Model Rail (UK) - - Historic Inspiratio­n -

Few man­sions were built dur­ing the Com­mon­wealth pe­riod, but a par­tic­u­larly fine ex­am­ple is Thorpe Hall, in Peter­bor­ough, built in the 1650s for Cromwell’s Lord Chief Jus­tice. Fea­tures in­clude a sym­met­ri­cal façade, rec­tan­gu­lar win­dows with curved or tri­an­gu­lar ped­i­ments above them, and chim­neys now grouped in fours in a square lay­out. The mansard-style roof fea­tures el­e­gant dormer win­dows.

Read­ily seen from pass­ing trains on the East Coast Main Line is Hinch­ing­brooke House, at Huntingdon. It was ini­tially an El­iz­a­bethan house built by the Cromwell fam­ily on the site of a nun­nery, which had been dis­solved by Henry VIII. Hinch­ing­brooke was re­mod­elled and en­larged by Ed­ward Mon­tagu (the Earl of Sand­wich) in the 17th cen­tury with in­put from his sec­ond cousin Sa­muel Pepys, who thought it was a fine house but be­moaned the money spent, a com­mon re­morse among those who ren­o­vate prop­erty! The re­sult is a mix­ture of styles, with a gatehouse moved from Ram­sey Abbey and with much to see, in­clud­ing the skele­tons of two nuns in stone coffins un­der the stairs. It now ac­com­mo­dates the sixth form of Hinch­ing­brooke School.

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