The Journal Of Antiquities

Ancient Sites In Great Britain & Southern Ireland


Brocklesby Park Mausoleum, Great Limber, Lincolnshire

OS grid reference: TA1332 0890. The mausoleum stands in the grounds and woodlands of Brocklesby Park (south side) close to Brigg road and high street at Great Limber. The following is from ‘A Description of The Mausoleum in Brocklesby Park, Lincolnshire, by T.Espin, Boston, 1808′.

Mausoleum in Brocklesby Park, Lincolnshire

   “This sepulchral monument was erected by the presernt Lord Yarborough, to perpetuate the memory of his much lamented and amiable consort, who in the prime of life was seperated from him and from the world, by a malignant fever of the brain”.

It is situate in his lordship’s park near the village of Limber* upon a commanding eminence the site of an ancient tumulus, evidently a place of Roman sepulture; the various urns full of burnt earth, bones and ashes, together with a variety of rings, combs, and perforated beads discovered on laying the foundations, fully justify such an opinion; it may therefore with great propriety be observed, that this elegant classic building stands majestically elevated on classic ground”.

*At Limber is a very good inn, near which Lord Yarborough has built a lodge where keys are kept to accommodate strangers who wish to see the building.

It was built from the designs of James Wyatt, esq. and completed under his direction in 1794. Its form is that of a Grecian temple of the peripteral kind; the colonnade consists of twelve fluted doric columns, which stand upon a rusticated basement about fifty-two feet diameter, these support a bold entablature, the frize of which is highly enriched with festoons of roses, sun-flowers and poppies, suspended from the horns of that appropriate doric ornament the bull’s skull over each column and tied upin two intervening places by bunches of ribbons; from the top of this entablature rises a very fine open balustrade. The external body of the temple is nearly forty feet diameter, is surrounded by four niches, in each of which stands a sarcophagus, this part rises to a small height above the balustrade, where it is covered with a dome, the commencement of which is stone, the upper part copper, with a circular curb of stone-work surrounding an aperture at the summit, through which descends the light necessary for the interior of the chapel”.

The basement part contains the cemetary, a most excellent piece of white brick-work, formed into compartments and recesses for depositing coffins: in the this apartment lie the remains of Mrs. Pelham, together with her father and mother the late Mr. and Mrs. Aufere, Mr. Pelham, great uncle to the present Lord Yarborough, and Francis Anderson, esq. his lordship’s father”.

Above this basement is the chapel ascended from the north by a spacious flight of steps. In a rectangular compartment above the door is the following inscription:   

                                                            TO THE MEMORY OF 


                                                    THE WIFE OF C. A. PELHAM,* 

                                                                   WHO DIED 

                                                       JAN. XXV. MDCCLXXXVI  

                                                                AGED XXXIII 

*Mrs. Pelham died previously to Mr. Pelham obtaining his peerage.  

   The first object  on opening the door, which cannot fail to affect the mind of sensibility, is the statue of Mrs. Pelham standing in the centre of the chapel on a cylindrical pedestal of whilte marble; the right hand supports a robe most exquisitely managed, the left arm resting on the trunk of a tree, sustains the head; the dress throughout is chaste and consistent, the drapery finely executed, the attitude strikingly graceful, the countenance placid and serene, and the whole may justly be considered a first rate production from the fascinating chissel of Nollekens”.

The chapel is divided into four compartments by eight fluted corinthian columns of Derbyshire marble; that on the north contains the door; in that opposite is an elegant cenotaph to the memory of Sir William Pelham of Brocklesby, who distinguished himself at the siege of Leith and in defence of Havre de grace; in 1579 he was appointed lord justice of Ireland with the authority of lord deputy; on his return to England, he was made lieutenant general of the ordinance, and accompanied the earl of Leicester as field marshal to the low countries in 1585; after performing signal service to his country, he died at Flushing in 1587. The tomb consists of a plain marble base sustaining a double pyramid, before which stands a large sarcophagus with a colossean female statue sitting thereon, holding a stork; the emblem of filial piety. The family arms are supported by a weeping Hymen with his torch inverted”.

In that recess on the east, stands a monument composed of a plain marble basement supporting a pyramidical slab and sarcophagus, on which lies a very large female figure resting on the left arm; in the other hand is a medallion on which is represented the bust of Charles Pelham, esq. of Brocklesby, who died in February, 1763, aged 84″.

The remaining compartment is occupied by the monument of Francis Anderson, esq.* of Manby, who died on October, 1758, aged 47. On a basement similar to the last, and in front of a like pyramid, stands a fluted sarcophagus, on which sit two naked boys supporting the family arms; that on the right thoughtful and pensive, that on the left cheerful, holding in his right hand the endless serpent with a butterfly walking around, an emblem of the soul traversing eternity”.

*Father to Lord Yarborough, but the estate came to his lordship from the above C. Pelham, esq., his uncle.

The fine proportioned columns which seperate these recesses, support a bold entablature crowned with a highly decorative dome; the bottom part of stone is divided into enriched compartments, the upper part is stained glass executed by Eginton in a masterly style; the design exhibits numerous cherubim floating among clouds in seeming adoration to the supreme, allegorically represented by expanding rays from the centre: this happy and interesting finish, obstructs all glaring light from above, and diffuses a gloomy shade overy every part below, which inspires the mind with reverential awe”.

Throughout the whole of this beautiful fabric, Mr. Wyatt has displayed great skill in Grecian architecture, and has united solidity of workmanship with chastity of design; it is calculated to brave many a winter’s blast, and will long continue a fine memorial of that gentleman’s classic taste”.

From the colonnade the prospects are commanding and varied, but those towards the north, or north-east, the most picturesque; the middle ground is composed of a variety of forest scenery, and a sweep of the Humber forms the boundary of sight”.

The trees immediately encompassing this repository of mortality have been too recently planted to envelop it in solitude, and give that solemnity of appearance so necessary to be connected with places of this description; however the plantations have been judiciously laid out, and in the course of a few revolving years will unquestionably assume that character at present so devoutly to be wished”.