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Ragley Hall
Ragley Hall from the south-west 2006.jpg
General information
Town or city Alcester, Warwickshire
Country England
Coordinates 52°11′53″N 1°53′46″W / 52.198°N 1.896°W / 52.198; -1.896Coordinates: 52°11′53″N 1°53′46″W / 52.198°N 1.896°W / 52.198; -1.896

Ragley Hall is a stately home, located south of Alcester, Warwickshire, eight miles (13 km) west of Stratford-upon-Avon. It is the ancestral seat of the Marquess of Hertford.

History

Ragleyhall by Kip edited
Ragley Hall illustrated by Jan Kip in Le Nouveau Théâtre de la Grande Bretagne, 1697-99.

The house, which was designed by Dr Robert Hooke, was built for Edward Conway, 1st Earl of Conway and completed after his death in 1683. The Great Hall is thought to have been decorated by James Wyatt in 1780.

It became the home of Anne Conway and she was visited there by a number of notable people including Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Thomas Vaughan, Lilias Skene, Henry More, Ezechiel Foxcroft, Elizabeth of Bohemia, and Christian Knorr von Rosenroth. Franciscus Mercurius van Helmont was Anne's physician from 1671 until her death in 1679.

Financial instability of the Seymour family left the house threatened with demolition more than once. In 1912, following the death of Hugh Seymour, 6th Marquess of Hertford, the estate's trustees recommended that the house be demolished. However, during World War I and World War II, the house found use as a military hospital. Hugh Seymour, 8th Marquess of Hertford, who inherited Ragley Hall from his uncle in 1940, fought to save it after the war. It was refurbished between 1956 and 1958, when it became one of the first stately homes opened to the public.

In 1983, the painter Graham Rust completed a huge mural including pets, friends and family members which is known as "The Temptation" and is exhibited on the Southern staircase.

Ragley was the site of the Jerwood Sculpture Park, opened in July 2004. The Park included works that won the Jerwood Sculpture Prizes, and the work of Dame Elisabeth Frink, among others. However the site was closed in April 2012.

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