Living Stories on the Road: Chatsworth House (aka Pemberley)

Last week, I talked about my pilgrimage to Canterbury.  Leaving behind the grand and medieval, my last stop on my journey through England was somewhere quite different from Canterbury and on the opposite side of the country.  I made my way to Derbyshire, through rolling, rainy countryside, past a little sign that read ‘Netherfield’ (although there was no indication if it had been let, at last), to a village called Baslow where there was, I can positively state, absolutely nothing (Okay, there were maybe two shops and a few houses…).

My companion and I walked a long road through field and forest to reach our destination: Chatsworth House, home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.

This statue is featured in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice film and it immediately caught my attention when I saw the film. I was delighted to find it in the house as well.

The reason I chose this and not some other grand and impressive lordly estate in the English countryside is because this house (if you have not yet recognized it) is the house that appears in the newest Pride and Prejudice film representing Mr Darcy’s home: Pemberley.

I have also read that Jane Austen herself used this house as her inspiration for Pemberley after she visited it, though she never confirmed that in writing.  The 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice used a different Derbyshire estate: Lyme Park.  But Chatsworth, used in the latest film, is the one that Austen favored.

They gradually ascended for half a mile, and then found themselves at the top of a considerable eminence, where the wood ceased, and the eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated on the opposite side of a valley, into which the road with some abruptness wound. It was a large, handsome, stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills;—and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely adorned. Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place where nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste. They were all of them warm in her admiration; and at that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!

The house does suit the description nicely, complete with large river running along one side of the park and the ridge of high woody hills behind it.  It is an impressive home.

Apparently, a certain duke and duchess claim ownership, but for Austen fans, this house belongs to the Darcys.  The weather was incredibly drab and rainy on the day I visited, alas, but I was still able to summon my powers of imagination and watch the characters from that beloved novel walking across that bridge, through this garden, into this grand hall or past that beautiful library.

Yes, I could see it.

I won’t discuss my opinion about the newest film as opposed to the earlier version.  Everyone has a favorite.  All I know is that Chatsworth House called to mind favorite scenes from the old film and beautiful moments from the new one.  Like Elizabeth, I didn’t have the time to make a grand tour of the Lake District and see more of these amazing estates.  My time was short and I had other countries to visit.

But for one day, I was able to explore a grand old home and imagine the romance that took place there (because a story as good as this one cannot help but surpass the reality).

Next Week: Waxing eloquent about songs and stories and stories in songs
For more photos: My Travel Blog

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About Melissa

generally in love with things Celtic, mythological, fantastic, sharp and pointy, cute and fuzzy, intellectual, snarky, cheerful, or some combination thereof. Such things as sarcastic bunnies wielding claymores might come to mind...

Posted on May 16, 2012, in Art, Authors, Books, Jane Austen, Lantern Hollow Press Authors, Melissa Rogers, Photography, Story, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. You are treating me to sites I have yet to visit, but are on the “to-do” list one day. Thank you for that, Melissa. As I mentioned before (I think)–these are little mini-vacations that provide a break in busy days on the computer.

  2. The interiors do not look quite Regency enough for Pride and Prejudice, but the exterior certainly has the right look for Pemberley. I’m really enjoying your travel blog and look forward to each installment.

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