See also Belton Church of St Peter and St Paul
Belton House is a late 17th century home built in the Restoration style with a cupola. The façade is honey coloured. Construction began in 1685 under the direction of the owner Sir John Brownlow and took three years to complete. Sir John was High Sheriff of Lincolnshire and also a member of Parliament for Grantham. William III was a visitor to the mansion house.
Sir John’s successor (in 1697), Sir John Brownlow III, collected works of art, tapestries, and furniture. He remodelled the exterior in the Neo-classical style. In 1754 Sir John Cust inherited the estate. A portrait of him by Joshua Reynolds hangs in the house hall. His monument and that of other family members is in the grounds of Belton Church of St Peter and St Paul.
After Sir John Cust’s death changes were made by the architect James Wyatt to satisfy Cust’s son. However, much of that was swept away in 1844 by the 3rd Earl Brownlow who restored the 17th century feel of the house. There were royal connections when Edward, Prince of Wales, became friendly with Peregrine, the 5th baron’s son, inherited in the early 1900s. In 1983 the house and estate were given to the National Trust.
The house is set off by Lion gates and a turkey oak avenue of trees. In the grounds are formal gardens dating mostly from the early and late 19th century. Lakeside walks are another feature. The former 17th century gardens were located where a Dutch garden now exists.
Specimen trees are found west of the house. A sunken 19th century Italian garden has a central fountain pond with urns and yews around it. The orangery dates from 1820. Deer have been here for several centuries. Today fallow deer herd is enclosed in the 1000 acre park. An arched tower is located at the end of the eastern avenue.
There are 8 rooms open for visitors including a chapel. On view are Grinling Gibbons wood carvings, giltwood furniture, plaster ceilings, paintings, porcelain, silver, books, and tapestries collected over the past 300 years. There are many 17th and 18th century family portraits.
Tour of the House
Marble Hall: entrance hall has black and white marble floor; family portrait by Reynolds; limewood carvings on two other family portraits.
Saloon: dates from 18th century; panelled; limewood carving above fireplaces; giltwood mirrors; garden paintings; family portraits
Red Drawing Room: decoration is early 1800s; azure lapis lazuli cabinet is Italian 17th century; writing table; 19th century Abusson carpet.
Tyrconnel Room: painted floor with Brownlow coat of arms in center; silk walls; 18th century long case clock; Queen Anne mirror; family portraits.
Chapel Drawing Room: green marbling walls; family portrait; tapestry on wall; 17th century French Boulle desk.
Chapel: décor dates from 17th century; baroque plaster ceiling by Edward Goudge; panelling; wooden reredos; family gallery with wood carvings on the panelling
Blue Bedroom: state bed with blue silk hangings; frieze; early 1700s walnut bureau; English walnut and beechwood chairs.
Staircase Hall: plasterwork ceiling by Edward Goudge; family portraits; Japanese lacquer coffer.
Yellow Bedroom: decorated by James Wyatt; frieze and overmantle mirror; cream bed hangings; late 18th century Sevres porcelain.
Chinese Room: 18th century Chinese wallpaper; lacquer and ivory cabinets; painted mirror; Edward VIII stayed here on visits.
Queen’s Bedroom: named after Queen Adelaide, widow of William IV, who visited in 1844; grained and gilt oak bed with Queen’s monogram in silver embroidery on headboard; rococo fireplace and chairs.
Ante-library: once a dressing room; late 17th and 18th century oriental porcelain collection includes Japanese Imari ware.
Library: once a dining room; remodelled in 1778; barrel shaped ceiling with plasterwork; became a library in 1877; unusual exercise chair.
Boudoir: plasterwork ceiling; gilt overmantle mirror of 1875.
Windsor Bedroom: named after Edward VIII; decorated in 1960s; family portraits.
West Staircase: back stairs.
Ante-room and Study: picture collection on walls and family portraits.
Tapestry Room: set of early 1700s English tapestries made at Mortlake; 17th century plaster ceiling; early Louis XV commode; early 18th century giltwood chairs.
Breakfast Room: once the ante-library and then a dining room; family portraits; 18th century paintings.
Hondecoeter Room: remodelled in late 1800s to show off large canvases of 17th century Dutch artist.
Silver Museum: mid 18th century pieces among others.
Three miles north-east of Grantham, Lincolnshire; off the A607, turn east to village of Belton, follow the signs
Tel. 0 1476 566 116
Open: house and church, 2nd week March-end Oct, Wed-Sun, 12.30-5pm; garden/park/shop/restaurant, Jan-end Feb, daily, 10.30am-4pm; March-end Oct, daily, 9.30am-5.30pm; Nov-end Dec, daily, 9.30am-4pm; adventure playground, March-end Oct, daily, 9.30am-5.30pm
National Trust property; restaurant; shop; parking; restored boathouse; adventure playground; miniature railway; Bellmount Woods and tower access from separate car park
Photos and text © by Barbara Ballard. The National Trust did not allow indoor photos when we visited.
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