Context 144 - May 2015

C O N T E X T 1 4 4 : M A Y 2 0 1 6 13 DANIEL JONES A drone’s view of Overstone Hall The use of an unmanned aerial vehicle – a drone – allowed Daventry District Council’s conservation team to take a close look at the highly dangerous ruins of Overstone Hall. The Grade II listed Overstone Hall, sited just outside Northampton, is a ruinous 19th-century mansion designed byWilliam MilfordTeulon. Commissioned in 1860 for the first Lord and Lady Overstone, the building is of limestone ashlar under slate roofs. Its plan is complex. Generally three storeys tall with a large square central tower dominating the roof lines, the building was reputed to have 119 rooms. It was surrounded by 40 acres of grounds which contained three lakes, walled gardens, farm buildings and a carriage block. According to The Builder it was ‘a mixture of Elizabethan and Renaissance’ styles and features which added up to an eclectic design and slightly bizarre appearance. The project was completed in 1866. Unfortunately, Lady Overstone died in 1864 and so never saw the building completed. Lord Overstone, who was reputed to have a great interest in art and architecture, and who gave the buildings their unbalanced and eclectic mix of features, styles and patterns, never came to like the property and never took up residence, choosing to live with his daughter in Berkshire instead. Locals say that the designer was employed accidentally and that it was actuallyWMTeulon’s more accomplished brother whose services Lord and Lady Overstone believed they had secured. That may go some way to explaining the mix of styles and designs found across the building, which to some may look as though the architect has flicked through various pattern books and selected random elements. The Hall stayed in the family, being used as a hunting retreat and a place to throw lavish parties and entertain. Eventually the family sold the land and buildings in the The Builder called it ‘a mixture of Elizabethan and Renaissance’.