From Tulips to Lions… The Impressive Chatsworth House

The rainy view from our windows in the Old Church B&B in Muirkirk, Scotland. Note the shape of the windows. I suspect they were once filled with stained glass.

It’s a cold, stormy day in Muirkirk Scotland. Peggy and I are hiding out from the weather in the Old Church B&B. As the name suggests, it is indeed an old church that has been converted to a bed and breakfast. I am feeling quite holy.

Sheets of rain are pounding against our windows. The accommodations are spacious, the food great, and the owners, David and Leslie, quite humorous. It’s a great place to hang out for a day and catch up on my blog.

We are now in our final week of a three-week tour of Midlands England and Southwestern Scotland. Peggy’s sister, Jane Hagedorn and her husband Jim, joined us for the first part of the journey.

Jane is into everything English, particularly if it has a garden attached. So our first stop was at Chatsworth House and Gardens, the estate of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. It is located ten miles from Chesterfield, where we stayed our first two nights.

Chesterfield's most famous view, the Crooked Spire. Our taxi driver told us that the legend was the spire would straighten our when a virgin was found in Chesterfield. Given that the church dates back several hundred years, apparently virgins are a rare item.

Chatsworth House and Gardens: Think big, think impressive, think money… and think thousands of peasants helping to support it over the centuries. The house and property date back to the 1500s.

Tulips were the flower of the hour in the gardens. We found them everywhere and in every shape and color. But there were also many other types of posies, sculptures, waterfalls, ducks and gardeners. There was even a maze that Peggy and Jane eventually conquered.


Peggy and Peonies.

This gate was one of my favorite sculptures.

As for the ‘house,’ it is packed with treasures. How often do you walk through someone’s home and come across a Rembrandt?

The various Dukes and Duchesses were collectors… almost to the point of being pack rats, gathering bright shiny baubles from throughout the Empire. Apparently it was verboten to collect what your ancestors did. The result is a museum of miscellany, well worth the price of admission.

This rather impressive lion was one of what I estimate to be 395,281 items packed into the house... but it's a rough estimate.