Record Details

NHER Number:39802
Type of record:Building
Name:The Obelisk


A limestone obelisk erected in 1729 by William Kent, the first structure to be built within the park. The obelisk stands at the highest point of the park, and is the central point on the avenue leading from the Triumphal Arch, NHER 39812, to the Hall, NHER 1801. Together with the Temple, NHER 39803, it is the only example of Kent's work in the park that survives.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TF 88364 41966
Map Sheet:TF84SE

Full description

Obelisk, erected 1729 on the highest point of the estate, the first structure to be built within the park. It was at this time at the south end of the axis, but later became a central point on the avenue from the Triumphal Arch to the Hall. It is one of the only two structures by Kent to survive in the park. It is 24.4m (80 feet) high but appears squat. It is composed of vermiculated and rusticated stone panels on a plinth of swastikae; this casing was erected first and then filled with loose bricks and gravel as it rose (S1). [1] has found mentions in Holkham Archives to the stone being shipped from Bristol to Wells, and drawn to Holkham with ropes made in the ropewalk at Westward House, Wells, by a Mr Hudson.
See (S2) in file.
E. Rose (NLA), 29 April 2003.

Previously NHER 1802 context 3.

Monument Types

  • OBELISK (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Designation: Historic England. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1170847.
---Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A.. TF 8841A-B.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N and Wilson, W. 1999. Norfolk 2: North-West and South. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 421.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Serial: 1818. Excursions through Norfolk..
<S2>Photograph: Edwards, D.A.. 1988. ELL 1-2.

Related records

1802Part of: Holkham Park (Designed Landscape)

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