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Located in North Yorkshire, Castle Howard was built upon by many generations of the Howard family line. Planning for construction began in 1699 when the 3rd Earl of Carlisle Charles Howard, Lord William Howard’s great grandson, had the idea of building a large estate to praise the grandiose of the family heritage. With the help of his friends, John Vanbrugh and Nicholas Hawksmoor; Castle Howard was in the beginning stages.
The Howard family inherited the large sum of money from their closest ancestor, Lord William Howard. The Howard family was wealthy but not enough to build such an honorable mansion, such as the Castle Howard. Through the marriage of Lord William Howard and Lady Elizabeth Dacre, the Howard family inherited more wealth and influence through this union. Lady Elizabeth Dacre was actually Lord William Howard’s stepsister and he was married at the age of nine to ensure that the inheritance of both families would be conjoined.
While it might have only taken 10 years to build the majority of Castle Howard, over 100 years of influence had shaped the castle to be the way it is today. As the castle passed through generations of Howards, the Howard’s taste in design seemed to evolve over the years. In 1738, the 3rd Earl of Carlisle died. After that son in law Sir Thomas Robinson helped finish the estate. While the 3rd Earl of Carlisle had a more conservative taste and Sir Thomas Robinson, a more lively taste; the design of Castle Howard came together a little unconnectedly.
The generation following the 3rd Earl, the 4th Earl of Carlisle Henry Howard married Isabella Byron after his first wife, Frances Spencer, passed away. The role they played into the legacy of Castle Howard is one of collection and organization. The role that the 4th Earl is known for is collecting antique sculptures which many of them are located in the estate today. Isabella’s contributions however were some of note taking and gardening. Isabella was known to be a hard worker who loved to use her hands. She was a note taker that that enjoyed recording the spending of the estate. Along with this, she enjoyed gardening and growing fruits and vegetables out in the wall garden. This hobby complimented her love for cooking and writing down recipes.
The 5th Earl of Carlisle, son of Isabella Byron, took on many of the same characteristics of both his mother and father. He valued the fine arts and also enjoyed taking notes. He traveled and returned with many pieces of Italian art. And as the continuation of generations continued, many of the Earls shared the same love of art. Many generations of traveling and purchasing artwork is displayed throughout Castle Howard. Temple of the Four Winds is one of the most prominent displays of artwork that was influenced by the travels of the 4th Earl.
A tragedy that struck Castle Howard was the Great Fire of 1940 that started as a chimney fire then crept its way to the front of the castle. The greatest loss of this fire was the dome. The reconstruction of this dome took over 20 years. George Howard who was Baron of Henderskelfe decided to recreate this dome. It was a large task considering he also had the desire to have Pelligrini’s masterpiece recreated with a horse and chariot painted in the dome.
After the fire, George Howard and his wife decided to open Castle Howard to the public. Now his son’s Simon and Nicholas Howard are the heirs of the estate. They take part in managing the finances and tours and upkeep of the land. Their role in the estate make it possible for the public to still travel in and out of such a beautiful piece of heritage.