Burton Agnes Hall is a country house located near Bridlington in the East Riding. Dating from the Elizabethan period, it offers a quintessentially English architecture, with an alternance of bricks and freestone, and its wide windows. It is probably one of the most beautiful houses in Yorkshire, and definitely one of the most interesting to visit.
Burton Agnes Hall is located in the village of Burton Agnes, between Driffield and Bridlington, at around 6 mi from each town. The closest train stations are located in these two towns; Burton Agnes is served by buses, including the 121 linking Hull to Scarborough via Driffield and Bridlington.
Admission to the hall and gardens is at £11.00 at full price. The grounds can be partially or totally closed on winter (see the website for more information).
The estate first belong to the Stuteville family, who came from Normandy and followed William the Conqueror when he invaded England. Later, through marriages and inheritance, Burton Agnes passed to other families, such as the Griffiths and Boyntons. It remains a private property, held by the heirs of these families.
The interior of the hall can be visited without a guide, and visitors have access to a large part of the building, from the ground floor to the second floor. It is possible to see the great hall, several drawing rooms, the dining room, bedrooms, and a big exhibition room where most of the owners’ collection of paintings is displayed. This collection is one of the largest in Yorkshire, and it is quite incredible. It comprises works by some of the most celebrated French masters, such as Gauguin, Renoir, Corot, Matisse, Boudin, Courbet and Derain.
The rooms display the successive styles of English architecture, from Elizabethan times to contemporary trends. There is also a Chinese room. Several rooms display a typical Victorian decoration. The whole house has nothing of the usual frozen aspect of such places; many rooms are decorated with magnificent orchids.
The grounds are as splendid as the house. There is a water basin, a wood, a real labyrinth in which even grown-ups can get lost, a walled garden with all sorts of plants and flowers, a greenhouse, and wonderful topiary.
Burton Agnes Hall was built to replace an older manor, which dates from the 12th century and still stands next to the hall. It is open to visitors, although it is managed by English Heritage rather than by the private owners of the hall. Inside, visitors can explore the ground floor and first floor. Admission is included in the entrance ticket to the hall.
Just outside the estate, the small church of Burton Agnes is not to be missed. It contains the tombs of the Griffith family, which held the place in the late Middle Ages. The two most triking tombs are one of the 15th century, with the lady and knight lying next to each other, and a 17th-century massive monument, covered with macabre symbols reminiscing Tudor times (skulls, bones, coffins).
4 mi north of Burton Agnes, the village of Rudston boasts the tallest standing stone in the UK. Called Rudston Monolith, it is 25 feet tall, and it can be found in the graveyard around the church. It dates from the Neolithic or Bronze Age, and the stone seems to come from a seam located almost 10 mi from there. It may have been brought to Rudston either by men or by the movement of a glacier in Prehistoric times. Another standing stone, which is much smaller, can also be seen in the churchyard, as well as the remains of Roman sarcophagi which were found in the surroundings.
Around Burton Agnes Hall: