Queen Anne’s Monument at Wentworth Castle Gardens  

9th May 2024

If you have been walking in the parkland at Wentworth Castle Gardens, you may well have noticed or even walked past an obelisk, known as the Queen Anne monument.  

Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, was a loyal supporter of Queen Anne and the Stuart monarchy, as was his family before him.  When Queen Anne died in 1714 the government chose to bring in the Protestant Hanoverian King George I, rather than the exiled Catholic heir to the throne, James Stuart, the “Old Pretender,”so this was a dangerous time to be a Jacobite, a supporter of the Stuart line.   

In 1733 Lord Strafford had his stone mason, Joseph Bower, erect a monument to Queen Anne with words engraved upon it showing his support for the Jacobite cause. He was well aware of the danger of this, as seen in a letter he wrote to his son in April 1738.  He described entertaining Lord Malton and others from Wentworth Woodhouse saying “… I drove them quick by my obilisk & as they did not aske to read the inscription I did not seem to offer to mind it …”.  He also demonstrated in the inscription his grievance at being the passed over male heir to Wentworth Woodhouse, the estate being inherited unusually, through the female line.  

This listed monument has recently been subject to important conservation work which will enable it to be better appreciated by visitors now and into the future.  Apprentice stonemasons will also improve the badly eroded inscription.  All this work has been made through funding from Barnsley MBC.  

The monument can be easily accessed from a walk in the parkland. Later in the year, return to read the restored inscription and ponder what it meant to Lord Strafford and what might have happened if others had thought it treasonable at the time.  

Queen Anne’s Monument at Wentworth Castle Gardens