The Survival of Halswell

Amidst the Loss of England’s Country Houses

Halswell’s Baroque north range after the fire of 1923. The interiors were immediately restored precisely as they had been, while further upgrades were carried out throughout the whole house, a rare restoration in a century of mass country house destruction.

Halswell’s Baroque north range after the fire of 1923. The interiors were immediately restored precisely as they had been, while further upgrades were carried out throughout the whole house, a rare restoration in a century of mass country house destruction.

Matthew Beckett, in his excellent online catalogue of lost country houses, has compiled a tally of the great estates that have been lost in the last century in England alone, it stands at a staggering 1,935 lost houses. The numbers destroyed in Ireland, Wales and Scotland takes yet more vibrancy from the heritage and cultural life of the home nations. Great houses lost in Somerset alone include the following:

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Halswell’s Lost Orangery

and a history of Orangeries in the Country House. 

The Orangery at Halswell existed from at least 1756, the date of the earliest map of Halswell known to exist. It appears to have still been standing in 1956 when the Ordnance Survey map of that date still shows the building.  The exact dates of its construction and demolition are otherwise uncertain.

1898 estaate

Halswell from the South Meadow, with the agricultural buildings in the foreground, the Dovecote and Tudor Manor in the centre ground, the Baroque North Wing in the distance and the Orangery to the right.

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