HENDERSKELFE, in the wapentake and parish of Bulmer; 1¾ miles NE. of Bulmer, 7 miles WSW. of Malton, containing a population of 159 souls.
Castle Howard, the seat of the most noble Frederick Earl of Carlisle, is situated in this township. This magnificent mansion was built between the years 1722 and 1731, from a design of Sir John Vanbrugh, in the same style as Blenheim House, in Oxfordshire, by the Right Hon. Charles Howard, the third Earl of Carlisle, on the site of the old castle of Henderskelfe, which was destroyed by an accidental fire. Castle Howard has a longer line of front than Blenheim House, and its exterior is extremely magnificent, the state apartments are particularly distinguished for grandeur of appearance; and the princely collection of paintings, statues, busts, &c. with which this mansion as enriched afford a high gratification to the admirers of the line arts, whilst the liberality of the noble proprietor, in admitting the public to view this elegant repository, entitles him to grateful applause. The hall is 35 feet square, and 60 feet high, terminating at the top in a spacious dome, 100 feet high, and adorned with columns of the Corinthian and Composite order. The walls are painted by Peligrini with the history of Phaeton, and the room is ornamented with several antique statues and busts. To describe all the different rooms in this princely mansion. together with the superb paintings, statues, &c. which it contains, would fill a volume. The museum, 24 feet square, and the antique gallery, 160 feet by 20, contain a vast assemblage of curiosities. In the south-west corner of the museum is a cylindrical altar, about four feet and a half high, which anciently stood in the temple of Delphi, brought from Italy, and was presented to the Lord of Castle Howard by the immortal Nelson. The taste displayed in the pleasure grounds corresponds with the magnificence of the house. The park is beautiful and extensive; and the present Earl of Carlisle has greatly improved the scenery by the addition of a fine sheet of water, at an appropriate distance from the south front. A beautiful intermixture of wood and lawn delights the eye; and the prospects are everywhere rich and full of pleasing variety. The ornamental buildings in the park are in a style of grandeur. At the entrance on the south, is an elegant inn, for the accommodation of strangers. In the centre of beautiful avenues, bordered on each side with lofty trees, and crossed at right angles, stands a stately quadrangular obelisk, 100 feet in height, erected in the year 1714, to commemorate the victories of John Duke of Marlborough, and to fix the date of the erection of Castle Howard. On the opposite side of the obelisk, facing the western avenue is inscribed
If to perfection these plantations rise,
If they agreeably my heirs surprise,
This faithful pillar will their age declare,
As long as time these characters shall spare.
Nearly opposite to the grand entrance, in the north front of the house, an elegant monument commemorates the victories of Lord Nelson. Those glorious names, Aboukir, Copenhagen, and Trafalgar, inscribed on three of its sides, in large gold characters, call to remembrance the achievements of the naval hero, and testify the patriotism of the noble proprietor of this mansion. About half a mile to the eastward of the house is an Ionic temple, with four porticos and a beautiful interior. The cornices or the door-cases are supported by Ionic columns of black and yellow marble; and in the corners of the room are pilasters. In niches over the doors are busts of Vespasian, Faustina, Trajan, and Sabina. -The floor is disposed in compartments of antique marble of various colours, and the room is crowned with a dome, splendidly gilt. About a quarter of a mile farther, and nearly in the same direction, stands the Mausoleum, a circular building, above 50 feet diameter, and surrounded with a handsome colonnade of Done pillars. Over the vault is an elegant circular chapel; the cornice from which the dome rises, is supported by eight Corinthian columns; and the ornamental carvings are light and pleasing. The height of the structure is 90 feet, that of the inside is 68; this is in different compartments inlaid with marble.
[Description(s) edited mainly from various 19th century sources by Colin Hinson. ©2010]