Harewood House

Harewood House (/ˈhɑːrwʊd/ HAR-wuud, /ˈhɛər-/ HAIR-)[n 1][1] is a country house in Harewood, West Yorkshire, England. Designed by architects John Carr and Robert Adam, it was built, between 1759 and 1771, for Edwin Lascelles, 1st Baron Harewood, a wealthy West Indian plantation and slave-owner. The landscape was designed by Lancelot "Capability" Brown and spans 1,000 acres (400 ha) at Harewood.

Harewood House
Harewood House, seen from the garden.JPG
Harewood House from the garden
General information
TypeStately home
Architectural stylePalladian
LocationHarewood, England
Coordinates53°53′48″N 1°31′42″W / 53.89667°N 1.52833°W / 53.89667; -1.52833Coordinates: 53°53′48″N 1°31′42″W / 53.89667°N 1.52833°W / 53.89667; -1.52833
Current tenantsLascelles family
Construction started1759
ClientEdwin Lascelles, 1st Baron Harewood
OwnerHarewood House Trust
Design and construction
DesignationsGrade I listed

Still home to the Lascelles family, Harewood House is a member of the Treasure Houses of England, a marketing consortium for ten of the foremost historic homes in the country. The house is a Grade I listed building and a number of features in the grounds and courtyard have been listed as Grade I, II* and II.


Early historyEdit

The Harewood estate was created in its present size by merging two adjacent estates, the Harewood Castle estate based on Harewood Castle and the Gawthorpe estate based on the Gawthorpe Hall manor house (not to be confused with the Gawthorpe Hall near Burnley in Lancashire). The properties were combined when the Wentworths of Gawthorpe, who inherited the estate from the Gascoignes, bought the neighbouring Harewood estate from the Ryther family. The combined estate was sold to the London merchant Sir John Cutler in 1696, after whose death it passed to the Boulter family. They in turn sold it to the Lascelles in 1721.[2]

The Lascelles familyEdit

In the late seventeenth century members of the Lascelles family purchased plantations in the West Indies, and the income generated allowed Henry Lascelles to purchase the estate in 1738; his son, Edwin Lascelles, 1st Baron Harewood, a wealthy plantation and slave owner,[3] built the house between 1759 and 1771[4] to replace Gawthorpe Hall, the original manor house on the estate.

Edwin employed the services of John Carr, an architect practising in the north of England who had been employed by a number of prominent Yorkshire families, to design their new country houses. The foundations were laid in 1759 and the house was largely complete by 1765. Robert Adam submitted designs for the interiors, which were approved in 1765. Adam made a number of minor alterations to Carr's designs for the building's exterior including internal courtyards.[4] The house remained largely untouched until the 1840s when Sir Charles Barry was employed by Henry Lascelles, 3rd Earl of Harewood, the father of thirteen children, to increase the accommodation. Barry added second storeys to each of the flanking wings to provide extra bedrooms, removed the south portico and created formal parterres and terraces.[4]

20th centuryEdit

In 1922, Henry Lascelles, Viscount Lascelles married Princess Mary, the only daughter of George V. Initially living in the nearby Goldsborough Hall, the couple moved permanently into Harewood House on the death of Henry's father in 1929.[4]

During the Second World War, the house acted as a resident convalescent hospital[5] but by the late 1940s, the Princess Royal and her family had moved permanently back to Harewood, where the house and gardens were regularly opened[6] to the public and regularly holding concerts connected with musical establishments including the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra and the Leeds Musical Festival, of which the Princess was patron. On 28 March 1965, she was walking the grounds of Harewood when she suffered a fatal heart attack.[7] Her elder son, Lord Harewood, the 7th earl, succeeded his father in 1947, and resided at Harewood. He was director of the Royal Opera House and later of the English National Opera; nearer to Harewood, he was a member of the Leeds Music Festival's executive committee and a patron of the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra's concerts.[8][9][10][11][12]

Since 1947 the estate's Dower House, which lies outside the estate boundaries, has been leased out for use as an independent school.[13]

21st centuryEdit

The house is the family seat of the Lascelles family, and home of David Lascelles, the eighth Earl.[4] The house and grounds have been transferred into a trust ownership structure managed by Harewood House Trust and are open to the public for most of the year. Harewood won a Large Visitor Attraction of the Year award in the 2009 national Excellence in England awards.[14]

Harewood houses a collection of paintings by masters of the Italian Renaissance, family portraits by Sir Joshua Reynolds, John Hoppner and Sir Thomas Lawrence, and modern art collected by the 7th Earl and Countess. Changing temporary exhibitions are held each season in the Terrace Gallery. Catering facilities in the house include Michelin-starred fine dining.[15]

As well as tours of the house and grounds, Harewood has more than 100 acres (40 ha) of gardens, including a Himalayan garden and its stupa, an educational bird garden, an adventure playground and the historic All Saints' Church with its alabaster tombs. From May 2007 to October 2008 the grounds contained Yorkshire's first planetarium, the Yorkshire Planetarium.[16]

In 2007, as part of the BBC Look North programme actor David Harewood visited the house and interviewed Lascelles, as his ancestors in Barbados had been enslaved by the Earls of Harewood.[17] In March 2023, it was announced that a portrait of Harewood was commissioned and would be hung in Harewood house.[18]

The Leeds Country Way passes through the Harewood Estate, to the south of the house and lake, as does the route of The White Rose Way.

Popular cultureEdit

Artist J. M. W. Turner visited the house and painted the outdoor landscape in watercolour around 1797–8.[19] The house was used as a filming location for the 1991 comedy film King Ralph.[20] Since 1996, part of the estate has been developed as the village in the ITV soap opera Emmerdale, which had been based in two different Yorkshire villages since its inception 24 years earlier. Rock musician Elton John performed two concerts in the grounds in 1999.[21] The popular show Victoria from ITV starring Jenna Coleman and Tom Hughes has filmed at Harewood House.[22] On 1 July 2006, Irish vocal pop band Westlife held a concert for their Face to Face Tour supporting their album Face to Face. Harewood House was used as a filming location for the 2019 Downton Abbey film in November 2018.[23] The house was the location for BBC's Mary Berry's Country House at Christmas with Mary Berry, broadcast on Christmas Day 2018.[24]

Harewood Bird Garden & Farm ExperienceEdit

Harewood Bird Garden & Farm Experience
Date openedMarch 1970
LocationHarewood House, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England
Major exhibitsSmall collection of exotic birds and farm animals

The Bird Garden at Harewood House has a small collection of exotic bird species, of which more than 5 are listed as vulnerable or endangered by the IUCN. It is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA).

Birds that can be seen in the garden include Humboldt penguins, Chilean flamingos, Duyvenbode's lories and macaws.

In January 2023 the trustees of Harewood announced their decision to close the Bird Garden: the exact date would be announced later in the year. The Farm Experience would remain open. The area occupied by the Bird Garden would be redeveloped as a new woodland garden, including reinstating some historic walks. New homes would be found for all the birds. The trustees said that the last inspection had "identified many problems with the site's physical infrastructure" which would require £4 million to be spent, and they "had to make the incredibly difficult decision to close this part of the Harewood experience".[26][27]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ There is debate as to the exact pronunciation of the word 'Harewood'. In the 18th century, the customary pronunciation (and spelling) was Harwood and this pronunciation for both house and title is used by Harewood House and the Earl of Harewood. The pronunciation "hairwood" is generally used for the village.


  1. ^ Lyall, Sarah (31 March 2000). "Great Brington Journal; Why Can't the English . . . ? It's Pronounced Clahss". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 8 February 2021. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  2. ^ The Civil, Ecclesiastical, Literary, Commercial, and Miscellaneous of Leeds etc. Vol. 1. p. 215.
  3. ^ "History - British History in depth: Slavery and the Building of Britain". BBC. Archived from the original on 16 February 2019. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e Jones, Nigel R. (2005). Architecture of England, Scotland, and Wales. Westwood, CT, USA: Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 133–135. ISBN 0313318506.
  5. ^ "Leeds Legacies". BBC. Archived from the original on 25 September 2019. Retrieved 25 September 2019. During World War II Harewood House was used as a resident convalescent hospital.
  6. ^ "Harewood House open on Monday". Yorkshire Evening Post. Yorkshire, England. 29 July 1949. Archived from the original on 8 February 2021. Retrieved 25 September 2019. Harewood House open on Monday - HAREWOOD House and gardens will open to the public on Monday from 11 a.m. to...
  7. ^ Newton, Grace (14 August 2019). "The Queen's Lost Family: TV documentary tells the story of the royal letters found in a Yorkshire country house". Yorkshire Post. Archived from the original on 14 June 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  8. ^ "Several well-known musical authorities from Leeds tell of the opportunities afforded them to talk things musical to her Royal Highness". Yorkshire Evening Post. Yorkshire, England. 10 January 1949. Archived from the original on 8 February 2021. Retrieved 25 September 2019. ....concert-going in Leeds recently as this week-end when attended the concert. "Music patron" - The Princess Royal is patron of the Leeds Triennial Musical Festival. During the last series - in October, 1947, - she attended most of the concerts. She was for many years patron ....Yorkshire Evening Post Yorkshire, England 19 Jul 1949...He [Lord Harewood] edits a magazine on ballet and opera, and is a member the Executive Committee of the Leeds Triennial Festival in which the Princess....
  9. ^ "Leeds Reception to Lord and Lady Harewood". The Yorkshire Post / Yorkshire and Evening Post. Yorkshire, England. 23 November 1949. p. 1 [Front page of The Yorkshire Post - 23 November 1949]. Archived from the original on 8 February 2021. Retrieved 25 September 2018. Chatting informally for nearly two hours with a large gathering of ...the Princess Royal wore rose pink velvet.....Among others presented were ...Sir William and Lady Cartwright...Mr R. Noel Middleton (Leeds Musical Festival Committee)...Mr Philip Fox (Leeds Director of the B.B.C.)....Y.S.O. concert - ...chairman of the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra Committee had a long chat with the Earl and Countess regarding the orchestra, and invited them to attend the Saturday performance. They both expressed much interest in the orchestra and said they would like... Yorkshire Post 11 April 1950...A Concert by Members of the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra at Harewood House...Before a large and appreciative audience, in which the Princess Royal and the Earl and Countess of Harewood....Mr Maurice Miles conducted a section of the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra...
  10. ^ B., E. (20 February 1950). "Significant Choice for Y.S.O. concert". Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer. Retrieved 11 April 2019. [page 1/front page] - The Earl of Harewood has agreed to be patron of the concert, and he and the Countess have promised to attend.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ "Bradbury". Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer. Yorkshire, England. 21 March 1949. Archived from the original on 8 February 2021. Retrieved 24 November 2018. ....besides visit Leeds yesterday, the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra's concert at Leeds Town Hall on Saturday night was devoted to the music from the operas of Mozart and Puccini. Among the audience was the Earl of Harewood.
  12. ^ Whitaker, J. (1955). An Almanack for the Year of Our Lord 1955, Volume 87. J. Whitaker. p. 1003. Archived from the original on 8 February 2021. Retrieved 8 October 2019. The London Symphony Orchestra, the Leeds Philharmonic and Symphony Orchestras, the Yorkshire Symphony ... Hex was performed, with Peter Pears and Hclenc Bouvier, and, at a morning concert In the Picture Gallery of Harewood House...
  13. ^ Gateways Educational Trust Limited, About Gateways Archived 14 January 2021 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 21 December 2020
  14. ^ Harewood House website. Harewood Card Newsletter. Autumn/Winter 2003-04 Harewood.org Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 1 December 2006.
  15. ^ "Michelin star restaurant moves into stately home to offer tasty posh nosh" Archived 31 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 2 August 2013
  16. ^ "Leeds planetarium - a meteoric failure". Archived from the original on 1 April 2018. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  17. ^ "Actor quizzes Viscount on slavery". BBC News. 23 March 2007. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  18. ^ Kolirin, Lianne (6 March 2023). "David Harewood's portrait will hang in stately home owned by family that enslaved his ancestors". CNN. Retrieved 9 March 2023.
  19. ^ "Harwood Collection items via MuseumPlus". Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  20. ^ "Where was King Ralph filmed?". British Film Locations. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  21. ^ Bodoh, David. "Elton John Concerts in 1999". eltonography.com. Archived from the original on 20 February 2020. Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  22. ^ "Emmerdale (TV Series 1972– )". Archived from the original on 8 February 2021. Retrieved 31 December 2018 – via www.imdb.com.
  23. ^ "Downton Abbey (2019) - IMDb". Archived from the original on 26 December 2018. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  24. ^ "BBC Two - Mary Berry's Country House at Christmas". BBC. Archived from the original on 1 January 2019. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
  25. ^ "BIAZA Zoos and Aquariums". biaza.org.uk. BIAZA. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  26. ^ Newton, Grace (10 January 2023). "Harewood House in Yorkshire announces closure of Bird Garden attraction after 50 years - after concerns it had become 'out of date'". Retrieved 25 January 2023.
  27. ^ "Harewood Statement". Harewood House. Harewood. January 2023. Retrieved 25 January 2023.

External linksEdit