Lord Byron's mock fort at Newstead Park to be saved and preserved by Historic England

An 18th Century mock fort in Newstead Park, which was used by the fifth Lord Byron to dock the ship which he kept on his lake for recreations of naval battles, has been saved and preserved by Historic England.

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 12:16 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th November 2021, 12:18 pm

Every year, Historic England publishes a Heritage at Risk Register, an annual health-check of England’s most valued historic places and those most at risk of being lost forever as a result of neglect, decay or inappropriate development.

This year, 27 sites have been saved in the East Midlands, among them Lord Byron’s historic fort at Newstead Abbey, while 14 sites have been added to the register.

The fifth Lord Byron built his extraordinary mock fort and dock around 1750 as an ‘eye- catcher’ to be seen across the lake from his home at Newstead Abbey.

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Lord Byron's mock fort at Newstead Park is being saved and preserved by Historic England. Photo: Historic England Archive

It also served as a mooring and suitably evocative backdrop for the ship which he kept on the lake for entertaining friends with recreations of naval battles.

His great nephew George, the famous Romantic poet who we know as the Lord Byron, was no doubt influenced by the gothic surroundings of Newstead Abbey in his writing.

By 2018, though structurally sound, masonry repairs were needed.

Historic England awarded a grant for this work, and repairs were undertaken in 2019 and 2020.

The cannon fort overlooking the lake. Photo: Historic England Archive

Incidents of anti-social behaviour increased during the Covid lockdowns, but the situation is improving and this eccentric building and Newstead Park in which it sits, can be appreciated once more by the people of Nottinghamshire.

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Repair

This project followed on from the Historic England grant-aided repair of Newstead Abbey’s iconic west front.

Louise Brennan, Historic England’s regional director for the Midlands, said: “Our heritage is an anchor for us all in testing times.

“Despite the challenges we have all faced recently, this year’s Heritage at Risk Register demonstrates that looking after and investing in our historic places can bring communities together,

“The buildings and sites saved this year in the East Midlands show what’s possible with strong partnerships, dedicated individuals and funding support.”

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