08/09/2016

Calke Abbey || The Un-stately Home

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

Mr C and I took a trip out the other day. We've been saying for a long time that we should visit Calke Abbey as it's fairly close to where we live but never managed it, well, that's now ticked off the list.

Calke Abbey is a baroque house built on the site of a former priory and completed in 1704 for Sir John Harper. I won't go over all the history, you can read that yourself, but basically the house and estate were owned by successive Harpur baronets and were ultimately inherited by Sir Vauncey Harpur-Crewe (the last baronet) who was devoted to his collection of natural history specimens. The house and estate were passed down the generations and finally into the hands of Charles Harpur-Crew. His sudden death led to crippling death duties (£8m of an estate worth £14m) and in 1985 the estate was transferred to the National Trust. 

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

The National Trust have done remedial works rather than a full restoration, and the interiors of the house remain as it was found in 1985. More or less untouched. It's as though the family just upped sticks and walked right out. It's quite eery seeing everything like that.

You start you tour around the stable buildings which are huge in themselves! Then you make you way down to the main house. 

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

I wasn't prepared for how much 'stuff' there was in the house. It's so cluttered but the Harpur-Crewes were a wonderfully eccentric family who loathed to throw anything away so therefore amassed a massive collection, well, of anything and everything really. There's beautiful crockery, clothing, fine art and many more fascinating pieces from years gone by. The biggest collection is the stuffed animals and birds. They're bloody everywhere, peering at you from every corner. Quite freaky. 

Come take a little tour around with me. I'm not showing too much because you really should go yourself.

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

Gadgets and gizmos and childhood toys and an awesome Vest pocket Kodak camera!

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

Butlers pantry

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine  Butlers pantry

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

The Library

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine  The Library

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

I think the following stuffed things and toys were all in the Yellow Room but don't quote me on that. There were so many rooms it was hard to keep up and remember. Towards the end this room was used as a storage room.

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

The bedroom of Sir Henry Harper and Nanette, Lady Crew, is shown exactly as The National Trust found it. Clothes, shoes, fancy parasols, all sorts.

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

Doesn't matter who you are, we all have to go!!!!

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

Through the eery servants passage and into The Kitchen.

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine  The Kitchen

All items as they were found. This main kitchen was abandoned in the 1920's due to a reduction in servants as a cost cutting measure. Just look at those pot and pans, just left there.

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine The kitchen

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

The cellars and the tunnels are incredible but you don't have to exit through these, there is another way out if you'd rather.

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

We didn't think for one minute we'd be in the house as long we we were, but time just slips away as you're wandering around. We still had plenty of time to explore the church and the gardens though.

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine  The Church

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

But sadly not time to wander the vast grounds. And they really are vast with woods, ponds, deer park, and Tramway trail. That will take another day. We will come though and for sure in the Spring/Summer with a picnic and blanket in hand, especially as we now know it's close by.

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

Calke Abbey National Trust Priceless Life of Mine

Calke Abbey is an utterly fascinating place, capturing the eccentricity of the families that lived there.

A special place frozen in time.

Promise me you'll go visit?

If you want to read more or get visit info click here.


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8 comments

  1. Your photography is amazing in this post! Not gonna lie, every time I see the name of this place, I think it says Cake Abbey. Now THAT is my idea of a good day out!

    Kirstie | Behind The Scent

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww thanks so much Kirstie, tried really hard with them and it paid off! It's funny every time I typed Calke Abbey it corrected to Cake Abbey!!! xx

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  2. Lovely blog post and great photos Steph! Looks like a really nice place to visit :)
    www.radhikarecommends.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Radhika. It's fabulous, you really must go one day. x

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  3. I am speechless, this is such a lovely place to visit. Absolutely stunning!
    xo
    Anastasia
    http://www.natbees.com

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    Replies
    1. It's like stepping back in time, an amazing place Anastasia x

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  4. I love stuff like this! I'd love to visit when the kids are a bit older, since it's quite close. Your photos are amazing Steph, fab post!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your lovely comments Lianne x

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