In the grounds of Benington Lordship, an early 18th century mansion near Stevenage in Hertfordshire, is a sham ruin on a grand scale. Constructed in the 1830s it combined the roles of eye-catcher, gateway, smoking room and banqueting hall in one rambling structure.
Spottiswoode House, was described in 1846 as a ‘stately and elegant edifice in the old English style of architecture’. The estate had been ‘possessed, time out of mind, by the Spotiswoodes’ and was the childhood home of Alicia Anne Spottiswoode. It became her retreat in widowhood and the place where she was remembered for having ‘a weakness for erecting curious stone archways and other little monuments here and there’.