Essential Architecture-  Architecture in the Da Vinci Code United Kingdom

Burghley House


landscape Capability Brown


Peterborough, Cambridgeshire









Burghley House in 2004

Burghley House is a grand 16th-century country house near the town of Stamford, Lincolnshire, England. Its park was laid out by Capability Brown.

The Lincolnshire county boundary crosses between the town and the house which, in fact, is located in the ancient Soke of Peterborough, once regarded as part of Northamptonshire but now ceremonially part of Cambridgeshire, and is administered as part of the City of Peterborough.

Burghley was built for William Cecil, 1st Lord Burghley, who was Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I, between 1555 and 1587. It was subsequently the residence of his descendants, the Earls and Marquesses of Exeter, and is now owned by a charitable trust established by the family. The trust is administered by Lady Victoria Leatham, a daughter of the family and a well-known antiques expert and television personality.

Burghley House from Jones' Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen (1829).

The house is one of the principal examples of 16th-century English architecture and also has a suite of rooms remodelled in the baroque style. The main part of the House has 35 major rooms on the ground and first floors. There are more than 80 lesser rooms and numerous halls, corridors, bathrooms and service areas.

In the 17th century, the open loggias around the ground floor were enclosed. Although the House was built in the letter E in honour of Queen Elizabeth, it is now missing its north-west wing. During the period of the 9th Earl's ownership, and under the guidance of "Capability" Brown, the south front was raised to alter the roof line, and the north-west wing was demolished to allow better views of the new parkland.

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

The avenues in the park were all laid out by Capability Brown, paying due respect to existing plantings, some of which were from the 16th century or earlier. Brown also created the park's lake in 1775–80. He discovered a seam of waterproof "blue" clay on the grounds, and was able to enlarge the original 9 acre (36,000 m²) pond to the existing 26 acre (105,000 m²) lake. Its clever design gives the impression of looking at a meandering river. Brown also designed the Lion Bridge at a cost of 1,000 guineas (£1050) in 1778. Originally, Coade-stone lions were used as ornamentation but these perished, and the existing stone examples, made by local mason Herbert Gilbert, have been in place since 1844.

Burghley hosts the annual Burghley Horse Trials.