NEAR DERBY, DERBYSHIRE.-EARL OF HARRINGTON.
THOUGH there does not appear to have ever been a castle on
the site of the residence at present under our notice, nor
any feature of the building that can lay claim to such a title,
yet as it has been well observed that in England every man's
house is said to be his castle, so that world-wide saying gave
an undoubted right to the Earl of Harrington, who built this
so-called castle, to give it that designation if it pleased
him to do so.
The estate of Elvaston is situated about five miles from the
town of Derby.
It was first settled by Sir John Stanhope, father of the Earl
of Chesterfield, on the eldest son of his second marriage.
In the year 1643 the old hall was held by his widow, when
Sir John Gell, the Parliamentarian, with his forces besieged
and plundered it. He further proceeded to the church and destroyed
a tomb, on the effigy of which Lady Stanhope had expended £600,
and then wantonly rooted up her ladyship's flower-garden. Strange
to say, his next step was to marry the lady herself, for the
express purpose, as is stated, of "destroying the glory
of her husband and his house." Probably no more effectual
mode of doing so could have been resorted to than a union with
one who presented so great a contrast to the gallant and loyal
spirit of her departed husband.
In the year 1817 important alterations were made in the castle.
The Gothic hall that forms the entrance was begun, and it is
furnished with a series of valuable specimens of ancient armour.
There are several very fine apartments, among which may be
mentioned a diningroom, drawing-room, and library. Gilding
has been extensively brought into requisition, even the statuary
being ornamented with it.
"With the exception of the wondrous gardens at Alton
Towers, those at Elvaston stand unrivalled. The Allanton process
of transplanting full-grown trees has been very successfully
practised, under the direction of Mr. Barrow, the head gardener.
Every beautiful tree for miles round has been brought to Elvaston,
with as much ease as Birnam Wood came to Dunsinane, and the
result is such an arboretum as no other
nobleman's seat can shew. Gilded statuary, interspersed among
these, has the rich effect which green and gold always produce.
Water, too, has been made by machinery a great auxiliary to
the beauty of the scene. Beautiful, however, as Elvaston gardens
confessedly are, they were, during the late Earl's time, entirely
shut up from the public. Even his lordship's own tenantry could
not gain admittance.
The present more liberal-minded Earl has shewn a better feeling,
and so great has been the desire of the public to avail themselves
of this new privilege that it was suggested that some security
against the great influx of people was absolutely necessary.
Special days have therefore been fixed upon, and a small
sum charged for admittance, which is generally devoted to
the county charities. The sums realized have been considerable;
and it is not unusual on these public days to see several
thousands enjoying this enchanted scene. The river Derwent
bounds the domain on the north. The adjoining church, covered
with ivy, and containing several fine monuments, is well
worth a visit.
A few years ago it was hung with those rustic funeral garlands
of which Derbyshire has retained the last trace."
The family of Lord Harrington derives from Sir Richard Stanhope,
living in the reign of Henry the Third.
 Morris, Rev. F. O. (1880),"Picturesque
Views of Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain
and Ireland", Volume 2. Published in London by William
Mackenzie. The drawings for the book were by Alexander F Lydon
(1836-1917) and printed, using the "Baxter process",
by Benjamin Fawcett (1808-93) of Driffield, Yorkshire. One
woodblock was used per colour and oil-based ink achieved the
depth of colour.
Also see, elsewhere on this web site:
Kelly's 1891 Directory.
Wolley Manuscripts, Derbyshire for more information about
Derbyshire deeds, pedigrees, documents and wills
Garlands at Matlock Church