Chatsworth

CHATSWORTH, a hamlet, in the parish of Edensor, union of Bakewell, hundred of High Peak, N. division of the county of Derby, 3½ miles (E. N. E.) from Bakewell, containing, with the township of Edensor, 379 inhabitants. The hamlet comprises 1105a. 1r. 21p. of land, the property of the Duke of Devonshire; and consists almost wholly of Chatsworth Park, which extends into the hamlet of Edensor, and the townships of Baslow and Beeley, and comprises 1200 acres of land, whereof about 400 are wood. The park is about nine miles in circumference, and is stocked with cattle, sheep, and about 2000 head of brown and fallow deer; it is diversified with rugged cliffs, pleasing undulations, verdant lawns, beautiful pleasure-grounds, and bold eminences crowned with plantations, while the Derwent winds its serpentine course through the vale. The magnificent mansion of Chatsworth is built upon the site of a more ancient edifice, in which Mary, Queen of Scots, passed a considerable portion of her captivity. Sir John Gell garrisoned the old mansion for the parliament in 1643; but he capitulated to the Earl of Newcastle, who placed in it Col. Eyre, with a sufficient force, to hold it for the king; and in 1645 it withstood the siege of 400 parliamentarians under Gell, who, at the expiration of fourteen days, raised the siege, and retired to Derby. After the battle of Blenheim, in 1704, Marshal Tallard, the French general, having been made prisoner on that occasion, was sent to reside at Chatsworth.

The present edifice was begun about 1687, and completed in 1706, by William Cavendish, the first duke of Devonshire, and has been since greatly enlarged and improved. The principal or western front consists of three divisions of equal dimensions, the central compartment, which is projected, being distinguished by four fluted Ionic columns that support an ornamented frieze and a pediment, within the tympanum of which the arms of the family are admirably sculptured in stone; the right and left portions of the front have each four fluted Ionic pilasters, and the whole is surmounted with open balustrades, divided into sections adorned with urns and statues. The south front is also very imposing, and has a double flight of steps in the centre. The taste and magnificence of the present duke have been displayed by the erection of the great northern wing, from the designs of Wyatville. This splendid wing is 385 feet in length, and forms a continuation of the east front, making the whole line 557 feet, and presenting one of the best specimens of masonry in the kingdom. The exterior is classically beautiful; the northern termination being distinguished by an elegant Italian tower, in the construction of which the Doric, the Ionic, and the Corinthian orders have been tastefully employed.

The grand entrance to the mansion commands an extensive and varied view of scenery of uncommon beauty: the magnificent hall is adorned with rich paintings, and round three sides of it is a gallery defended by open balustrades. The buildings comprise, besides numerous suites of apartments for visiters, a large number of state rooms, including a gorgeous banqueting-hall, great dining-room, and drawing-room; a sculpture-gallery, in which are the finest works of art; a gallery of paintings, containing rare specimens of the ancient masters; a splendid library, 90 feet in length; a music-room, billiard-room; armoury; and chapel, which is seated and lined throughout with cedar-wood; and suites of private apartments for the duke and household. In the gardens, lawns, and shrubberies, are fine pieces of sculpture, with water-works and fountains; the orangery is 108 feet long, and a conservatory covers about an acre of land. Her Majesty, her royal consort, and the court, visited the Duke of Devonshire on December 1st, 1843; and remained at Chatsworth till the 4th.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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