Belton House is a mansion surrounded by formal gardens, with a series of avenues leading to a number of follies set in a large wooded park.
For three hundred years, Belton House was the seat of the Brownlow and Cust family, who had first acquired land in the area in the late 16th century. Between 1685 and 1688 Sir John Brownlow and his wife had the present mansion built. Despite great wealth they chose to build a modest country house. It’s servant were purposely housed in a completely separate area to the family. The house was built to the typical H design of the day and has changed relatively little since construction was completed. The seventh Baron attempted to retain the house and estate by opening to the public. However, the financial difficulties were too great and in January 1984 he transferred ownership of the house, garden and some of the contents to the National Trust.
Belton House was used as Lady Catherine De Bourgh’s residence, Rosings, in the 1995 TV mini series of Pride & Prejudice. Our first two pictures are of when Darcy returns to Rosings after his disastrous proposal to Elizabeth. Although it looks as if Darcy turns left after entering the house and goes through another room before heading straight up the stairs, in fact he would have to turn right from the font door to reach this staircase.
Also notice the decorative knobs on the handrail. This was to stop the children and servants from sliding down them and causing possible damage to the expensive woodwork.
Next we have the area where Darcy begs Colonel Fitzwilliam to make his excuses to his aunt. The wooden pillar standing between Lady Catherine and Colonel Fitzwilliam is a prop, and that is why it is not in our photo.
Here Darcy strides back to Rosings after being rejected by Elizabeth. The large tree to the left was lost due to storms, but as you can see, a new tree has been planted to replace it.
The next four pictures all relate to Darcy’s bedroom, or bed chamber as they would have called it. This is where Darcy sits and writes his letter to Elizabeth. If you recall, he explaining his dealings with George Wickham in regards to the living at Kympton, and the attempted seduction of his sister, Georgiana.
It is thought the original bed colour was red or crimson damask, but it sustained water damaged after a floor. As you can see it has been beautifully restored, and matches the décor very well.
The avenue where Colonel Fitzwilliam meets Elizabeth and unwittingly reveals Darcy’s role in separating Bingley from her sister Jane.
A grim-faced Darcy decides to write to Elizabeth, in an effort to refute Wickham’s lies.
And finally, this is where Mr. Collins tries to hurry his party, lest they keep Lady Catherine waiting, much to the amusement of Elizabeth.
Belton has an amazing wooden floor in the Tyrconnel Room. To protect this from damage by the constant foot fall of visitors, the National Trust has invested in Eyemats. These are mats that are made by scanning the original carpets, and then made to match the flooring perfectly. By placing these in areas open to the public, it reduces the possible of damage. There is also another one in the Red Drawing room.
We hope you have enjoyed our comparison pictures of Rosings 1995 (Belton house).
Look out for our next instalment in this Pride & Prejudice revisited series.
Our very best
Lizzie and Darcy x