Pierrepont and Thoresby Hall (the first building).
Above: The first Thoresby Hall from a print by J. Walker.
Robert de Pierrepont came to England with William the Conqueror during the Norman Conquest. In 1500 his descendants built the present Holme Pierrepont. In the first part of the 17th Century, Sir Robert Pierrepont (1585 - 1643), 1st Earl of Kingston upon Hull, bought Thoresby from William Lodge, an Alderman of London, for his second son William.
William Pierrepont (1607 - 1679), then spent £1000 a year aquiring land around Thoresby between 1633 and 1643. He was a Parliamentarian, referred to as "William the Wise" because his opinions were much valued by noblemen of the day. His moderate attitude and respect for the King, made him an obvious choice for mediator and negotiator between Charles 1st and the Roundhead movement, and this he did on more than one occasion. It is a known fact that Oliver Cromwell himself spent the night at Thoresby in 1651 on his way to the Battle of Worcester at Evesham.
Robert's first son Henry Pierrepont (William's elder brother) was the 2nd Earl of Kingston upon Hull. When Henry died without heir in 1680, his great nephew Robert became 3nd Earl of Kingston upon Hull. When Robert also died without heir his brother William became the 4th Earl of Kingston upon Hull, and that's where things become a little clearer.
William Pierrepont (1662 - 1690), 4th Earl of Kingston, obtained a further 1,270 acres of land for £7,100, combined them with what he already possessed in Perlethorpe and Thoresby, and formed Thoresby Park. Soon after this in 1683 he built the original Thoresby Hall (a.k.a. Thoresby House).
William the 4th Earl also died without heir, and so was succeeded by his brother Evelyn Pierrepont (1665 - 1726), the 5th Earl of Kingston upon Hull, later upgraded to 1st Duke of Kingston upon Hull in 1715. Evelyn's only son died of smallpox and so he was succeeded by his grandson, also called Evelyn, the 2nd Duke of Kingston. It is this 2nd Duke who can be seen in the full version of the Tillemans painting edited below, and it was he who extended Thoresby Lake and built the second Hall after the first was destroyed by fire.
A mansion already existed by the lake, built c.1590, with some documents describing it as Elizabethan in character. But as it was built before the 4th Earl established Thoresby Park / Thoresby Estate, it doesn't merit the title Thoresby House. It was this mansion which William Pierrepont 2nd Earl of Kingston replaced in 1683 when building the original Thoresby Hall. This was a rectangular red brick building with stone dressings, designed by William Tallman who would go on to design Chatsworth House. It had two storeys plus an attic, featured 13 bays along its front, and was clearly influenced in it design by the Italian Palaces. In 1738 The Kennels were built about half a mile eastward of the Hall.
On 4th March 1745, only 58 years after it was built, this Thoresby Hall was badly damaged by fire, and much property lost. However, during the 22 years between the fire and the building of a second Hall, Evelyn the 2nd Duke of Kingston certainly had long periods of residence on Thoresby Estate, monitoring his extensions to the Lake, so quite possibly parts of the Hall were still habitable. Alternatively he may have resided at The Kennels.