The Manor House’s plain, upright and solid architecture is primarily formed from recycled stones from the once towering Abbey of Sempringham founded in 1131; a casualty of Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries over one hundred years earlier. In fact the stones had probably already been deployed in building the Clinton’s a substantial house in Sempringham, which was a ruin by the time Folkingham Manor was built in the early 1650s. There is no above ground evidence of the monastery, but the ruins remain of the similar Gilbertine monastery of Mattersey Priory (pictured).
Like all architecture, that of the Manor House reflects something of the times in which it was built; a mix of Protestant power and Restoration of royalty. Because of the political unrest during the decades of the mid 1600s the number of substantial houses being built was somewhat limited. Consequently the Manor is one of a relatively small number that provide a bridge between the architecture of the Elizabethan era and the great Baroque revival with Sir Christopher Wren becoming involved in rebuilding 51 churches in London, including St Paul’s Cathedral, following the Fire of London in 1666.
THE 18th CENTURY
When Lord Clinton’s debts mounted he sold the Manor of Folkingham to Richard Wynne in 1690 and so began a hundred year association. This family, with its ancient royal connection to the Welsh Princes formed a powerful Roman Catholic dynasty that became linked in marriage to the Earl of Ancaster, resulting in a branch of the family moving east to Lincolnshire in 1678.
The second Richard Wynne of Folkingham left for Venice in 1734 on the death of his wife and then shortly after married his mistress, who due to her rank of birth remained on the margins of Venice society after the death of her husband. One of his daughters from this union, Giustiniana, was considered a great beauty (although the picture belies that), who shared a forbidden love affair with a Venetian patrician, Andrea Memmo. The relationship was conducted largely by coded letters, though not entirely for the 22 year 3