The Drebyshire Four

The Drebyshire Four (a deliberate mispelling) consisted of the Oxofrd Trio of Ann2, Inko and Kathleen (elder) with the addition of Golda. Ann offers this account of their post-Annual Meeting trip. Pictures follow the narration.

Glimpses from a Drebyshire trip as caught by Ann2

Driving north from Bath -where our luggage had been most cruelly ridiculed and later expertly compressed - we passed by Stoneleigh Abbey late in the afternoon and had to content ourselves with viewing it from the outside.

A magnificent facade that! I devoted myself to some CWC (Collins Window Calculation) but alas, the impressive figure arrived at by this elevated occupation has slipped my memory! Its irregular walled in and paved stable-yard was beautiful and the 6 stalls of the stable in prime condition though there were no horses occupying them at present.

Just before dusk we arrived in Winster, a little town of no particular significance but to those who like it. Our Foursome spent three nights in the Dower house, not far from Matlock - unfortunately without spotting the younger son of its earl - where Providence saw to it that I got to sleep in a huge four-poster bed (sorry Inko, but fate it would seemů :-} ). In a comfy morning parlour where leaded panes overlooked a well-tended garden and some of the furniture was excessively old (was it 15th century?) some of us (eh Ms Elder!) enjoyed a splendid full English breakfast every morning. Interesting churchyard next to the Dower House and invigorating beer at the friendly local pub, where we also had a dinner or two.

One evening was spent scampering about the tiny roads in the vicinity in search of a place to dine with slightly more elegance. While waiting for the opening time of one of the establishments recommended to us by our excellent landlord, Golda charmed the big dog of the house until it seemed likely to follow her when we left had she wished it.

On our way to Pemberley we paid a visit to Haddon Hall, which is clinging to the cliffs near Bakewell, Derbyshire, present building from 1307. Used for the filming of Elizabeth (1999), Moll Flanders and Jane Eyre (1996). The courtyard has spicy herbs like sage, rosemary & thyme, no parsley but thick lavender and in between the climbing roses odd gargoyles emerging from the walls. The well preserved 14th century kitchens with worn wooden tables and benches, the chapel with touching effigy of a young son carved in marble, fascinating items in the tiny museum such as the brass and beechwood washing tallies are all worth the detour [to use a phrase from the Michelin guide ;-)]. The terraced gardens are descriptiondefyingly (yes that might be a new word - so wot??) wonderful (I think unless you already have, you must visit some time in the future, Barbara and Caroline) with an abundance of roses and clematis.

We turned in at the lodge, passed the bridge, (no, not very patiently, I am sorry to say, Mrs Gardiner ;-} ) and, after ascending a steep slope, we sighted it: Lyme Park!!, Cheshire. As we all know beautifully situated and mirrored in the water of a widening stream with wonderful surroundings, wildness and artifice, green hills and slopes. A walled in rose garden, a likewise walled in Dutch garden where the flowerbeds surrounding a fountain pool form geometric patterns and the walls are partly covered by tendrils of vine and other climbing plants. The aforementioned stream even has a little water fall; Red deer are grazing the slopes, one of the arches leading to the memorable inner courtyard with the well is Elizabethan (how appropriate!!) and there's the grand orangery with a garden terrace in front of it. Yes, it was really something

As we were seated round the Italian renaissance wellhead contemplating art and life, a lively figure entered from the forecourt to the north. 'Twas Tineke who came galloping with a large party of friends! Coz, Cinthia and Amy! It was great to see other pilgrims in such a noteworthy, renowned place.

The master was from home and hence there was no offer of cold meat and fruit to be had. Luckily the nice little town of Bakewell had provided us with freshly made sandwiches and pastries which we enjoyed in Mr Darcy's stable yard.

The interior of this house is far from uninteresting, but since it is nothing to Pemberley I skip it. Some incarnation of Mrs Reynolds was kind enough to open the chapel for me. It had a gallery accessible from inside the house for the family, whereas the rest of it was entered from under the Palladian arcades of the courtyard.

Sudbury Hall, Derbyshire (to the right of Uttoxeter, yes really, trust Inko to pronounce it properly!) is a beautiful red brick building with carved stone ornaments and some curiously formed windows. When informed of our design in coming there the ticketlady lost herself in effusive imaginery: "You can so easily picture Mr Darcy strolling along the gallery!" There's the breathtakingly beautiful Saloon - woodwork and plasterwork all white and gold (Pemberley's music room) and the truly beautiful Long Gallery (memorable even without Darcy's fine large portrait - wonder where that one ended up? Sue Birtwistle's parlour, I suspect)!

But, to make up for the sadly lacking wall, I found a treasure, a room I might be tempted to commit crimes to get access to! Called the Talbot Room and during the Regency used as a bedroom. But I lust after it in its later shape: in the 1880s it was transformed into a galleried library. Theee most gorgeous room imaginable, not large, but intimate and stuffed with bookshelves all the way from floor to ceiling! Where there's a free piece of wall there's wood panelling. The window is framed by cupboards - no doubt hiding even more books. There's even a wonderful cast-iron spiral staircase and a neat Victorian folio bookstand!!

Longnor, Staffordshire, (P&P2's Lambton - on road B5053, south of Buxton), where I think we must have parked outside the old Market Hall. Perhaps the others were aware; I was only thinking: Where are you staying? The Inn at Lambton -Inn-Lambton-Inn -and I was eager to see it! The sign of the former inn: The Red Bull is still there on Chapel street. Just above that cobbled lane is a lovely churchyard, probably where the Gardiners went to allow Lizzy time to read her letters - and receive some small amount of comfort from a certain gentleman.

Belton House, Lincolnshire, (honey-coloured limestone) in its formal garden with the parish church of St Peter and St Paul nearby. We entered across the black and white marble floor of the hall and lo, in the very next room there's the main staircase up which Darcy ran after the first proposal to escape the inquisition of his Aunt. His Blue Bedroom was being redecorated so the bed was in pieces on the hall floor and the walnut bureau with fall front where he wrote his letter was paraded in another room. The formal garden (Dutch) is well-known to Pemberleans with its sculptures and pruned greenery, but there is also a landscape park and an Italian garden. Standing in it (Lou took an awesome picture) you can see the parish (Mr Collins's that is) church to the right of the orangery building. Her ladyship had arranged for us to have tea in a stable box, yeah, she sure likes to have the difference in rank preserved. The assortment of cakes was impressive though.

After tea we parted from Golda and headed back to Inko's townhouse via Cambridge.

Ann's photos:

Fountain in the Orangerie at Lyme Park
Kathleen visiting Mr. Darcy
Longnor (Lampton)

Golda's photos:

Kathy at Lyme Park
Inko and Ann at Lyme Park
Lyme Park 1
Lyme Park 3
Lyme Park 3
Lyme Park 4
Lyme Park 5
Lyme Park 6
Lyme Park 7
Lyme Park 8
Lyme Park 9
Lyme Park 10
Lyme Park 11
Lyme Park 12
Inko and Kathy at Lyme Park
Golda at Lyme Park
Sudbury Hall 1
Sudbury Hall 2
Dower House B&B in Winster
Belton House 1

Inko's photo:

Ann2, Golda and Kathleen at Stoneleigh Abbey

Kathleen's photos:

Lyme Park: Entrance1
Lyme Park: Entrance2
Lyme Park: To the stairs!
Lyme Park: Ann in the Garden
Lyme Park: Inko in the orangery
Lyme Park: The View
Lyme Park: Golda and The View
Lyme Park: Picnic
Lyme Park: Garden
Haddon Hall: Paparizzi
Haddon Hall: Gargolye
Haddon Hall: Golda
Belton House: Entrance
Belton House: Rosings Church
Belton House: Mrs Jenkinson, Lady Catherine and Mr Collins
Belton House: Garden1
Belton House: Garden2
Belton House: Facade
Belton House: Golda on Steps
Belton House: Kathleen at Fountain
Sudbury Hall1
Sudbury Hall2
Eltons in Crebyshire
Golda Makes a Friend
Supper in Winster

Drebyshire Memories by Kathleen (elder)

Ann2, Golda, Inko & I picked up our rental car in Bath (why does Avis hide its office!!), drove back to Limpley-Stoke, and packed the car. With Myretta's able help, we got every bag into the boot (or back seat) of the car and took off for parts unknown - err, that is, for Derbyshire.

We had a slow beginning, and didn't read the map/road signs correctly at a roundabout near Lacock. So, having not eaten since breakfast, we decided to eat lunch at the Red Lion in Lacock for the second day in a row. Food was equally good this time.

We took off once more, this time certain of our direction. We stopped at Stoneleigh Abbey, but we were too late for any tours.

Finally found the sign for Winster (the town where our B&B was located), then spent some additional minutes actually finding the town! The B&B wasn't too hard to locate, and we were finally there. The owners had begun to despair our ever arriving. Though late for our dinner reservations (at the local pub), we went off to the Bowling Green for supper. The owners/staff there were very gracious, and we had a nice meal (including a bit of liquid refreshment for those so inclined!).

The next morning started with a huge breakfast, and we figured out our travelling plan, then set out for Lyme Park. We stopped in Bakewell for lunch provisions and an ATM stop, then on to Lyme Park. Driving & map reading improved, and we made very few mis-turns! Once the rain stopped, we had a beautiful day for touring - both the house and gardens were beautiful, especially the Orangery & Rose Garden & Dutch Garden. Lots of pictures taken, especially of those portions of the exterior which featured in P&P2.

On our way back to Winster we stopped in Longnor - the exterior for the Inn at Lambton where Hannah leans out to window to tell Lizzy that Mr Darcy has come to call - with Inko braving the driving of the narrow, narrow, winding road (we had to take a detour). The cobblestones street was very picturesque, and we could see why they chose that location.

A second evening eating at the Bowling Green, and an enjoyable evening back at the B&B. We looked over the map for the next day's touring, and then spent time in the sitting room looking at photos on my computer. Then, we watched parts of P&P2 on my computer, with the sound muted - who needs it when we had the dialogue memorized. John (husband-owner of the B&B) came in to say goodnight, and gave us a weird look when he realized what we were doing!

For our last full day of touring, we started at Haddon Hall. This great house had nothing whatever to do w/ P&P2, but we enjoyed it anyway. It reminded me more of a castle, or at least, of my childhood ideas of what a castle should look like. After seeing the house & gardens, we drove to Bakewell again for lunch provisions.

Our next stop was Sudbury Hall, the Pemberley interiors for P&P2. The car park was a large grassy area, and we picnicked next to our car (which many others were doing as well). Then to the house. We didn't have a guided tour, so we lost a few folks along the way! Actually, we split up so that each of us could get the flavor of rooms that we wanted.

Ate that night supper at a hotel some few miles away from Winster. It wasn't actually our first choice, but the other restaurant (Druid's Inn, where Golda met a dog & made friends) had no room for us. We had a good meal anyway, then returned to the B&B for our final night. Spent the rest of the evening figuring out how to get to Belton House (P&P2's Rosings), and from there to Stansted Airport.

Our last day's touring went well, after re-packing the car(!). Found Belton House easily, and we ate lunch there. Toured the gardens & church, taking pictures in the film-specific spots as well as others. Then, into the house for additional touring - though the bed in Darcy's bedroom had been dismantled & removed (was laying in pieces in the entry hall!).

Touring nearly finished, we got Golda's cases out of the boot, then left her at the entry to Belton House - Julie W came to pick her up within 15 minutes of our departure. Ann2, Inko & I stopped in Cambridge for supper, eating at a pub along the River Cam. Had no trouble finding Stansted Airport, but the signage for the rental car return was very poor! Caught a train back to London, then took a taxi back to Inko's flat.

What a great time! I would never have enjoyed myself this much had I been on my own.

- Republic of Pemberley -

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