Greetings! This weekend's adventure took us to Burghley (pronounced Bur-lee) House in Stamford. This magnificent house is also off of the A1. Burghley claims to be "England's Greatest Elizabethan House" and I certainly understand why. I am just amazed at how this is called a "house," in my non-expert opinion, this fits the "castle" bill.
A little history on Burghley House. The house dates back to the 16th century and was built for Sir William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, who was the Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I. Burghley House has been in the Cecil family for over 16 generations. Michael Exeter is the current Cecil family member associated with the property. He is also known as the 8th Marquess of Exeter, 17th Earl of Exeter and 18th Baron Burghley. Fun fact, Michael was born in Canada and educated in England. During his schooling in England, he lived at Burghley with his grandparents (the Fifth Marquess and Marchioness). He now lives in Oregon. His cousin lives at Burghley and is the House Director for the Burghley House Preservation Trust, which oversees the house and gardens and overall estate. The main part of the house has 35 major rooms on the ground and first floors. There are more than 80 lesser rooms and numerous halls, corridors, bathrooms, and service areas throughout. We were able to go into 16 of the rooms. Much to my dismay yet again, Capability Brown left his mark on several parts of the property and not just the gardens.
Burghley House: https://www.burghley.co.uk
Entrance to Burghley House
Our entrance to the tour
Our tour started in the Old Kitchen. The kitchen was massive, which is of no surprise. I took a few pictures of different "appliances" in the kitchen.
After the kitchen, the tour went to the Hog's Hall. Not quite sure why it is called that. There were several fire buckets here and a porter chair. I quite enjoyed the "bell system" which was the intercom system back in the day (this should look somewhat familiar to Downton Abbey fans!). Until 1950, the only telephone in the entire house was located in the Hog's Hall and Burghley was connected to mains electricity in 1956. I would call that an upgrade.
From Hog's Hall we walked up the Roman Stairs which were beautiful and decorated with Tudor emblems.
From the staircase, we reached the Ante Chapel and then the Chapel. The Chapel was beautiful.
The guide in the room mentioned that this is the family bible dating back to the 16th century.
From the chapel we walked through the Billard Room, where as one could imagine was a billiards table. The table was made of wood from the HMS Royal George which sank at Spithead in 1782. We then went into the Bow Room.
From the Bow Room
After the Bow Room, it was into the Brown Drawing Room. The bed in the room was used by a young Queen Victoria.
After the Brown Drawing Room, it was into the Black and Yellow Room. Apparently this room has had King George VI, HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and the Duke and Duchess of York stay here when they visited Burghley. The guide in the Black and Yellow Room mentioned that a sign of wealth was buying tapestries or having tapestries made. There were dozens of tapestries on the walls of the house, indicative of the wealth of the family.
The Marquetry Room was immediately following the Black and Yellow Room. I really liked this room. I found it interesting with its large doorway and corner chimney. There was also a small Jewel Closet hidden away in the side of the room and a beautiful mural painted on the ceiling of the closet.
Mural on ceiling of Jewel Closet
From the Marquetry Room, the tour led into Queen Elizabeth's Bedroom. Unfortunately, Queen Elizabeth was prevented from staying at Burghley when she visited in 1566 due to a contagious illness within the household, so she never actually stayed in this room, despite it bearing her name.
We next went into the Pagoda Room, which reminded me of an office. This room also had two little closets on the sides; one had a tub and the other looked to be a dressing room.
Next, was the Blue Silk Bedroom, followed by the ever creatively named, Blue Silk Dressing Room. I, again, really enjoyed the corner chimney in the room as well as the paintings.
Blue Silk Bedroom
Blue Silk Dressing Room
The tour continued through to the First, Second, Third, and Fourth George Rooms.
Fireplace in the First George Room
This was the Second George Room. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert stayed in this room during their visit to Burghley in 1844. I enjoyed the little closet with the washroom in the corner. There were also a pair of gloves Queen Victoria had worn during her visit in a case in the room.
Third George Room
Queen Victoria used the Fourth George Room as her Withdrawing Room....because doesn't everyone need a room to withdraw into? I found the table really unique as well as a few pieces of furniture in the corners of the room.
After the Fourth George Room, was probably the most spectacular room in the house, in my opinion. We came to the Heaven Room, aptly named for the murals painted on the walls and ceilings of the room. The murals, which were painted by Verrio, depict Vulcan discovering his wife Venus in a compromising position. Other gods and goddesses are summoned or presumed to be curious as to what is happening. Verrio had painted himself in the corner of the room as one of the onlookers. The room was used as one of the first rooms for guests as they entered the home because it would evoke conversation, according to a wonderful guide in the room. The view from this room was also spectacular.
View from Heaven Room
If there is a Heaven, there must also be a Hell, right? Indeed there was, but it was called Hell Staircase in Burghley and it did not disappoint. Verrio also painted this scene, depicting the mouth of Hell as the gaping mouth of an enormous....cat. A cat of all things.
Cabinet in Hell Staircase
The final room in the house was the Great Hall, which was rather impressive. This was reportedly used as a large dining room.
And last but not least, the gardens.
In comparing Grimsthorpe Castle and Burghley House, I much preferred the gardens at Grimsthorpe and the wonderful parkland with trails. I enjoyed both the castle and the house as they were very different in appearance and decor.
On to the next adventure!