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Monument record MDR7164 - Repton Park Lodge (site of), Repton Park, Repton

Type and Period (2)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

Repton Park was described by Bigsby in 1854 as follows: 'A castellated mansion of modern erection, possessing the advantage of an eminently picturesque site, is the residence of Edmund Lewes Crewe Esq.. It was built upon the foundation of an ancient structure that formed the manorial residence of the Finderne family.. ..and we are informed that beneath the later fabric are extensive subterranean remains of the former edifice'. (1) The ruins of a house dating probably from about 1600, one storey only. (2) The c. 1600 ruin at SK 3136 2498 is a one storey building set into the hillside, probably a summer house; see GPs A0/66/187/7. (3) Once a sizeable house of c. 1600 designed by one of the Smythsons, of which until recently one storey remained; the central entrance being round-headed, with archivolts and keys, one supporting an entablature, all flanked by buttresses. Windows with stone surrounds and cornices. A single room within remained with a large barrel vault. In the later 18th century the house was remodelled in Gothick taste with octagonal turrets at the angles, sashed fenestration under hood moulds, the windows in the towers coming to points with Gothicky astragals. A hipped roof rose above a crenellated porch. It was all seated in an abandoned landscaped park with rolling hills, woods and a chain of lakes linked by cascades. The ruins were in situ when inspected by the Ministry in 1960, but by 1982 had quite vanished. Built for Sir John Harpur of Swarkestone and last lived in by Edmund, 4th son of Sir Henry Crewe, 7th Bt. It was partially demolished to provide materials for alterations to Repton Hayes about a century ago. (4) The ruins referred to by authorities 2-4 above appear to relate to a building that lay to the north of the original house. See SMR 24556. (5) The first clear record of a house here is in the hearth tax return of 1662, where it is recorded under Repton: "Sir John Harpur Kt, att his Lodge.. ..5 [hearths]". This suggests that the family then had a hunting lodge on the site. Nineteenth century illustrations show a distinctive house, quite small, with three storeys, battlemented all round, with octagonal towers at each corner; at ground floor level the base of each tower was penetrated by three openings each being Tudor arched, giving the effect that each turret was carried on legs. It had a Gothic portico and the detailing was such as to strike most commentators that it was a 19th century sham castle. Bigsby, in 1854, considered it to be a new house built upon the foundations of an 'ancient structure' of which only the undercroft remained. However, a plan by the Derby architect Samuel Brown of c. 1811 for alterations, together with a drawing of about a decade earlier, indicate that the building was only altered, rather than rebuilt, and that the towers and the walls connecting them were from the earlier building. The early 19th century alterations included a service wing off to one side, screened by trees from the north-facing entrance front, a portico and the re-jigging of the interior to make it a manageable family home. In 1893 the owner of the house, Sir Vauncey Harpur-Crewe, ordered that it be demolished following an argument with the then tenant, his cousin John Edmund. The undercroft was filled with rubble, although parts can still be picked out here and there. An important survival is part of the gatehouse and stables which were allowed to remain and are clearly of early 17th century date. What we seem to have, therefore, is a small hunting lodge, gatehouse and stables, probably built concurrently with Swarkestone Stand for the same Sir John Harpur in the 1630s, with significant similarities between the two buildings. The latter is thought to have been built to a design of John Smythson and it is possible, therefore, that Smythson was involved in Repton Park also. (6) A substantial lodge was built in newly-purchased woodlands by the Harpur family of Swarkestone, later of Calke, in the early 17th century. Very little is known of the building and all that can currently be seen of this phase is some fine quality ashlar stonework belonging to the basement level. The masonry that survives indicates a building of high quality and status. It may have had a compact plan form raised above this basement; the fact that it was taxed for five hearths in 1662 again suggests a compact but comfortable building. Estate accounts, in the form of payments for bricks, for bricklaying and for plumbing, hint that alterations, perhaps substantial, were carried out between c. 1776 and c. 1781, but their extent cannot be established. In 1810-12 the park lodge was substantially refashioned in a Regency gothic style for Sir Henry Crewe of Calke, to designs by Samuel Brown, architect, of Derby. Battlemented corner towers were added and the different phases of building were concealed by the application of a coat of brown Roman cement. Between 1821 and 1827 the lodge was altered again, for the third time in about 50 years. This time the purpose of the work appears to have been to make the park lodge into a full-time country house in its own right, although it remained part of the Calke estate. A plan of 1829 shows the site after the completion of this work. Around this time it became the home of Edmund Lewis Crewe and his brother Charles, younger brothers of Sir George Crewe, 8th Baronet of Calke. Edmund's descendants remained in the house until it was vacated a few years before its demolition in 1896. For the most part, the house foundations lie only just below the surface. Exposure of limited areas of the foundations was undertaken in 2009, including part of the north-east tower, which was seen to abut against an earlier narrow stone foundation. (7)

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Bigsby, R. 1854. Historical and Topographical Description of Repton. p117-8.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: M.H.L.G. 2320/11/A Oct.1960,30.
  • <3> Personal Observation: F1 FRH 18-AUG-66.
  • <4> Bibliographic reference: Craven, M & Stanley, M. 1982. The Derbyshire Country House, Volume I. p 57, illust..
  • <5> Personal Observation: Stroud, G. Personal observation, map evidence, field visit etc..
  • <6> Article in serial: Craven, M. 'How butterfly nets destroyed a house', Derby Evening Telegraph. Monday July 31, 2000; with illustrations.
  • <7> Unpublished document: Heath, P. 2010. Repton Park, Repton, Derbyshire.



Grid reference Centred SK 3137 2490 (20m by 31m) (Centre)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR2901

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Record last edited

Jun 2 2011 9:12AM

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