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Chatsworth House

View of Chatsworth House and Lake with Fountain

View of Chatsworth House and Lake with Fountain

Chatsworth house is the country estate of the Duke of Devonshire, whose coat of arms reads “Cavendo Tutus” – Latin for “safety through caution.” Spend your next long weekend like the royals, as a guest of nobility at Chatsworth house.

History Of Chatsworth house

You’ll find Chatsworth house in Chatsworth, Derbyshire, of course, in the U.K. Chatsworth is located three-and-one-half miles northeast of Bakewell, if you know where that is. If not, get a GPS unit that will take you right to the car park.

The Chatsworth estate has housed a mansion since the 16th Century. In Anglo Saxon times, after the Norman Conquest, Chetel’s Manor was deposed, and a neighboring family named Leche acquired the property.

In 1553, Sir William Cavendish, Treasurer of the King’s Chamber and second husband of Bess of Hardwicke, the Countess of Shrewsbury and daughter of Derbyshire squire John of Hardwick, began to build a new home on the estate.

The Dining Room at Chatsworth House

The Dining Room at Chatsworth House

They controlled the D River by building a series of fish ponds that served as reservoirs; today these ponds add charm to the stately grounds.

Mary, Queen of Scots, stayed at Chatsworth house, in the apartments above the great hall. The rooms are now known as the “Queen of Scots rooms,” when she was the prisoner of the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, Bess’s fourth husband.

The 4th Earl of Devonshire became the first Duke in 1694. He reconstructed the mansion in the English baroque architectural style. In 1811, the sixth Duke, known as the Bachelor Duke, reworked the mansion in an Italianate style, with generous use of marble embellishments. The Bachelor Duke concentrated on alterations that met updated standards of comfort and casual living. He kept the unusual courtyard style of the architecture and added corridors so rooms could be gotten into without walking through them, one by one.

Inside Chatsworth House

Inside Chatsworth House

Notably, the Duke converted the long gallery to a library for his vast book collection. The new library, embellished with green malachite columns, was found to provide insufficient storage for the Duke’s collection, so it was gutted and reworked with floor-to-ceiling bookcases all around the room, a wooden gallery offering access to the high shelves near the top.

By 1908, Chatsworth house was onset by death duties and other debt. In 1912, the family sold books printed by William Caxton and a collection of Shakespeare folios to the Huntington Library in California. Portions of the estate in Somerset, Sussex, and Derbyshire were sold soon after World War I ended. The Great Conservatory at Chatsworth garden was demolished, as it required ten full-time workers to keep it running and loads of coal to keep it heated.

In many ways, however, life at Chatsworth went on as usual. By 1929, the staff consisted of 39 full time workers, including a butler, groom of the chambers, a valet, three footmen, a housekeeper, maid, 11 housemaids, two sewing women, on cook, two kitchen maids, a vegetable maid, several scullery, stillroom, and dairy maids, six laundry maids, and the secretary to the Duchess.

Chatsworth house and surrounding grounds

Chatsworth house and surrounding grounds

In addition to the live-in staff, Chatsworth house had a daily staff of upholsterers, window cleaner, lodge attendants, firemen, joiners, plumbers, and electricians. The comptroller and the clerk of works supervised all these workers.

During World War II, Chatsworth was occupied by 300 girls attending Penrhos College. The stately rooms were turned into dormitories, but the mansion was never meant to be occupied by so many humans. The damp breath of so many girls actually caused fungus to grow on the walls behind the priceless paintings.

In modern times, Chatsworth house has been turned over to a charitable trust and opened to the public. Visitors truly vacation on a piece of history when they visit Chatsworth house.

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