Country house. C16, c1630, altered between 1720 and 1727 with most alterations carried out between 1725 and 1726 and designed by Francis Smith of Warwick, east or garden front designed by William Smith in 1744, also with minor later alterations and some early C20 additions. Ashlar garden front and rubble stone with flush quoins to other elevations. Hipped graduated Westmorland slate roof with lead flashing and large rendered ridge stacks, also external stone stack to north elevation. Two storeys plus attics and half H-plan with seven bay garden elevation and six bay south elevation. Entrance front to south has a deeply recessed centre part, plain first floor band and plain parapets above a moulded cornice. Western bays have two glazing bar sashes in early C18 surrounds with raised fillet to the edge and a raised keystone, and eastern bays have similar window to east and C20 double glazed doors in similar surround to west. Recessed part to centre has been rendered and mostly glazed in with a conservatory in early C20. To either side there are three moulded doorcases with pulvinated friezes, raised corniced keystones and moulded cornices and to centre there is a Gibbs surround doorcase with pulvinated frieze and triangular pediment with central circle, flanked by glazing bar sashes, similar to those to western bays. Above there are ten similar sashes to those below, two to each of the advanced side bays, two to centre bay with two more to each side. Between the windows on the advanced bays and to either side of the well there are fine early C18 hopper heads decorated with the Coke achievement. Above again there are six hipped roof dormers with small paned casements. Garden front has a plain first floor band, moulded bracketed stone cornice with plain parapets above and three centre bays advanced. Central Gibbs surround doorcase with pulvinated frieze and triangular pediment has C20 double glazed doors and a divided overlight. To either side there are three glazing bar sashes in Gibbs surrounds. Above there are seven more sashes in moulded shouldered surrounds on moulded consoles with raised keyblocks. Three central bays have a moulded pediment with central cartouche flanked by swags. West elevation is L-plan, with cross timber casement windows in raised plain surrounds plus raised keyblocks, to ground and first floor. Plain eaves band over with plain parapets and hipped roof dormers. On north face of advanced western bay there is a moulded early C18 doorcase with bracketed stone hood, and panelled door below a divided overlight. North elevation is irregular with C19 and C20 additions to ground floor on west side and early C17 mullion and transomed windows with dripmoulds to east. Interior has a wide early C18 open well staircase with three knopped balusters per tread, that to centre twisted, the others plain, scrolled cheekpieces and panelling to dado height on the opposite wall, plus a plasterwork ceiling above. The hall also has a coloured marble bolection moulded fireplace and moulded cornicing. South room has early C18 panelling with corniced doorcases and contemporary carved marble fireplace. Similar panelling to northern room and other ground floor rooms. Dining room has re-set late C16 or early C17 panelling with fluted frieze to top and a C18 marble fireplace with oak overmantle carved with a central achievement set in strapwork surround and fluted pilasters to sides. The date 1596 has been painted on. Upper rooms have original C18 panelled doors and some C18 fireplaces. West wing has one coloured marble bolection moulded fireplace and a stone spiral staircase. The house was originally a rectory which was converted into a private house in 1630 by Sir John Coke, Secretary of State to Charles I, and altered by Thomas Coke, Vice Chamberlain to Queen Anne and George I, in early C18. It has also been the home of Lord Melbourne, the first Prime Minister to Queen Victoria (1837-1841) and his wife Lady Caroline Lamb, the authoress. Richard Baxter (1615-1691) began his 'Saints Everlasting Rest' here. Sources see J J Briggs 'History of Melbourne' 1852, Historic Manuscripts Commission, Papers at Melbourne Hall.
Listing NGR: SK3897625010