Autumn is one of my favourite times of year for a good walk and explore. The leaves are turning all shades of red and gold. And if you can catch a sunny day, even better. So the wife and I decided this week to visit Chatsworth House near Bakewell in Derbyshire. Sat magnificently along the River Derwent, it is the seat of the Duke of Devonshire and has been home to the Cavendish family since 1549.
Known as one of the richest and most influential aristocratic families in England since the 16th century, they are descended from Sir John Cavendish of Cavendish in Suffolk. Of course, Sir John was an English judge and politician, and has quite his own history to discover.
Did you know that the name ‘Chatsworth’ is nothing to do with the Cavendish family, but instead is a corruption of ‘Chetel’s-worth’, meaning “the Court of Chetel” – its original owner being a man called Chetel, of Norse origin, held lands in the area during the reign of Edward the Confessor.
The house was later acquired by the Leche family who owned property nearby. But in 1549, they sold everything to Sir William Cavendish. Today, 16 generations later, Chatsworth House is home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. And the property is renowned for its art, landscape and beautiful surroundings, reflecting centuries of wealth and refinement.
If you’ve not yet visited Chatsworth House, it’s highly recommended. Bakewell nearby is worth a look too.
Main image: Rob Bendall