Darnley Mausoleum and South Lodge Barn
Usually open on the first Sunday of the month from April - September, South Lodge Barn is the information centre for the Mausoleum. As well as opening on the first Sunday, we also try to open the Mausoleum one day during the week.
South Lodge Barn
Whether you start your journey here at South Lodge, or come here after visiting the Mausoleum, you can enjoy a cuppa and discover more about the wood pasture and mausoleum. The following video is just an extract of the full length video you can see, as well as information on walks around the area.
Wander up William's Hill, the highest point of the site, to see the Mausoleum looking like a grand classical temple. Intended to be the last resting place of the Darnley family, the unconsecrated mausoleum designed by Wyatt became a 'folly' in Humphry Repton's designed landscape.
The square building is dominated by a massive stone pyramid. Around the corners, you can see pairs of Doric columns projecting out, which are surmounted by sarcophagi.
The exterior features are all symbols of death. The crossed upside down torches are symbols of Thanatos, the Greek personification of Death - signifying the extinguishing of life. The structure itself, combining the pyramid, the square and the circle is a classical reference to eternity.
Intended as a place for prayers and remembrance, you can see the altarpiece has the Lord's Prayer and Creed carved into its marble slab. The lunettes (half-moon windows) on each side are filled with stained glass and on a sunny day, you can see the coloured light reflecting down onto the polished stone and marble.
The columns supporting the square coffered dome are cased with Brocatello marble from Spain. The quarry was re-opened to provide the marble for the restoration, and only one piece of stone remains.
(please note: the chapel is having essential maintenance and is under scaffolding)
When you have descended into the crypt, you will see 32 coffin shelves, known as loculi, around the outside - 24 of these are large recesses, but 8 are smaller, possibly intended for children. The stone coffin of the 3rd Earl was probably intended to be placed on the black Purbeck marble table above the alcove, however his 'temporary' resting place in 1781 was in Cobham church, where he remains to this day.
If you stand in the centre under the decorative domed ceiling and talk normally, you can hear your voice amplified. This is a marvel of architectural engineering - it creates a parabolic reflector, which amplifies sound.
Cobham Hall (not National Trust)
The Darnley Mausoleum overlooks the park at Cobham Hall, the former seat of the Earls of Darnley. The Hall is just a few minutes drive from Cobham Wood, and is open to the public between 2pm and 5pm on selected dates. For details go to Cobham Hall