The façade of Longleat House
|Design and construction|
|Designations||Grade I listed building|
Longleat is an English stately home and the seat of the Marquesses of Bath. It is a leading and early example of the Elizabethan prodigy house. It is adjacent to the village of Horningsham and near the towns of Warminster and Westbury in Wiltshire and Frome in Somerset. It is noted for its Elizabethan country house, maze, landscaped parkland and safari park. The house is set in 1,000 acres (400 ha) of parkland landscaped by Capability Brown, with 4,000 acres (1,600 ha) of let farmland and 4,000 acres (1,600 ha) of woodland, which includes a Center Parcs holiday village. It was the first stately home to open to the public, and the Longleat estate includes the first safari park outside Africa.
The house was built by Sir John Thynne and was designed mainly by Robert Smythson, after Longleat Priory was destroyed by fire in 1567. It took 12 years to complete and is widely regarded as one of the finest examples of Elizabethan architecture in Britain. Longleat is occupied by Alexander Thynn, 7th Marquess of Bath, a direct descendant of the builder; however, the peer passed the management of the business to his son Viscount Weymouth early in 2010.
Longleat was previously an Augustinian priory. The name comes from "leat", an artificial waterway or channel such as that which supplies a watermill.
Sir Charles Appleton (1515–1580) purchased Longleat for Sir John Thynn in 1541 for £53. Appleton was a builder with experience gained from working on The Old School Baltonsborough, Bedwyn Broil and Somerset House. In April 1567 the original house caught fire and burnt down. A replacement house was effectively completed by 1580. Adrian Gaunt, Alan Maynard, Robert Smythson, the Earl of Hertford and Humpfrey Lovell all contributed to the new building but most of the design was Sir John's work. He was the first of the Thynne 'dynasty' – the family name was Thynn or Thynne in the 16th century, later consistently Thynne, but the present head of the family reverted to the spelling Thynn in the 1980s. Sir John Thynne's descendants were:
The house is still used as the private residence of the Thynn family. The formal gardens, pleasure grounds and parkland were listed Grade I on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens of special historic interest in 1987.
The tour of the house comprises:
Longleat Woods (grid reference 249.9 ha (618 acres) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest in Somerset, notified in 1972.) is a
Longleat Forest is also home to Center Parcs Longleat Forest, a holiday resort.
Longleat Safari Park opened in 1966 as the first drive-through safari park outside Africa, and is home to over 500 animals, including giraffe, monkeys, rhino, lion, tigers and wolves.Cheetahs are the most recent additions to the safari park with six having arrived in August 2011. Four lion cubs were born in September 2011, making a total of 10 cubs born that year, and Disney named two of them Simba and Nala as part of a co-promotion agreement for the upcoming Lion King 3D film.
Longleat House was built in the sixteenth century by Sir John Thynn on the site of a dissolved priory, and in 1949 became the first stately home in Britain to be opened to the public on a commercial basis.The house, park and attractions are open from mid-February to the start of November each year. The 9,800-acre estate, of which the park occupies 900 acres, has long been one of the top British tourist attractions, and has motivated other large landowners to generate income from their heritage in response to rising maintenance costs. Longleat leases 400 acres of land to Center Parcs for the operation of the Longleat Forest holiday village.
The Longleat hedge maze is considered the world's longest, with 1.69 miles of pathway. It is constructed using more than 16,000 English yews forming the walls surrounding a central tower and features six raised footbridges.
In June 2016 it was reported that the Glastonbury Festival is planned to move to Longleat from the summer of 2019.
Thomas Thynne, 1st Marquess of Bath, KG, PC, of Longleat in Wiltshire, was a British politician who held office under King George III. He served as Southern Secretary, Northern Secretary and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Between 1751 and 1789, he was known as the 3rd Viscount Weymouth. He is possibly best known for his role in the Falklands Crisis of 1770.
Alexander George Thynn, 7th Marquess of Bath, styled Viscount Weymouth between 1946 and 1992, is an English politician, artist, and author. He was ranked 359th in the Sunday Times Rich List 2009 with an estimated wealth of £157 million.
Marquess of Bath is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain. It was created in 1789 for Thomas Thynne, Viscount Weymouth. The Marquess holds the subsidiary titles Baron Thynne, of Warminster in the County of Wiltshire, and Viscount Weymouth, both created in 1682 in the Peerage of England. He is also a baronet in the Baronetage of England.
Henry Frederick Thynne, 6th Marquess of Bath, JP, styled Lord Henry Thynne until 1916 and Viscount Weymouth between 1916 and 1946, was a British aristocrat, landowner, and Conservative Party politician.
Thomas Henry Thynne, 5th Marquess of Bath, styled Viscount Weymouth until 1896, was a British landowner and Conservative politician. He held ministerial office as Under-Secretary of State for India in 1905 and Master of the Horse between 1922 and 1924. He was also involved in local politics and served as Chairman of Wiltshire County Council between 1906 and his death in 1946.
John Alexander Thynne, 4th Marquess of Bath, styled Viscount Weymouth between March and June 1837, was a British peer and a diplomat for almost sixty years.
Henry Frederick Thynne, 3rd Marquess of Bath, styled Lord Henry Thynne until January 1837 and Viscount Weymouth between January and March 1837, was a British naval commander and politician.
Thomas Thynne, 2nd Marquess of Bath KG, styled Viscount Weymouth from 1789 until 1796, was a British peer.
Ceawlin Henry Laszlo Thynn, Viscount Weymouth is a British businessman and the second child of Alexander Thynn, 7th Marquess of Bath, and his wife, Anna Gyarmathy. He is involved in a number of companies in the leisure, tourism, real estate and financial services sectors.
Lord Henry Frederick Thynne PC, DL was a British Conservative politician. He served under Benjamin Disraeli as Treasurer of the Household between 1875 and 1880.
Thomas Thynne, 1st Viscount Weymouth was a British peer in the peerage of England.
Sir John Thynne was the steward to Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset and a member of parliament. He was the builder of Longleat House and his descendants became Marquesses of Bath.
Henry Frederick Carteret, 1st Baron Carteret PC (1735–1826), of Haynes, Bedfordshire, was Member of Parliament for Staffordshire (1757–1761), for Weobley in Herefordshire (1761–1770) and was Master of the Household to King George III 1768–1771. He was hereditary Bailiff of Jersey 1776–1826.
Thomas Thynne, 2nd Viscount Weymouth of Longleat House in Wiltshire was an English peer, descended from Sir John Thynne (c.1515-1580) builder of Longleat.
John Thynne, 3rd Baron Carteret PC, known as Lord John Thynne between 1789 and 1838, was a British peer and politician.
George Thynne, 2nd Baron Carteret PC, styled Lord George Thynne between 1789 and 1826, was a British Tory politician.
Sir James Thynne was an English landowner and politician who sat in the House of Commons in two periods between 1640 and 1670.
Sir Thomas Thynne, of Longleat, Wiltshire, was an English landowner and politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1601 and 1629.
Sir Thomas Thynne was an English lawyer and politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1660.
Sir John Thynne of Longleat House, Wiltshire, was an English landowner and Member of Parliament.