Harlaxton Manor

From The Greville Memoirs

January 4 1838

“To-day we went to see the house Mr. Gregory is building, five miles from here. He is a gentleman of about 12,000 pounds. a year, who has a fancy to build a magnificent house in the Elizabethan style, and he is now in the middle of his work, all the shell being finished except one wing. Nothing can be more perfect than it is, both as to the architecture and the ornaments; but it stands on the slope of a hill upon a deep clay soil, with no park around it, very little wood, and scarcely any fine trees. Many years ago, when he first conceived this design, he began to amass money and lived for no other object. He travelled into all parts of Europe collecting objects of curiosity, useful or ornamental, for his projected palace, and he did not begin to build until he had accumulated money enough to complete his design. The grandeur of it is such, and such the tardiness of its progress, that it is about as much as he will do to live till its completion; and as he is not married, has no children, and dislikes the heir on whom his property is entailed, it is the means and not the end to which he looks for gratification. He says that it is his amusement, as hunting or shooting or feasting may be the objects of other people; and as the pursuit leads him into all parts of the world, and to mix with every variety of nation and character, besides engendering tastes pregnant with instruction and curious research, it is not irrational, although he should never inhabit his house, and may be toiling and saving for the benefit of persons he cares nothing about. The cottages round Harlaxton are worth seeing. It has been his fancy to build a whole village in all sorts of strange fantastic styles. There are Dutch and Swiss cottages, every variety of old English, and heaps of nondescript things, which appear only to have been built for variety’s sake. The effect is extremely pretty. Close to the village is an old manor house, the most perfect specimen I ever saw of such a building, the habitation of an English country gentleman of former times, and there were a buff jerkin and a pair of jack boots hanging up in the hall, which the stout old Cavalier of the seventeenth century (and one feels sure that the owner of that house was a Cavalier) had very likely worn at Marston Moor or Naseby.”

Delignes Gregory of Harlaxton Manor
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