Discover the Mausoleum at Blickling Estate
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 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 atmospheric extract is taken from Guide to Cromer (Edmund Bartell, 1806) and describes one of Norfolk's most iconic parkland structures. The Mausoleum stands 45 feet tall on the edge of Blickling’s Great Wood.
After John Hobart, the 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire’s death in 1793, his daughter had the Mausoleum built to commemorate him. His remains are entombed inside, along with his wives, Mary Anne and Caroline.
The pyramid is made of 190,000 Portland stone blocks, formed on the estate by builder Henry Wood. The pyramid originally gleamed white and despite over two centuries of weathering, can still be clearly seen from the south end of the lake.
The giver makes the gift precious
From his two marriages, the 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire had three sons, all of whom died in infancy, and four surviving daughters. When he died, his 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 Caroline 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”. Sadly, she had no children herself, 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.
On the back of the Mausoleum, above the memorial stone the symbol of the Hobart family was carved. The bull symbol is used extensively in the stonework around the façade of Blickling Hall, as the Hobarts were keen to publicise that on the same site, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn once stood; emphasising their royal connection.
A ton of work to be done
The doors of the Mausoleum are estimated to weigh approximately 500kg each and with over two centuries of weathering, the stone structure is always in need of care and restoration. The hinges, in particular, require a skilled conservation project to restore the 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."