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Kedleston Hall, a grand house, parkland and pleasure grounds built to impress: another ‘jolly.’ Part One
Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire.
This is the third of my final ‘jollies’ in 2016.
I hope you enjoyed the previous two.
As you probably know I was fortunate enough to go on several towards the end of last year.
Here is the latest. Let me know what you think.
Another chilly and damp day saw us take a trip to Kedleston Hall (Derbyshire) former home of the Curzon family and now owned and run by The National Trust.
We visited the restaurant first to warm up and have a light lunch. After which we took a tour of the house.
There has been a house at Kedleston since medieval times.
The north front has been called ‘the grandest Palladian facade in Britain.’
Drawing on the monuments of ancient Rome and the designs of the 16th century Italian architect Andrea Palladio, Robert Adam was chosen to be the architect ‘resolved to spare no Expence, with £10,000 a year, Good Temper’d & having taste himself for the Arts.’
Adam set out to build a house that would rival Chatsworth.
The Curzon family came to Britain from Normandy at the time of William the Conqueror and have most likely lived at Kedleston since 1150 and probably since 1198/99 when they were granted ‘all the vill of Ketelestune.’
They established their position in Derbyshire by gradually adding to the estate and by serving as MP (Member of Parliament) for the county from the mid-16th century.
From 1640 onward the estate grew rapidly until it comprised 10,000 acres in Derbyshire and the neighbouring counties.
Mostly due to Sir John Curzon (1598-1686) who also raised the family’s status by being created a baronet in 1641.
Four years later he became the head of the family following the death of Mary Curzon, the former governess of James II, the chatelaine of the great Sackville house of Knole and the last of the Curzons of Croxall.
Funny how these families are all intertwined somehow.
Do take a look at my ‘jollies’ to the homes of Vita Sackville-West at Knole and at
Sissinghurst as I am sure if you enjoy this you will enjoy those ‘jollies.’
A little more historical background and then I’ll get on with the photos.
Sir John sided with the Parliamentarians during the Civil War, but from the early 18th century his descendants were loyal supporters of the King,becoming the great Tory family of Derbyshire, just as the great houses of Chatsworth and Hardwick (the Cavendishes) were the leading Whigs.
I visited both on my ‘jolly’ and will post about them later in this series.
In 1671 Sir John’s son Nathaniel, 2nd Bt. married Sarah Penn, daughter of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, establishing the family’s long ties with America.
I am reminded of being asked, with my husband and a few others – I forget exactly when but I think sometime in the late 1970s – to take part in the very first Fiber-optic telephone call to America from Reading, Berkshire to Reading Pennsylvania.
It was great fun. We were allowed to make a phone call (to America) to whomever we wished. We called an aunt of mine and, typically, she wasn’t at home and didn’t have an answering machine. Don’t laugh.
Back to the house. Wow! I am sure you are saying it too. Wow!
Apparently the house was never meant to be a home, but a place to show off, to parade wealth, power and influence.
The family had their own private state rooms, with most of the house was not lived in as a home, but used to hold parties, receptions with formal ‘rooms to parade.’
Guests were allowed to walk through them admiring the furniture, upholstery and enjoying the fine paintings.
Kedleston was one of the original ‘bling palaces,’ I think.
As always I took way too many photos, I couldn’t resist.
The parkland and pleasure grounds are magnificent and enormous and we didn’t get round them all because of the weather.
The sun did come out from time to time, but mostly it was damp with some drizzle. To be expected so late in the year.
We also went into the church and I’ll post about that later too.
I’ve just had a look at the number of photos I took inside the house and if I want to do my piece justice I think I must stretch this to part two, because there were so many interesting artifacts and things inside the house I’d like you to see, so you can get an idea of the sort of people lived in Kedleston Hall.
So, stand by for Part Two with some of the collections the family gathered.
Meantime if you feel the urge to make a visit yourself, here are the details:
Tel: +44 (0) 1332 842191
Kedleston Hall, near Quarndon, Derby,Derbyshire DE22 5JH
As ever all photos are (c) Jane Risdon 2016 All Rights Reserved.
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