Allerton Park, a vast Victorian Gothic house. The Allerton estate belonged to the Mauleverer family from the time of the Norman Conquest and the nearby church of St Martin contains several tomb-monuments to them. When Richard Mauleverer died without an heir in 1692, Allerton passed to his wife, who left the estate to Richard Arundell, her son by her second marriage.
Arundell rebuilt the house in the 1740s and in 1745 remodelled the church in a 'Norman Revival' style. The mid-18th century interior of the church remains unaltered to this day.
Following hiss death in 1758, Allerton passed to Viscount Galway and in 1786 his son sold the estate to Frederick Augustus, the second son of George III. The Prince later became known as the 'Grand Old Duke of York' and the hill referred to in the nursery rhyme is said to be at Allerton.
Prince Frederick rebuilt the house to designs by Henry Holland, but sold the estate shortly afterwards In 1789. Allerton changed hands again in 1805 when it was purchased by the 17th Baron Stourton, the premier baron in England.
The Catholic peer added a chapel in Gothic style. However, in 1843 his son demolished the Georgian house and engaged George Martin, to build the present house in a Tudor-Gothic style. In 1856 work came to a halt and there was not enough money to complete all the interiors.
The house was used by the Canadian Royal Air Force during World War II and in 1965, after the death of the 22nd Baron Stourton, the family ceased to live at Allerton.
The contents were sold off and the prospects for the house was bleak until 1983, when it was rescued by Dr Gerald Rolph, an American businessman.
He purchased the house and part of the park and set about renovating the building to the highest standards, filling the house with furniture and pictures of appropriate scale and splendour.
A short drive leads past a late-18th century stable-block before the visitor is confronted with the Tudor-Gothic Victorian building.
The main block is built of dark coloured stone, with a high tower rising above the entrance porch. The lower brick range to the right houses the Chapel of 1805 and behind are the lower buildings of the service courtyard, dating from the 18th century.
The interior of Allerton was designed on a vast scale, with late-Gothic decoration in the style of Pugin's work on the Palace of Westminster. The early-Victorian craftmanship and the recent restoration work are of the highest quality.
The galleried Great Hall is almost 80ft high and one of the highest baronial halls in England. This room is lit from a huge lantern which rises from the centre of the main block. On the walls are full-length portraits including works by Michael Dahl and William Dobson.
The principal staircase opens off the Great Hall, under another vaulted ceiling hung with portraits of the Mowbray and Stourton families.
The Drawing Room has a magnificent plaster ceiling. On the walls are portraits by Michael Dahl and Charles Jervas and vast Rococo mirrors, made for Meton Constable in Norfolk.
The Ballroom, in the west of the house, was left with bare masonry by Lord Mowbray and Stourton, but Dr Rolph has decorated it with a plaster vaulted ceiling.
The Library and Dining Room occupy the north side of the Hall.
The Library has its original rosewood book cases. The wallpaper was based on one of Pugin's designs for the Houses of Parliament and the ceiling has recently been repainted in the original colours.
The Dining Room is panelled and has stained glass windows with the arms of the Mowbray and Stourton families. On the huge table, original to the house, are candelabra dating from 1848.
On the entrance-side of the house are the Billiard Room, the Music Room ( houses a collection of late-19th and early-20th century automatic musical instruments) and the Morning Room.
A large garage in the service courtyard houses a collection of luxury veteran and vintage cars.
The huge Kitchen Garden is set to one side, surrounded by tall red brick walls.
On a knoll to the west of the house is the 'Temple of Victory', a fine octagonal building of Palladian design.