Spoils of war
They were reputed to have been removed as spoils of war by Napoleon from a Royal Palace in Madrid and taken by him to Versailles for display. It was after Napoleons defeat in 1819 that the third Earl had them shipped to England.
William Barron’s account in the publication 'Head Gardener' stated that the gates were once “placed in front of the castle, within 106 yards of it” and probably marked the entrance to a sweeping gravel drive to the south front.
What is clear however, is that they were moved by Barron to their present position in 1834 and were re-erected, flanked by 15 foot high cast iron railings made especially for them in the West Midlands.
The entire structure is 115 feet long and 20 feet high and supported at either end by stone pillars faced with Chellaston alabaster and topped with eighteenth century statues depicting Jason and the Golden Fleece and Hercules and the Nemean Lion.
They have been recently restored and after a detailed paint analysis was carried out, repainted in their original colours.
The Harrington coat of arms sits atop of the main central gate ‘A DEO ET REGE’ (For God and King).