Explore Chatsworth House
Posted on April 14, 2016 by Sabina
Beautiful architecture, stunning grounds, diverse collections…have you guessed it yet?
Of course- it’s Chatsworth House. With so much to discover, it’s no wonder that this historic site is one of England’s most popular attractions. With the release of our fantastic Chatsworth House Break, we wanted to give you some more information about the history of this wonderful site.
Chatsworth House is a magnificent stately home located in the Peak District National Park, Derbyshire and is the seat to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. The house has been in the Cavendish family since the 1500’s, with the collections and architecture evolving over the centuries.
Chatsworth House has a varied past, but was originally built by Sir William Cavendish and his third wife, Bess Hardwick in the mid-16th century. A site was selected near the River Derwent in a beautiful expanse of parkland, and the history of Chatsworth began.
Several generations of the family have made Chatsworth home, with a range of changes that make the house the fascinating attraction we see today. One of the most significant changes to Chatsworth House came in the mid-17th century by the 4th Earl of Devonshire, who became the 1st Duke to occupy the house. Initial plans were made to re-build the South Wing although, in following years, many other sections of the house were also drastically altered.
Many of the collections seen in Chatsworth came from the influence of the 6th Duke, who transformed the house with his love of building, gardening, sculpture and books. Not only did the Duke built the North Wing for his collections but he also had many of the rooms in the East Side converted to bedrooms, now one of the most complete set of bedrooms with their original furnishings remaining.
Image sourced from Tumblr
Social and economic changes began to affect the family’s lifestyle from the 20th century. Following the death of the 8th Duke of Devonshire and some years later, the death of the 10th Duke, a large sum of money was owed. Several valuable books, artworks and acres of land were sold, along with several houses owned by the Cavendish family transferred to the National Trust.
Chatsworth House was once again altered following the departure of Penrhos college teachers and pupils who occupied the house during the World War II. Much of the building needed work and the 11th Duke and Duchess ordered the house to be re-wired, the layout to be changed and many rooms to be renovated. The creation of ‘The Chatsworth House Trust’ then followed in 1981, with the intention of preserving the site for “the benefit of the public.”
Although Chatsworth had been open to the public for many years, the 11th Duchess of Devonshire was the driving force behind making the house one of Britain’s most popular- visitor attractions. Until her death in September 2014, the Duchess was a very active part of promoting and improving Chatsworth House including adding the maze, the cottage gardens and several modern sculptures.
Work has continued at Chatsworth House over the years, including a £14 million restoration in 2011 during which a highly skilled team took on the task of restoring the stonework, carvings and gold gilding to its former glory.
Members of the public can now visit Chatsworth throughout the year including a variety of events such as the famous ‘Christmas at Chatsworth’. Admission fees all go towards the Chatsworth House Trust which continues to preserve this wonderful site- a site of history, stunning architecture, art, natural beauty and education.
We’ve given you the past, now go and explore the present-