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Chatsworth, Derbyshire

Historical Description

Chatsworth, formerly extra-parochial, is now a parish containing a grand seat of the Duke of Devonshire, in Derbyshire, on the river Derwent, 3½ miles NE of Bakewell. The domain was held for the Crown at the Conquest by William Peveril, passed to the Leches and the Agards, and was purchased in the 16th century by Sir William Cavendish. A quadrangular mansion, defended by towers, was founded on it by Sir William, and completed by his widow, the famous Countess of Shrewsbury; was the prison for several years of Mary Queen of Scots, and also of Marshal Tallard, taken at Blenheim; was held alternately by the Parliamentarians and the Royalists in the civil wars; and was for some time the abode of Hobbes of Malmesbury as family tutor, and the place where he wrote his tk Wonders of the Peak," but has entirely disappeared. The present mansion was chiefly built in 1687-1706 by the first Duke of Devonshire, after designs by Talman and Wren, but underwent an extension of its north wing subsequent to 1820, after designs by Wyatville, and it was visited in 1768 by Christian VII., in 1816 by Archduke Nicholas, in 1832 by Princess Victoria, and in 1843 by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. It is a magnificent pile, fit for a king, and is often called the " Palace of the Peak." The plan is nearly square, the chief facade measures 750 feet, or including terraces, 1200 feet, the base is rusticated, the upper part has fluted Ionic pillars and pilasters, surmounted .by sculptured frieze and open balustrade, and the extension displays a compound of Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian features. The great hall measures 60 feet by 27, the music-room 35 by 30, the grand drawing-room 48 by 28, the dining-room 58 by 30, the library 90 by 22, and other apartments in proportion, and all possess great wealth of embellishment and furnishing, and contain beautiful wood carvings by Grinling Gibbons, and a fine collection of paintings, &c. The park is nearly 12 miles round, is well wooded and well stocked with deer. The grounds contain famous gardens, formerly under Sir Joseph Paxton, covering about 12 acres, a grand conservatory 300 feet long, 145 wide, and 65 high (the original of the Crystal Palace), an orangery 180 feet long, 27 wide, and 21 high; trees planted by the Emperor Nicholas, the Duchess of Kent, and Queen Victoria; an arboretum of trees and shrubs, grand waterworks, one of which throws a jet to the height of 260 feet, and cascades. In the absence of the Duke of Devonshire, the house is open to visitors daily during the summer months from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The area of the parish is 1292 acres; population, 51. Post town, Chesterfield. Edensor is a model village near the park. See EDENSOR.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyDerbyshire 
Civil parishEdensor 
HundredHigh Peak 
Poor Law unionBakewell 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Church Records, in conjunction with the Derbyshire Record Office, have the Church of England Baptisms (1538-1916), Marriages and Banns (1538-1932), and Burials (1538-1991) online.

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Chatsworth from the following:

Land and Property

A full transcript of the Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Derbyshire is online.

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Derbyshire papers online: