“the most perfect house to survive from the middle ages”
Lots of guests come and stay with us and plan a visit to Chatsworth. Although we love Chatsworth we would also strongly recommend a visit to Haddon Hall if you have time.
A quirk of fate left Haddon unoccupied from the 17th to the 20th centuries, which means that we can appreciate today, a building left largely unmodernised.
The original house dates from medieval times and there is still evidence of how the house would have been all those centuries ago. What is most evident, however, is how the house grew during Tudor times and you can really get the feeling for how the life of a wealthy family would have changed over the years.
The first owners of the Haddon were the Vernons whose family emblem was the boar. You can see signs of the boar around the Hall.
During the 16th century, the house passed, by marriage, to Sir John Manners, the 1st Duke and Duchess of Rutland, and the owner of Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire. Haddon has been in the Manners family ever since. The family emblem of the Peacock can been seen just not at Haddon but locally too.
The house was left in the hands of caretakers for more than two centuries until John Manners, the 9th Duke of Rutland made it his life work to restore the Hall during the 20th century. Visit the Hall to find out why, despite being the second son, he inherited Haddon rather than his brother, Robert Manners.
Because the Hall is such a well preserved example of an early manor house it is always popular with film makers as a film set for classics such as Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice and The Other Boleyn Girl.
We strongly recommend taking a guided tour, if you can, to hear some of the many fascinating stories of Haddon and its occupants. See the web site for details of tour dates, entrance fees and to book tickets online.
Lea Gardens is a Rhododendron Garden just outside the village of Lea, close to Matlock in Derbyshire. The Garden covers approximately three and a half acres. It is situated within a woodland area, with access paths which allow visitors to see the 500 or more varieties of rhododendrons, azaleas and other plants.
The garden was established by John Marsden-Smedley (of knitwear fame) in the 1930s and was inspired by visits to Bodnant and Exbury Gardens. The garden has grown and the number of species added to over the years and a tea shop was also added which you really shouldn’t miss – the cake selection is amazing!
The Garden is open to the public for viewing and plant sales (and you do not have to enter the garden to access the tea shop). Parking is free, and well-behaved dogs (on a lead) are welcome in the Garden.
The gardens are very close to Lea Bridge and Cromford, which are part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.
We have recently visited Renishaw Hall Vineyard, one of the most northerly vineyards in Europe and certainly the most northerly British award-winning vineyard. We were able to walk around the vineyard and also have a taste of the fantastic wines produced by the Estate.
Renishaw Hall has been home of the Sitwell family for more than 400 years. The vineyard is one of the more recent additions to the Estate having been planted a mere 40 years ago! For the past couple of years the vineyard has been under the management of Kieron Atkinson.
The vineyard was surprising small at just two acres. This small walled vineyard manages to produce approximately 5 tonnes of fruit annually, that can be converted into about 5,000 bottles of wine. Once harvested, the grapes are transported to a winery in Staffordshire where it stays until bottled.
It was fascinating to listen to Keiron. He is amazingly knowledgeable and obviously extremely passionate about producing great quality English wine. The challenges of an English summer mean that he is constantly reviewing his decisions for the resulting crop and how it is to be processed at the winery. The cold spring, dry June and warm summer of 2013 should mean that the grape sugars are higher resulting in great potential for a fabulous vintage. Harvesting will not take place for another month or so yet, so fingers crossed for the last few weeks of growing.
Despite the horrible weather conditions for the past couple of years, the still and sparkling white wines from Renishaw have won national and international awards. Just think what the 2013 vintage might be capable of!
The vineyard is about 30 miles from the holiday cottages.
Chatsworth has recently been voted in the top 10 UK visitor attractions by TripAdvisor users. Only 10 miles away from Hayloft and Byre holiday cottages, it is well worth a visit. Here are a few lesser known facts about Chatsworth and its estate.
The village of Edensor was originally much closer to Chatsworth House. The Fourth Duke of Devonshire felt that the village spoiled his view so he had the entire village (apart from one house) moved! It is reported that when the Duke was presented with the proposed designs for the new village houses, he could not make up his mind so had one built of each design.
Did you know that the Emperor Fountain is a Grade II listed building! The fountain is completely gravity fed. The water flows naturally from the moorland above Chatsworth into the Emperor Lake. Pipework then brings it down the hill to the fountain. It is capable of reaching 90m (290 feet) but is usually “turned down” a bit to save water.
More than 100 people work in the Farm Shop and Restaurant – and, by the way, the cherry scones are THE best
There are more than 1,200 yew trees that make up the maze in the Chatsworth Gardens. That is a lot of hedge trimming!
Chatsworth has been undergoing a huge project of restoration and conservation in the past few years. 2,200 square metres of stonework has been cleaned, 1.25 tonnes of lime mortar has been used to re-point the facades and 42 windows have been re-gilded with 24 carat gold leaf which look amazing, especially when the gold catches the sunlight!. I have been trying to find out (unsuccessfully) how much gold leaf has been used – perhaps someone can tell me?