Harlaxton Manor

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Coordinates: 52°52′50.56″N 0°40′16.67″W / 52.8807111°N 0.6712972°W / 52.8807111; -0.6712972

Harlaxton Manor in 1880

Harlaxton Manor, built in 1837, is a manor house located in Harlaxton, Lincolnshire, England. Its architecture, which combines elements of Jacobean and Elizabethan styles with symmetrical Baroque massing, renders the mansion unique among surviving Jacobethan manors.

The manor is a popular location for filming. Exterior and interior shots have been featured in the films The Ruling Class, The Last Days of Patton, The Lady and the Highwayman, The Haunting, and The Young Visiters. More recently, the building was used as a site in the reality television series Australian Princess.

The manor currently serves as the University of Evansville's British campus.



Harlaxton Manor in 2005

Harlaxton is first recorded in the Domesday Book as Harleston.

The current mansion is the second Harlaxton Manor. The first was built on a different site during the 14th century and was used as a hunting lodge by John of Gaunt. By 1475, the de Ligne family had purchased the manor. The original house was deserted after 1780; it was inherited by Gregory Gregory, who had it torn down in 1857.

The current house was built by Gregory from 1837 to 1845 and helped usher in a renaissance of Elizabethan architecture. The original architect, Anthony Salvin, was replaced by William Burn, who is responsible for its interior detailing. Upon Gregory's death, the manor passed to his cousin George Gregory and then in 1860 to a distant relative, John Sherwin-Gregory. Upon the death of Sherwin's wife in 1892, it passed to his godson Thomas Pearson-Gregory, who allowed it to fall into disrepair.

The manor passed through several sets of disparate hands in the twentieth century. Abandoned by 1935, it was purchased two years later by Violet Van der Elst, a businesswoman and inventor, who made her money from developing the first brushless shaving cream and made her name by campaigning against capital punishment. She restored the house and arranged for it to be wired for electricity. During World War II it was requisitioned by the Royal Air Force as the officers' mess for RAF Harlaxton and later to house a company of the 1st Airborne Division. In 1948, Harlaxton was purchased by The Society of Jesus, who used it as a novitiate. They in turn sold the manor, while retaining rights to some of the lands, to Stanford University in 1965. The University of Evansville began using the property in 1971 as its British campus, but it was owned by William Ridgway, a trustee of the university, until 1986. Immediately after the purchase, the University of Evansville began renovating the entire facility.

Present day

Presently, Harlaxton Manor is known as "The British Campus of the University of Evansville." It is an American owned and operated college which is home to students and professors seeking a global education each academic semester. During the summer the site is often used for various meetings, social gatherings, international conferences and private functions such as weddings. Begun by Stanford University before the University of Evansville took control in 1971, it is one of the oldest international educational programmes.[citation needed]

While teaching classes or studying abroad for a semester, or longer, visiting instructors and students live in either the manor house or its accompanying carriage house. Classes are held, and offices sited, in many of Harlaxton's baroque or rococo ornate gilded rooms, former bedrooms, and the dining room.[citation needed]

The average enrolment is around 150 to 200 students each semester. A majority of students are from the University of Evansville. The program also accepts students from around the world, including graduates and students from numerous universities in the United States, Britain, and elsewhere.

During the summer the manor is home to the Harlaxton International Chamber Music Festival, which draws music students and faculty from throughout the world.[citation needed]

Since 1984 Harlaxton Manor has also been the site of the annual Harlaxton Symposium, an interdisciplinary symposium on medieval art, literature, and architecture.[1]


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