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Wed 23rd September 2015
Restoring the Pyramid
Latest From: Estate

The Pyramid

One of Castle Howard’s most mysterious follies has been returned to its original condition following 18 months of restoration work thanks to funding from Historic England and the Country Houses Foundation.

The 18th-century Pyramid which sits in the Grade 1 listed landscape of Yorkshire’s finest stately home has shed the scaffolding which has shrouded it and once again stands proudly on St Anne’s Hill.

Taking over a year to complete the project has cost in excess of £135,000 and was only possible thanks to the support of Historic England and the Country Houses Foundation. The work which has been carried out by Ebor Stone Company from Tollerton near York, is the latest in an ongoing programme of restoration and conservation across the estate which has recently included the Stray Walls.

The Hon. Nicholas Howard commented: “The Pyramid has remained largely untouched since its original construction and over the years has gone from white to black. Thanks to the exceptional work carried out by Andrew and his team at Ebor Stone, this monumental tribute to my ancestor has been returned to its former glory; the Pyramid’s crisp new lines and refreshed stone once again make an imposing mark on the landscape, catching the eye from miles around.”

The extensive work undertaken on the Pyramid included replacing most of the vermiculated ashlar, a worm hole effect hand-carved into the stone at the base of the structure; and removing rusted iron cramps and repairing damaged and cracked stones. The top of the Pyramid was rebuilt to produce a sharp apex, and the façades were re-mortared and cleaned.

Tammy Whitaker, Heritage At Risk Principal at Historic England added: “We are pleased to be working with the Castle Howard Estate by providing funding and advice on repairs.  Fixing such an important landmark in this much loved Grade I designed landscape is a great step forward in securing its future for the public to visit and enjoy.”

The Pyramid was designed in 1728 by Nicholas Hawksmoor, who also designed Castle Howard’s Mausoleum, and lies to the east of another of Castle Howard’s impressive monuments, the Gatehouse. Inside, a colossal bust of Lord William Howard, the 3rd Earl’s great, great, great, grandfather and founder of the Carlisle branch of the Howard family, resides on a stone plinth.

A marble plaque on the north face of the Pyramid, dedicating the monument to Lord William has been cleaned and re-carved.  Archival research has also cleared up the puzzle of two further recessed spaces in the stonework (one outside and one inside), which used to accommodate additional inscriptions to the memory of the 3rd Earl’s ancestors.

The Pyramid affords stunning views across the rolling Howardian Hills and back towards Castle Howard; curator-led tours are planned with dates for 2016 to be announced. A network of footpaths and bridleways across the estate offer ample opportunity to explore, taking in views of the pyramid and many of the other monuments which dot the landscape.