Monday, November 18, 2013

The Kennels, Thoresby Estate.

Most people are totally unaware that the original building of The Kennels, on Thoresby Estate, is much older than the current Thoresby Hall. Or that it was directly linked to the Hall via “a long straight canal”. (H. Repton). The Kennels were built c.1738, about half a mile east of the first Thoresby Hall which was situated very close to the lake. (See THIS LINK). The name of the building is self explanatory, this being the site where the Duke's hunting dogs were kept. Just how much of the building standing there today is part of the original would be hard to assess. We do know that architect John Carr renovated The Kennels in 1790, c.20 years after the second Thoresby Hall was completed. During the 22 years between the fire of 1745 which destroyed the first Thoresby Hall, and the building of a second (THIS LINK), Evelyn Pierrepont, 2nd Duke of Kingston, certainly had long periods of residence on Thoresby Estate monitoring the progress of the new building, and of course the extensions to his beloved Lake. So it is more than likely The Kennels were the place he lived for at least part of that time.

The precise route of the canal which linked the Kennels with Thoresby Hall, and exactly how much it redefined the natural course of the River Meden, cannot be exactly determined. A painting by Knyff (1705) (see THIS LINK) places as much attention on a very geometric canal as it does the Hall in its intention to convey the wealth and landscaping tastes of the Duke. In 1791 the notable landscape gardener Humphrey Repton suggested changes to this “600 yard straight canal leading to a corn mill” which would both reduce a tendency towards stagnation near the Hall and allow the water to find its own more natural course as it approached the Kennels, thus freeing space there for a glade or lawn.
Above: The route of the canal in 1774 as compared to the River Meden today. The Kennels can also be seen on THIS LINK, in a video made on the "permitted walk" through Thoresby Estate. In 2014 the property was put out for rent.

 Above: Some yards north of the River Meden, the floods of 2014 made more noticeable the route across the fields a previous canal from the Mill to the Kennels might have taken.

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