Discover the Mausoleum
The Mausoleum is one of Blickling’s most iconic landmarks. At over two centuries old, the pyramid structure stands boldly on the edge of ancient woodland, creating a unique and dramatic view across the sweeping parkland landscape.
" About a mile from the house stands the mausoleum, a free-stone building in the form of a pyramid. Its situation is very happily chosen in the midst of a large and venerable wood, whose solitude appears only to be broken by the prying curiosity of the stranger, or the footsteps of the nimble deer."
This wonderfully atmospheric excerpt is taken from Edmund Bartell’s Guide to Cromer, 1806 and describes one of Blickling’s most iconic parkland structures. The Mausoleum stands 45ft tall on the edge of Blickling’s Great Wood. The pyramid is made of 190,000 Portland stone blocks, themselves formed on the estate by builder Henry Wood. The pyramid gleamed white and, despite over two centuries of weathering, can still be clearly seen from the end of the tree-lined avenue at the south end of the lake. Interred within are the remains of the 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire John Hobart and his first and second wives, Mary Anne and Caroline. After the 2nd Earl’s death in 1793, his daughter had the Mausoleum built to commemorate him.
The giver makes the gift precious
The 2nd Earl had four daughters, and three sons all of whom died in infancy, by his two wives. When he died the title passed to his half-brother, but the Earl's estate was left to his second daughter from his first marriage, Lady Caroline Suffield. Lady Suffield commissioned architect Joseph Bonomi to design the Mausoleum based on the tomb of Cestius in Rome as a memorial to her father after his death. The Latin inscription above the door translates as “the giver makes the gift precious”. Caroline had no children despite a long and happy marriage to Lord Suffield of Gunton Park, so when she died the estate went to her elder sister who was married to the Marquis of Lothian.
A visit around the back of the Mausoleum reveals another nod to proud family connections. Atop the memorial stone there is carved the Hobart family symbol – the bull. The bull symbol is used extensively in the stonework around the façade of Blickling Hall; the Hobarts were keen to publicise that on the foundations of their current home sat the childhood home of Anne Boleyn (or ‘Bullen’, an old spelling), and exploited their royal connection.
A ton of work to be done
Did you know that the doors of the Mausoleum are estimated to weigh approximately 500kg each? With over two centuries of weathering, the Mausoleum is always in need of care and restoration, starting with these magnificent, heavy doors. Their hinges are part of the impressive stone structure and it will require a skilled conservation project to restore this striking, parkland landmark to its former glory.
" The arrangement is inadequate for doors as heavy as these, which should have at least three hinging points, ideally without a bottom pivot. A permanent repair would, at the very least, involve replacing the worn eye and pintle, which necessitates taking the doors down. It is my view that we should take a holistic approach to conserving the Mausoleum; the door repairs should be undertaken as part of a larger project to tackle all the conservation needs presented by this structure."