THE launch of three recently restored, historic country houses in the North of England highlights the wealth and power of the landowners that built them. Although shorn of the grand estates of which they were once the beating heart, all three retain their original garden settings surrounded by glorious unspoilt countryside.
For sale through Knight Frank’s country department (020–7861 1114) and Blenkin & Co in York (01904 671672) at a guide price of £3.75 million, Georgian, Grade II*-listed Kirkby Hall stands in 20 acres of spectacular gardens, paddocks and woodland, a mile to the north of Kirkby Fleetham village, four miles from Bedale and 10 miles from the road and rail hub of Northallerton, in the picturesque Hambleton district of north Yorkshire.
John Aislabie, MP for Ripon and Chancellor of the Exchequer until his leading role in the South Sea Bubble scandal led to his disbarment from public office for life, was still a wealthy man when, in 1721, he retired to his Studley Royal estate near Ripon, where he continued to wield considerable local influence. At about the same time, he bought the Kirkby Fleetham estate for his son, William, who was to serve as MP for Ripon for the next 60 years.
Following his father’s death in 1742, William inherited the Studley Royal estate and, in the late 1760s, purchased the next-door Fountains Abbey estate, where he extended the formal gardens laid down by his father to create England’s most important 18thcentury water garden, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site owned by the National Trust.
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