Sewerby Hall, East Yorkshire

On the clifftop, high above Bridlington Bay, stands Sewerby Hall, a delightful example of architecture spanning the Georgian, Regency and Victorian periods. Although no longer a grand residence for the local gentry, it still provides an enviable setting for weddings, concerts and tea dances, as well as facilitating exhibitions, seminars and art workshops.

Early history of the house is largely unknown, but the Domesday Book does make reference to two manors at Sewerby. It is understood that the de Sywardbys lived in a manor house on the estate during the 14th century, and evidence suggests that a chapel was built in the grounds circa 1414. When Sewerby was sold by the last de Sywardby descendants in 1545, the estate passed through many hands until John Carleill and his wife purchased it in 1566.

Completing essential repairs and improvements throughout their lifetime, the property was inherited by their son and, subsequently, a further four generations of the Carleill family. Despite Sewerby Hall remaining with the last heir for many years, he never lived at the property and eventually sold it to John Greame at some point during the second decade of the 18th century.

Between 1714 and 1720, the house underwent a major rebuilding programme, and it is this structure that forms the core of the present day mansion. Indeed, much of the skilled craftsmanship from this period is clearly visible - the main entrance hall of Sewerby has surviving woodwork, and fine wood panelling still adorns the walls in both the Oak Room and the Green Room of the house. By far the most impressive Georgian feature in the building is the cantilevered oak staircase - a very elegant and skilful construction. Two rooms on the first floor also retain their beautiful pine panelling and other fine detail from the early 18th century.

It was nearly 100 years later when the double-storey, bow-fronted wings and Regency portico were added to the house. Sewerby Hall was further extended during the 1820s when additional rooms were incorporated behind the new East Wing, and a stable block was built adjacent to the south west corner of the house. When Yarburgh Greame inherited his mother's estates, and Sewerby Hall in the 1840s, he embarked on a continuous programme of building works that resulted in the complete transformation and enlargement of the family home. Once his new mansion was finished, Yarburgh concentrated on the surrounding parkland and gardens that would 'show off' his grand new residence. The formal gardens, walled garden, rose garden and Old English country garden provide a perfect foil for the woodland area and the whole is set against a backdrop of coastal views. At the edge of the park, there is a church and a former school building also accredited to Yarburgh. On his death in 1876, the estate passed to his sister, and then through her family until, in 1934, it was sold to Bridlington Corporation.

Since 1959, an extremely interesting collection of memorabilia has been on display in the first floor Amy Johnson Room. Much of this was presented to Sewerby Hall Museum and Art Gallery in 1958 by Amy Johnson's father, but the collection has grown with donations from various sources over the years.

So, not only is Sewerby a fascinating architectural gem full of interesting artefacts and displays, but it is surrounded by 50 acres of stunning gardens with panoramic views of the wide curving bay.


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