The massive red-brick facades of Beningbrough Hall are set on a rise above the River Ouse on the flat plain of York.
In the 16th century the Beningbrough estate passed to John Bourchier, the bastard son of Lord Berners and the estate then descended by inheritance until 1917.
At the time of the Civil War Sir John Bourchier proved one of the King's most implacable enemies and in 1649 was amongst those who passed a sentence of death on Charles I. The silver seal he used on the King's death warrant is preserved at Beningbrough.
Sir John died soon after the Restoration and so escaped retribution.
His heirs were re-established in their estates and it was Sir John's grandson, another John Bourchier, who completed the present house in 1716.
The late Elizabethan house that once stood on the site made room for the new hall.
However, the panelling from the old house was re-used in some of the top floor bedrooms. The workmanship and materials used throughout the house were of the highest quality. Its exterior and interior layouts are largely original and intact.
The construction was supervised by William Thornton, a local carpenter architect, but some exterior features have been credited to the architect, Thomas Archer.
The tall rectangular building has two storeys with an attic floor and basement and is linked by screen walls to pavilions, crowned with cupolas, on either side.
The only classical details are on the porches of the two facades. Instead the house has many baroque features which decorate the otherwise plain exterior. A continuous frieze supports the roof. In the frieze are set the tiny attic casements.
The outstanding features of the interior are the two-storey hall and great staircase.
The hall has round-headed doorways with mouldings and a fine coved ceiling. The stair treads are seven feet wide and the wooden balustrade is carved to simulate the wrought iron-work of Tijou.
Elsewhere in the house the same craftsmanship is echoed in the carving of the cornices, overdoors and overmantels.
The carving in the state bedroom, with its William and Mary bed, would do credit to the famous wood carver Grinling Gibbons. Beningbrough has a central corridor which runs the length of the house on both floors.
Today Beningbrough Hall is in the care of the National Trust.
Although it has none of its original contents, the Trust has furnished it in period style.
Beningbrough Hall reflects the formality of early 18th century life in its state rooms for important guests and in the long saloon where family gatherings and balls were held.
The house also had intimate closets where honoured guests could receive their friends and relax in private.
The house is the home for an exhibition of 17th and 18th century paintings from the National Portrait Gallery placed here in 1978.
There are 375 acres of wooded park.
Across the yard, opposite the 19th century laundry, is a door leading to the garden that spreads along the south side of the house
Looking south over the ha-ha, the view over the water meadows gives a feeling of the 18th century landscaped park that once surrounded Beningbrough Hall. The walled garden has been restored and there is a children's playground.