HAREWOOD HOUSE, (the seat of the Earl of Harewood) in the township and parish of Harewood, upper-division of Skyrack; 5 miles from Leeds and Harrogate.
This magnificent and justly admired Mansion was built by the late Mr. John Muschramp of Harewood, under the direction of Mr. Adams of London, and Mr. Carr of York. The foundation was laid in March, 1759, by the late Lord Harewood. It is situated at the top of a hill, fronting to the south, and commanding "a rich home view, over fields and woods, with one slight exception, nearly all his own." This, says Whitaker's Loidis and Elmete, "is a fortunate place, blessed with much natural beauty and fertility, and in the compass of a country village, with nearly an entire though dismantled castle, a modern palace surrounded by a wide extent of pleasure grounds and plantations, and a parish church filled with unmutilated sculptures of the 14th and 15th centuries." The whole length of the building is 248 feet 6 inches, and the width 84 feet, consisting of a centre and two wings, displaying all the richness of Corinthian Architecture. The apartments are numerous and large, and finished in the first style of elegance, and with great taste. The ceilings are, many of them, richly ornamented from designs of Rebecci and others, the Paintings, Busts, &c. by the first masters, are extremely numerous; and the whole of this princely mansion is fitted up with so much costly elegance, yet usefulness evidently united, that no elaborate description can do it justice.
The taste displayed in the pleasure grounds and gardens, corresponds with the magnificence of the house; they comprise nearly 150 acres, laid out by Brown, at the expence of about £16,000.
The public must feel grateful to Lord Harewood, for his liberality shewn to visitors, by allowing them to view this magnificent mansion every Saturday, from eleven to four o'clock in the afternoon.
On the declivity of the hill, rising from the vale of Wharfe, stands the dilapidated Castle of Harewood, built soon after the conquest, and then, with the Manor, in possession of William de Meschines; and after passing through various families, we find it in the time of Edward III. in that of the Aldburghs. In the reign of Elizabeth, they were in the possession of the Gascoignes; and after that in the family of the Wentworths, by whom the castle and estate were sold to Sir John Cutler, of parsimonious memory. On a partition, this place with its dependencies, fell to the share of Cutler, * who sometimes resided at Gawthorpe, the Castle being then completely dismantled He let it to his only daughter Elizabeth wife of John Robarts, Earl of Radnor, with a remainder in failure of issue, to his relation, John Boulter, Esq. who took possession, on the decease of this countess in 1696. Of his trustees, this Manor was purchased about the year 1739, by Henry Lascelles, Esq. father of the first Lord Harewood, who spent the best part of a long life in improving and adorning a situation so peculiarly capable of both.
* Cutler saw tenants break, and houses fall;
For very want be could not build a wall.
His only daughter in a stranger's pow'r;
For very want he could not pay a dow'r.
A few grey hairs his reverend temples crown'd;
'Twas very want that sold them for two pound. Pope.
The family of the Lascelles is very ancient, and appears from a pedigree in Whitaker's Loidis and Elmete, to have descended from John de Lascelles, of Hinderskelfe, and who held lands in 1315, 9 Edward II.
On the 9th of July, 1790, Edwin Lascelles, the first Lord Harewood, was advanced to the peerage; and at his decease, 25th of January, 1795, was succeeded by Edward, the late Earl, who was created Earl of Harewood and Viscount Lascelles, by patent, dated September 7, 1812, and succeeded by his son Henry.
[Description(s) edited from various 19th century sources by Colin Hinson © 2013]