by Alan Dowling
There are several hidden architectural delights which may be seen in Brocklesby Park. Although the park is the private property of the Earl of Yarborough, a walk in part of the park is open to the public during the summer months.
I have always started the walk from a rather hidden car park in Great Limber. The car park lies off the busy main road that runs through the village. Travelling from Grimsby, the car park is in the village on your right-hand side, before you come to the New Inn. The walk is usually open from 1 April to 31 August. An illustrative map and guide may be purchased for £1.50 from the Great Limber village store. Details may also be found on the internet if you type in ‘Brocklesby Park’.
Apart from its splendid trees and flowers, the trail includes several attractive buildings and curiosities, for which we are indebted to the first Lord Yarborough.
Sophia Aufrere Mausoleum, Brocklesby Estate.
The trail starts through trees on rising ground and you’ve only gone a hundred yards or so when you begin to see appearing in front of you a magnificent circular Mausoleum. This superb classically-inspired building was completed about 1792 and was erected by Lord Yarborough, in memory of his young wife Sophia Aufrere who had died in 1786.
He must have thought a lot about her and employed James Wyatt, one of the principal architects of the day, to design the Mausoleum – which is regarded as Wyatt’s masterpiece. It is normally locked but if you are fortunate enough to be allowed inside you will see that the beautiful interior is dominated by a superb white marble statue of Sophia. Plus large artistic memorials to other members of the family.
Arabella Aufrere Temple, Brocklesby Estate
Anyhow, pressing on along the trail you come eventually to another delight - the Arabella Aufrere Temple. Arabella was the mother of the above-mentioned Sophia. The classic temple was also probably designed and built by James Wyatt about 1787. This was at the behest of the same Lord Yarborough and again must show his soft side because it is dedicated to his mother-in law!
Proceeding further along the trail, you come to yet another temple – this one being dedicated to a beloved aunt. The dedication of this more simple classical structure is: ‘Sacred to the memory of a most affectionate aunt Mary Carter whose very amiable and lively character rendered her the delight of every society’ - how sweet.
It’s about here that you may want to return along a side path on your right – only to be confronted by something completely different – a Grotto. This is a very dark tunnel with a room off. It would be advisable to have a torch with you (or use the flash on your camera) because it is very dark inside and you will want to be sure of your footing.
The Hermitage, Brocklesby Estate
If you have safely emerged at the other end what do you see before you but a Hermitage – will these surprises never cease? This peculiar building has a framework of tree trunks, infilled with rough stones. Inside is a rustic table and chairs. The last time I saw the Hermitage, a hermit was actually in residence. But since he was playing a CD by the 1960s pop group Herman & the Hermits, I had a suspicion that he was not a genuine hermit – what do you think?
Now, having experienced a succession of delights and surprises, you may wish to continue retracing your steps back to the Mausoleum and the car park. By the way, the New Inn with refreshments (and toilets!) is just down the road.
(Previously published in the Cleethorpes Chronicle. Copyright © Alan Dowling .