A follow up visit to Blickling Hall enabled me to gather some further information about the social history connected to the building. The house was bought by Sir Henry Hobart, 1st Baronet in 1616. He employed architect Robert Lyminge to extend and develop the property to what can be seen today. Sir Henry Hobart died in 1625 before the work was finished. His wife Dorothy Bell, Lady Hobart outlived him by sixteen years. Their portraits have been retained in the house.
Moving forward in time to the Victorian age, the Hall was passed to the last couple to occupy the house. William Shomberg Robert Kerr, 8th Marquess of Lothian, and Lady Constance Harriet Mahonesa Kerr. Like the first owners this couple also had simular misfortune - William died prematurely age 37 in 1870. Widowed for thirty one years, Lady Constance took over the running of the estate. She commissioned George Fredrick Watts to design a tomb in memory of her husband. This rather large and impressive tomb can be seen in small church of St Andrews opposite the Hall. She was well thought of by those that worked for her.
Following the first visit I left thinking about the "exposed' bare walls- the marks and graffiti left over the centuries. This return trip has been more focussed on the personalities who have lived in the Hall. I am particularly drawn to the first Lord and Lady of Blickling, and the last couple who lived in the property. There are similarities in that both wives were left as widows. With the death of Lady Constance in 1901 an era had come to a close, both for the large country estates and for Blickling Hall. While Phillip Kerr was the last to inherit the estate he never married, or had children, and apparently did not want to take up the life of a country gentleman. He was a liberal MP who among other achievements, became instrumental in establishing the National Trust.
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