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Page last updated at 11:44 GMT, Wednesday, 1 September 2010 12:44 UK
Restoration of Wentworth Castle Rotunda completed
Rotunda at Wentworth Castle
The restored Rotunda at Wentworth Castle, based on a Roman temple

Rotunda: is it Latin for a podgy person?

No. It's the name given to circular buildings which often have a domed roof.

There is one in Barnsley which has had more than a quarter of a million pounds spent on it to save it from ruin.

Originally built in the mid-1700s, the Rotunda at Wentworth Castle Gardens is a copy of an ancient temple at Tivoli in Rome.

'Complete ruin'

It was in an awful state and English Heritage had it on its list of buildings designated as being at risk.

Now, after much sweat and quite a lot of money - £280,000 to be precise - the Grade I listed Rotunda is back in fine shape.

What has the money been spent on?

The colonnade (columns) and drum (circular interior walls) have been re-roofed. In addition, repairs have been made to the entablature - that is the architectural term for the bit between the columns and the roof.

The marble floor inside has also been reinstated with a beautiful black and white geometric pattern that is typical of the period.

Black and white marble floor of the Rotunda
The marble floor in the Rotunda was repaired as part of the restoration

Michael Klemperer, the head gardener at Wentworth, said the Rotunda was badly in need of repair:

"It was a complete ruin. The first phase was just consolidating the building, making sure it didn't fall down. There were trees growing through it at that stage.

"The second phase, which we've completed now, involved putting on a roof to protect the main core of the structure and repairing the floor and other detailing ."

The building was originally planned by Thomas Wentworth, the first Earl of Strafford, but it was executed by his son, William, the second Earl.

It was completed in 1746, although it was planned between 1708 and 1739.

The design was based on a temple to the Roman goddess, Vesta, at Tivoli in Rome.

That was one of the 'must-see' monuments on the Grand Tour of Europe which wealthy young men often completed during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Wentworth Castle Trust Heritage Director, Vicky Martin, said: "We are delighted that the Rotunda has been restored. It means that we can use the building and various uses are currently under consideration."

One possibility is to use it as a wedding venue but other 'secret' ideas are being kept under wraps for now. But the Trust has ruled out turning it into residential accommodation.

The repair of the Rotunda is just the latest stage in a £16m programme of restoration work at Wentworth Castle.

Between 2004 and 2008, the gardens, parkland and woodland were tackled along with major repairs to the facade of the Castle, in phase one of the restoration scheme.

The next big project is to bring the Victorian Conservatory back to its former glory.

Victorian conservatory at Wentworth Castle
The Victorian conservatory at Wentworth Castle which also needs repair

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) pledged £220,000 in September 2009 to pay for detailed refurbishment plans to be drawn up.

The Trust has up to two years from that date to submit the plans to the HLF and apply for the £2.5m it is seeking towards the £3.7m total cost of the restoration project.

You can see the progress being made on restoring the Wentworth Castle, including the Rotunda, as part of Heritage Open Days 2010 .

These take place from 9 to 12 September 2010 and Wentworth rangers will accompany parkland visitors to the Rotunda, as well as the newly restored Serpentine Bridge, at 1100 BST on each of the four days.

Wentworth conservatory's lifeline
29 Sep 09 |  England
Estate opens after 15.2m revamp
03 May 07 |  South Yorkshire
Historic estate wins 10.3m
23 Jul 03 |  South Yorkshire



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