We forced ourselves out of the house early today, before lassitude sets in, and walked a couple of miles around Welton Vale – not strenuous, but enough that we can say that we have done something.
Our journey took us past the Raikes Mausoleum, which we saw on our visit last year. In the intervening time, a large hole has appeared – big enough for a small person to climb in and down to the crypt. I’m not sure what you would find down there. I’m also not sure that I would like to find out.
It’s a real shame to see it fall into disrepair. There are, according to the experts, very few mausoleums of this type left – and the Raikes family has an interesting history.
The ground floor was sealed up in the 1960s after repeated break-ins and desecration, and will probably stay that way. There isn’t any information online about the interior. This listing on Historic England describes the exterior:
Mausoleum. 1818 for Sir Robert Raikes. Limestone ashlar. Circular plan: probably a copy of a Roman model. Tall single storey on basement. Rusticated base with segmental openings to basement. Eight steps to sealed, rendered and lined doorway in architrave: scrolled brackets to projecting cornice over frieze of bay leaves and garlands. Over the door is a corniced panel with the inscription “AEDIFICAVIT ROBERTUS RAIKES ARMIGER AD MDCCCXVIII”. Around the building are 8 Doric pilasters dividing it into bays: each alternate bay blind. Other bays have projecting panels with cornice and blocking course carrying sarcophagi in low relief: above are ventilation holes in sunk corniced panels. Frieze of triglyphs and guttae: Doric cornice, blocking course, and stepped ashlar dome. The building is enclosed by a circular flagged area defined by a dwarf wall, once carrying iron railings (now removed).