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The 500 Year Old Residence Of 36 Generations

Updated on December 3, 2015

Rising above the plains of the Vale of Belvoir since 500 years, the fairytale Belvoir palace is one of the least known great houses in Britain. Up till now 36 generations have lived in the castle being the home of the Duke of Rutland. It is one of the finest regency homes of England with a treasure trove of incredible art, porcelain, sculptures, tapestries and silks preserved as a royal collection. The majestic Belvoir Estate extends to 15,000 acres spread across Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.

History

Dating back to 1067 originally, the outstanding example of Regency work with its grand style consists of Italian sculptures, French furniture and paintings by some of the big names like Reynolds, Holbein and Poussin. The coloured and black and white pictures of the royal generations sketch an impeccable picture of the lifestyle they had.

The Normans were the first ones to build a castle on the site, which was a structure of earth and timber. In 1247, the castle was passed to Robert de Ros and was later taken over by William, Lord Hastings in 1464. In 1485, when Henry VII took the throne, the castle was returned to the de Ros family. The first Earl of Rutland, Thomas Manners who married the lady belonging to the de Ros family built a new castle in the 16th century which got destroyed in the English Civil War in 1649. Afterwards, the castle was rebuilt by the Earl of Rutland as a mansion with four wings around the central courtyard. Another major reconstruction was done in 1830 which converted the mansion back to the castle structure with towers and Gothic style architecture.

Architecture And Design

The building is shaped irregularly with a large circular tower and a number of contiguous rectangular structures. As impressive as the exterior is the lavish interior of the castle, featuring luxurious staterooms and sumptuous painting collections. The rooms include the Regents Gallery, Elizabeth Saloon (named after the wife of the 5th Duke) and the State Dining Room. One corner of the grad house is still used as the family home of the Manners family and continues to be the seat of the Dukes of Rutland, many of whom are buried in the mausoleum grounds there.

The King's Room

Things To Do

The magical castle also serves to be an ideal venue for weddings and corporate events.

Open to public, the castle’s works of art are the most appreciable. Moreover, the enchanted gardens and woodlands please the eyes with their lush green grass and colourful bunches of blooming flowers. The castle coffee shop offers a variety of snacks to enjoy amidst the beautiful setting. A picnic or one night camping at the foot of the castle is what visitors tend to love the most!

The Castle with its elegant and magical look traces the history of 36 generations who lived in the grand house nestled amidst the stunning villages for years. An inspiration for the artist and a place certainly worth exploring for historians, this castle has something for everyone to look forward to.

A Popular Myth

A common myth revolving around the castle begins with three women, Joan Flower and her two daughters. They were employed at the castle & were doubted to be witches. Employed at the castle, they were caught pilfering food and other items of the castle. Having a reputation of being malicious and monstrous, they were immediately dismissed from the castle by the countess.

It is believed that Joan Flower cursed the family as revenge since both the husband and wife suffered a major illness, followed by their children. The couple survived, their daughter also got severely ill but recovered. The Justice of the Peace arrested the three women, out of whom Joan Flower called for bread and butter and cried, wishing it to never go through her if she was guilty. When the bread was put in her mouth, she was only able to mumble a few words and died instantaneously. Later, her two daughters were hanged as well.

As much of an intriguing tale as it may sound, it still is nothing more than a myth, just like the 'legend' of Excalibur & Arthur. Storytelling was a staple of English historians and many castles became the focal points of such mythical literature.

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    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      2 years ago from Oklahoma

      What an amazing building.

    working

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