History of the Blickling estate

A very old black and white photograph of the long gallery

This year we're exploring the intriguing origins of Blickling's eighteenth century long gallery library.

The story of the library

This year we're all about books, as we are celebrating the story of the Blickling's eighteenth century long gallery library. The impressive collection is made up of 123 feet of books on each side and contains over 12,000 volumes. 

Most of these books first arrived in the 1740s, when Sir John Hobart, the first Earl of Buckinghamshire resided at Blickling Estate.

The books however, originally belonged to Sir Richard Ellys, a wealthy baronet and landowner. His own family seat was Nocton Hall, near Lincoln, but he also owned a country retreat at Ealing and a London mansion. With such wealth, you can imagine the elaborate quality of the books that were delivered to the property from Ellys' collection.

This year Blickling are in the midst of an exciting, ongoing project to not only catalogue every volume but to also restore many of the books to their former glory. Visit us to observe this incredible conservation in progress.

Influential Owners

The Blickling Estate, and its owners, were very influential in their time. It was Lord Lothian who persuaded Churchill to write the historic letter to Roosevelt which for the first time gave the Americans an unequivocal statement of Britain's depleted military strength.
 
At a daringly timed conference in Washington (1940), Lothian delivered a similar message to the American public which was to be his last during his final visit to America.  Watch his speech here.
 
Find out more about Philip Kerr, 11th Marquess of Lothian
 

Those who once owned Blickling

The manor of Blickling is recorded in the Domesday Book. Its owners have included Sir John Fastolf and Geoffrey Boleyn, grandfather of Anne Boleyn, the ill-fated wife of Henry VIII.
 
The present red-brick mansion was built 1616-24 by Robert Lyminge (the architect of Hatfield) for Sir Henry Hobart, 1st Baronet, Lord Chief Justice to James I.
 
Little is known about the long tenure of Lady Caroline Suffield and her husband. Despite inheriting Blickling in 1793, it wasn't until the late 1820s that she made her mark on the house.