Penshaw Monument


Penshaw Monument

Penshaw Monument (officially The Earl of Durham's Monument) is a folly built in 1844 on Penshaw Hill (locally pronEng|ˈpɛnʃə), in Tyne and Wear, North East England, between the areas of Washington and Houghton-le-Spring in the city of Sunderland. It is dedicated to John George Lambton, first Earl of Durham and the first Governor of the Province of Canada.

The Monument stands 136 metres above sea level. Built as a half-sized replica of the renowned Temple of Hephaestus in Athens, the monument dominates the local landscape. Penshaw Monument was designed by John and Benjamin Green and built by Thomas Pratt of Sunderland, based on the Doric order. The Monument is the best preserved model of a Doric Hexastyle temple in Britain. Charles Vane, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry presented Penshaw Hill as a suitable site.

It is 100 feet (30 metres) long, 53 feet (16 metres) wide and 70 feet (20 metres) high. The columns are each 6 feet and 6 inches (2 metres) in diameter.

Resting on the columns is the entablature which itself can be split into three main parts. The architrave, the main spanning beam across the tops of the pillars. Above the architrave is the frieze, the central patterned section. Then the cornice is the upper part which projects outwards. Finally, the pediments are the triangular facings at each end of the Monument. The foundation stone was laid by Thomas Dundas, 2nd Earl of Zetland (the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England) on 28 August 1844.

One of the pillars contains a spiral staircase to a walkway around the top of the monument. This was closed to the public after a 15 year old boy, Temperley Arthur Scott, fell to his death on Easter Monday 1926. The boy was with three of his friends. There were about twenty other people at the top of the Monument at the time. Witnesses said that the boys went round the walkway twice and then decided to go around a third time. In order to pass from one side of the Monument to the other, they had to pass round the ends where there was no protecting wall.

It was acquired by the National Trust as a gift from the 5th Earl of Durham in 1939.

Penshaw Monument features on the club badge of Sunderland A.F.C.. It is also reputed to be the home of the Lambton Worm.

The placard on the front of the monument reads:

THIS STONE WAS LAID BYTHOMAS, EARL OF ZETLANDGRAND MASTER OF THE FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS OF ENGLANDASSISTED BYTHE BRETHREN OF THE PROVINCES OF DURHAM AND NORTHUMBERLANDON THE 28TH AUGUST 1844BEING THE FOUNDATION STONE OF A MEMORIAL TO BE ERRECTEDTO THE MEMORY OFJOHN GEORGE EARL OF DURHAMWHOAFTER REPRESENTING THE COUNTY OF DURHAM IN PARLIAMENTFOR FIFTEEN YEARSWAS RAISED TO THE PEERAGEAND SUBSEQUENTLY HELD THE OFFICES OFLORD PRIVY SEAL, AMBASSADOR EXTRAORDINARY ANDMINISTER AT THE COURT OF ST. PETERSBURG ANDGOVERNOR-GENERAL OF CANADA.HE DIED ON THE 28TH OF JULY 1840 IN THE 49TH YEAR OF HIS AGETHE MONUMENT WILL BE ERECTEDBY THE PRIVATE SUBSCRIPTIONS OF HIS FELLOW COUNTRYMENADMIRERS OF HIS DISTINGUISHED TALENTS ANDEXAMPLARY PRIVATE VIRTUES.

DONATED TO THE NATIONAL TRUST ON 1ST SEPTEMBER 1939

External links

* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/wear/content/panoramas/penshaw_monument_view1_360.shtml BBC Wear - Penshaw Monument - Interactive 360° inside]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/wear/content/panoramas/penshaw_monument_view2_360.shtml BBC Wear - Penshaw Monument - Interactive 360° outside]
* [http://www.rcdhn.org.uk/about_the_diocese/penshaw_monument.htm Detailed information about the structure and the boy's death]
* [http://www.rcdhn.org.uk/about_the_diocese/penshaw_monument.php Roman Catholic Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle]


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