Richard Arundell F.R.S. Member of Parliament for Knaresborough, was a prominent courtier and Commissioner of the Treasury, Master of the Mint, surveyor of the Kings Works (1726-37) and was responsible for the construction of various buildings at Whitehall. He was also a very good friend of Lord Burlington. A letter from the estate manager to Arundell at Burlington House in London regarding alterations at Allerton show he reconstructed the Mansion, enlarged the Park and rebuilt the Church of St. Martin which stands on a small hill outside the Park.
The Park, a very old domain, was originally paled but the palings were removed when the present wall was constructed by Richard Arundell in 1745.
On a map of 1770 the shapes of the water bodies are developed with the upper lake expanded and the high upper lake decreased in a wide stream. The middle lake was dug and the stream widened below the middle lake around the square island which no longer has the geometric interior waterways shown on the 1734 map
Considerable correspondence exists between him and his land agent James Collins. Collins managed three estates for Arundell as well as Lord Burlington’s Yorkshire estate. He was responsible for employing a gardener in 1747, Mr. Banks, who was currently working for William Aisleby of Studley Royal.
The Mansion at the end of the Mauleverer period can be seen from a map of 1734 which shows a long dwelling house with a projecting and battlemented staircase tower at one end; this stands on a courtyard with a jumble of service buildings. Immediately to the east is what appears to be an unexpected two storey structure – possible of monastic origin and related to the early 12c priory. Nearby is a dovecote. Nothing remains of this period and the buildings fall far short of a style appropriate to the position of Richard Arundell who inherited the estate. It is evident that Arundell clearly thought of rebuilding as in 1746 he employed the architect John Vardy, an associate of William Kent and with the Office of Works. Vardy’s design, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, shows a theme and style similar to Holkham Hall. However little, if any, of this scheme was built. It appears that Arundell did build a new mansion as a map of 1770 shows the new house mansion next to the old Mauleverer house, with stables and farm buildings in place. About that time Richard Arundell also rebuilt the Church of St. Martin in the Norman style. The architect is not definitely known but researchers believe there can be little doubt that it was John Vardy. The church, stable, coach house and five mile long brick wall enclosing the original Park survives to this day.
Richard Arundell retired to Allerton in 1750 and died in 1758. His widow, Lady Francis, died in 1769. All their children died in infancy.
During the 18th Century, the estate operated as many others of the period with an economic base in forestry, crops, beef production and charcoal. There was some manufacturing of bricks along with gravel, sand and stone quarries.
4th VISCOUNT GALWAY:
The estate now passed to William Monckton, the second Viscount Galway, a cousin (by marriage) who resided at Serlby Hall, Nottinghamshire. William Monckton added Arundell to his name under royal license in 1769. His papers in Nottingham University Library show that he immediately began landscaping the park. His 1769 account book lists payments for “Hilling in park” and “Hills & putts Stones (on) Edges of Great Water”. In 1772 a Sarah Ferguson was paid for “Washing the Table linen whilst your Lordship was here” indicating that the 2nd Lord Galway had visited the house. He died in 1772 and the estate passed to his eldest son, William Henry, 3rd Viscount Galway who died only two years later. The estate then passed to Robert Monckton-Arundell, 4th Viscount Galway in 1774 who formally moved into Allerton, letting Serlby Hall. About the time of his marriage in 1779 he decided to rebuild the “rather incoherent old house”, such work attributed to William Lindley of Doncaster. The new building had “nine bays and three storeys and had an attached portico of pilasters continued above the cornice to a pediment”. This was not the end of Viscount Galway’s improvements as papers show that he added the finishing touched to the church of St Martin. In 1771, payments were made for the clock and for lettering the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments.
In 1786 the 4th Viscount Galway sold Allerton to HRH The Duke of York, brother to King George.
THE TEMPLE OF VICTORY:
The ‘Temple of Victory’ stands on a hill that occupies a commanding site from which “are seen, to the greatest advantage, the variegated landscapes of the park, together with extensive views of the surrounding country”. According to local legend, is the one mentioned in the nursery rhyme “The Grand Old Duke of York who had ten thousand men …” and may have been built by Galway as it appears on Thomas Jeffrey’s map of Yorkshire of 1771. In that event the architect would most likely have been James Payne, then at the height of his career, who had been building Serlby from 1734-73.
HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS PRINCE FREDERICK AUGUSTUS, THE DUKE OF YORK, BROTHER TO KING GEORGE IV
The Duke of York purchased the Allerton estate from Robert, The 4th Viscount Galway in 1786. On Friday, 28th March 1788 it was reported in ‘The World’ (a London publication) that ‘Henry Holland is at present in Yorkshire superintending the improvements now in progress at HRH’s house at Allerton in the county’. Another writer of the period reported ‘His Royal Highness entirely rebuilt the large and substantial residence, erecting commodious stables and laid out the beautiful gardens’. E. Hargrove wrote ‘the Duke of York who, with his Royal brother the Prince of Wales, resided here sometime in the month of October, 1787’. The Prince Frederick house was built entirely of brick, plastered and painted.
COLONEL WILLIAM THORNTON
In 1789, when the estate was put on the market, the catalogue stated ‘The complete Mansion house recently and substantially built on a most approved plan …”. The whole of the Allerton estate containing 4,525 acres, was purchased in 1791 for £110,000 by Col. William Thornton an eccentric local man of considerable repute in the sporting world, a gambler and a reviver of the sport of Falconry. There is a local tradition that the Colonel won the estate from the Duke at the gaming table. He renamed the estate ‘Thornville Royale’ by ‘royal permission’ after the Prince of Wales was his guest. Colonel Thornton turned the estate into a famous sporting and wildlife park. In 1796 E. Hargrove wrote in ‘The History of the Castle Town and Forest of Knaresborough’of the park as containing “four hundred acres of exceedingly rich land, encompassed with a high wall of brick, five miles to be exact, has a great variety of ground, and is well stocked with deer and other game. The great variety this park affords of hills and dales, thick woods, scattered groves, with a beautiful lake, seen from this tower (Temple of Victory) can only be equaled by the distant prospect of fields, woods, villages, and seats charmingly interspersed…”
The tomb of Col. Thornton’s mother, who died in 1800, can be seen in St. Martin’s church outside the South Gate of the estate. Col. Thornton employed John Plaw to design some farm buildings for the estate, the drawings of which were published in his ‘Ferme Ornee” of 1795.