Cottesbrooke Hall is a magnificent Queen Ann house set in beautiful gardens, reputed to be the original of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park.
The red-brick house was built in 1703- 3 for Sir John Langham, the grandson of a wealthy London merchant. The architect was probably Francis Smith of Warwick, who worked on nearby Stanford Hall with his brother, William.
The rectangular main block consists of two storeys over a basemen and the building is embellished with Composite pilasters and the roof is concealed behind a balustrade.
The south front has detached service pavilions joined to the house by curved walls which form an open courtyard. and creates a view out over the Italianate gardens towards the spire of the 7th century parish church at Brixworth in the far distance.
The exterior of the house is little since the early 18h century, but the interior and gardens have seen many alterations.
In the 18th century there was some internal redecoration and in the 1780s the architect, Robert Mitchell, was engaged to remodel most of the other interiors in Adamesque style. This included adding bow windows to the rooms of the north front. Mitchell also created the stone bridge in the newly-landscaped park.
The Langham family sold Cottesbrooke Hall in 1911, and in 1937 the property was acquired by Sir Reginald MacDonald-Buchanan who commissioned Gerald Wellesley, later 7th Duke of Wellington, and Trenwith Wells to make further changes to the interior.
Sir Reginald created the Italianate garden in the south courtyard and to the west of the house, and his collection of 18th & 19th century English sporting and equestrian pictures is one of the finest in any country house in England.
Today the house is still in the hands of MacDonald-Buchanan family.
In the west wing, the corridor which links the main reception rooms was redecorated in 1937. The walls are hung with 18th century tapestries and pictures. Embroidered 18th century chairs line the walls and there are some pieces of 18th century English and Chinese export porcelain.
The Library has portraits, and in the adjacent Pine Room, the original entrance hall, is the only room to retain its original early-18th century wood panelling.
The finest interior in the house is the Staircase Hall, where the cantilevered stairs with an iron balustrade were created by William Marshall, a craftsman at Chatsworth. The delightful Rococo papier-mache decorations were added by John Woolston, who also worked at Althrop.
The north front has the Dining Room and Drawing Room, both altered in the 1780s, on either side of Entrance Hall.
The Dining Room contains some 18th century furniture and pictures, including work by George Stubbs and Ben Marshall. The Hall was the original Saloon and has a mid-18th century Rococo ceiling. The furniture includes late-17th century cabinents and late-18th century mirrors are on either side of the fireplace.
A passage, with a ceiling of saucer-domes, gives access to a staircase to the ground floor where more sporting pictures are displayed here.
Cottesbrooke Hall has a park with fine views over lakes to the surrounding countryside.
The elegant gardens around the house and the wild garden were developed in the 20th century, involving several notable designers, including Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe, who created the formal forecourt garden.
The immaculately kept gardens have many features, including two magnificent cedars that dominate the lawn and a long statue walk is flanked by a tapestry hedge and clipped yews. Other features are the Pool Garden, Dilemma Garden and a Dutch garden with sundials.