When I mentioned that to my husband, he didn’t roll his eyes or anything. He’s always a gentleman, and his patience for everything to do with my obsession borders on the superhuman. He only pointed out that I’ve been to Lyme Park and Chatsworth umpteen times, but I’ve never stayed in Rutland, so I should use this opportunity to explore the local area instead of driving back and forth to Derbyshire.
Strangely enough, I managed to summon some forbearance :D, and I’m glad I did. Rutland is an absolute gem, and the neighbouring counties also have a great deal to offer: unspoilt countryside, lovely villages at every turn, and a fair number of stately homes I had never visited before.
One of them is Belvoir Castle (pronounced as ‘Beaver Castle’).
I cannot even begin to imagine the cost, but speaking of swords, let’s not leave Belvoir without a glimpse of the Guard Room.
On a more peaceful note, let me show you some of the picture-perfect cottages I came across as I was driving around the small and beautiful county of Rutland:
A few words chalked on a piece of slate informed the visitors that, at peak season, the walled garden can produce 200kg of fruit and veg every week. They seem to be using organic methods, just as the gardeners of Pemberley would have done, so there is reason to believe that the Pemberley walled garden might have yielded similar amounts of produce. Perhaps a proportion was taken to the local markets, but even so, Mrs Reynolds and the kitchen maids must have had their work cut out with all the jam-making, stewing, pickling and preserving, in preparation for the winter months.
Finally, let me share photos of a couple of places you might recognise from one of my older posts at Austen Variations:
A kind and very helpful lady let me have a peek into one of the information folders made available to the guests of the Swan Hotel. She also told me that the Swan is home to at least three friendly ghosts. If anything, I’m surprised that there are only three. According to the folder, there has been an inn on this site from 1507. A small plaque mounted on the façade mentions that the present building was erected between 1794 and 1796. It was designed by Henry Holland for Francis Russell, the 5th Duke of Bedford. Some of Henry Holland’s most notable commissions include the remodelling of Carlton House, Cardiff Castle, Althorp, Woburn Abbey and several other country seats and public buildings (more details available on Wikipedia). He also designed Brooks’s Club in St James’s Street and built the original Marine Pavilion in Brighton, later redesigned and extended by John Nash into the far more flamboyant Royal Pavilion that we can see today.
The Angel in Grantham has an even longer history. It has been a focal point for travellers along the Great North Road for over 800 years. It began as a hostel built by the Knights Templar in 1203, and there is evidence that King John and his courtiers stayed at the Angel in 1213, two years before the Magna Carta was signed. Of the present building, the oldest part is the arched doorway, ornamented with carvings of Edward III and his Queen, Phillipa de Hainault, who stayed at the Angel in the 14th century. Other royal visitors include Edward IV in 1469; Richard III in 1483; Charles I in 1633; George IV, who stayed at the Angel several times, and Edward VII in 1866.
In the days of coach travel, hundreds of coaches pulled up at the Angel every week. Two postilion uniforms have been discovered in a forgotten cupboard, and are now displayed in glass cases in the King’s Room. This state apartment (now a restaurant) covers the whole of the first floor and still has the original carved stone ceilings in the three bay windows. It has been known for centuries as La Chambre du Roi or The King’s Room because King Richard the III had received the Great Seal there, during his stay at the Angel.
Thanks for travelling with me! I hope you had fun on the whistle-stop tour. Take care, and see you again soon!
Information folder at the Swan Hotel
Leaflet ‘The Angel and Royal – A Brief History’