1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Chatsworth

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CHATSWORTH, a village of Derbyshire, England, containing a seat belonging to the duke of Devonshire, one of the most splendid private residences in England. Chatsworth House is situated close to the left bank of the river Derwent, 2¾ m. from Bakewell. It is Ionic in style, built foursquare, and enclosing a large open courtyard, with a fountain in the centre. In front, a beautiful stretch of lawn slopes gradually down to the riverside, and a bridge, from which may best be seen the grand façade of the building, as it stands out in relief against the wooded ridge of Bunker’s Hill. The celebrated gardens are adorned with sculptures by Gabriel Gibber; Sir Joseph Paxton designed the great conservatory, unrivalled in Europe, which covers an acre; and the fountains, which include one with a jet 260 ft. high, are said to be surpassed only by those at Versailles. Within the house there is a very fine collection of pictures, including the well-known portraits by Reynolds of Georgiana, duchess of Devonshire. Other paintings are ascribed to Holbein, Dürer, Murillo, Jan van Eyck, Dolci, Veronese and Titian. Hung in the gallery of sketches there are some priceless drawings attributed to Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raffaelle, Correggio, Titian and other old masters. Statues by Canova, Thorwaldsen, Chantrey and R.J. Wyatt are included among the sculptures. In the state apartments the walls and window-panes are in some cases inlaid with marble or porphyry; the woodcarving, marvellous for its intricacy, grace and lightness of effect, is largely the work of Samuel Watson of Heanor (d. 1715). Chatsworth Park is upwards of 11 m. in circuit, and contains many noble forest-trees, the whole being watered by the Derwent, and surrounded by high moors and uplands. Beyond the river, and immediately opposite the house, stands the model village of Edensor, where most of the cottages were built in villa style, with gardens, by order of the 6th duke. The parish church, restored by the same benefactor, contains an old brass in memory of John Beaton, confidential servant to Mary, queen of Scots, who died in 1570; and in the churchyard are the graves of Lord Frederick Cavendish, murdered in 1882 in Phoenix Park, Dublin, and of Sir Joseph Paxton.

Chatsworth (Chetsvorde, Chetelsvorde, “the court of Chetel”) took its name from Chetel, one of its Saxon owners, who held it of Edward the Confessor. It belonged to the crown and was entrusted by the Conqueror to the custody of William Peverell. Chatsworth afterwards belonged for many generations to the family of Leech, and was purchased in the reign of Elizabeth by Sir William Cavendish, husband of the famous Bess of Hardwick. In 1557 he began to build Chatsworth House, and it was completed after his death by his widow, then countess of Shrewsbury. Here Mary, queen of Scots, spent several years of her imprisonment under the care of the earl of Shrewsbury. During the Civil War, Chatsworth was occasionally occupied as a fortress by both parties. It was pulled down, and the present house begun by William, 1st duke of Devonshire in 1688. The little village consists almost exclusively of families employed upon the estate.