In the woods of lovely Blickling there is a strange sight for any visitor to the grounds and hall. It is that of a pyramid!
Built upon a base of 45 feet square it is modeled on the tomb of Caius Cestius whose original tomb can be found near the Protestant Cemetery in Rome, Italy. Faced with grey stone, the tomb at Blickling cost the vast sum of £2,270 4s 6d. Built by Lady Caroline Suffield in 1796-7 it contains the remains of her father, the 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire, John Hobart, and his two wives. All other ancestors and relations were buried in the family vault under the north aisle of the church of St. Andrew.
John Hobart became the Earl of Buckinghamshire in 1756. He was the ambassador to Russia in St. Petersburg between 1762 and 1765 and also Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He passed away in 1793, under mysterious circumstances.
Horace Walpole said of his death that "Lord Buckinghamshire suffered from gout in his foot, and that he dipped it in cold water and so killed himself". Horace was the 4th son of Robert Walpole, Prime Minister 1721-1742, and was known for his letter writing which chronicled the major public events, social and artistic life, entertainment and gossip of his age.
In the Print Room at Blickling Hall there can be seen an 18th century print of the tomb of Caius Cestius. Caius was a senior magistrate and was infatuated with Egyptian culture in the 1st century. It was one of Hobart’s ancestors who bought the estate in 1616, and with his architect, Robert Lyminge, pulled down the medieval moated manor house which stood on the site and created Blickling Hall.
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