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As we have seen in on our previous two posts about Burghley as the setting for  Rosings in the 2005 production of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightly, Burghley House was used as the setting for Lady Catherine’s Drawing Room and her Dining Room.

The park was also used for one shot in the film. Burghley Park is a real park with herds of deer, so Mary Crawford would no doubt approve. The park wall is over 5 miles in circumference and the park has an acreage of 1,400 acres. It was landscaped by Lancelot ‘Capability ‘ Brown whose intriguing portrait by Sir Nathaniel Dance, shown below, is part of the collection at Burghley House.

We see the West front of the house in the scene in Pride and Prejudice when an agitated Mr Collins is urging Elizabeth and Charlotte to hurry and not keep the formidable Lady Catherine waiting ….

This is the magnificent oak tree the trio are seen approaching in the park

And here is the West Front of the house…

With its Gilded Gates …..

Of course, in reality, the Collins party would have found it rather difficult to walk directly across the park to the West Front..because of the ha-ha that separates the ornamental gardens from the park…..

It sweeps round in a curve, separating the oak tree from the dangers of being eaten by the deer- still to be found wandering freely the other side of the ha-ha.

The main entrance to the house is protected by these fabulous wrought iron gates…

which are decorated with the gilded crest of the Cecil family

And they still maintain a sentry box…..which is truly redundant these days

for the gates are operated electronically,and not opened by a retainer,patiently waiting within it  for guests to arrive, upon hearing the trumpet sound at a distant gate.

The ground to the north of the house slopes away quite dramatically towards the river Welland, and it was here on a bright  sunny morning  in 2004, that  I in the company of my two children auditioned for parts as extras in the film. We didn’t get the parts and were sad. My daughter’s English Master was however, successful,and can be seen in the Meryton Ball screen wearing a spectacular painful and odd-looking wig.

However some time later I met the screenwriter of Pride and Prejudice, Deborah Moggarch, who consoled me in my failure to achieve fame on the  big screen by explaining that the director wanted a certain “look” for the Meryton scenes. Hogarthian was the style he wished to promote. According to Deborah we were obviously too nice looking to be included in the rough rabble that made up the company at the Meryton Assembly  (!) Needless to say my daughter took great delight in informing her English Master of this interesting snippet of information.

The entrance for visitors to the house which leads to the old  kitchen, did have a small exhibit of costumes from Pride and Prejudice during  the year the film was released.

Mr Darcy’s fine wool breeches and coat were on display as well as Elizabeth Bennet’s rather run down green linen dress…

This had a homemade tatting edging to the neckline and was darned and mended in many places.

Charlotte Collins’ grey linen dress was also on display and I was interested to see that the patterned fabric of her under dress was very similar to a real sample of an early 19th century fabric,

which can be found in Barbara Johnson’s Album of Styles and Fabrics, kept by the Victoria and Albert museum,and available as a facsimile.

This album is a magical survivor, a  record kept by Barbara Johnson,of all her clothes from 1746 until 1821,with fashion plates inserted amongst the fabric samples. Her piece of a blue spotted muslin of 1812 is very similar to the design worn by Charlotte Lucas.

The park at Burghley is open to the public all year round,even when the house is not open. It is a wonderful place to walk,and indeed I am just back from a bracing walk there this morning. I do urge you all to visit Burghley even if you were not enamoured of Pride and Prejudice 2005. It’s a marvellous day out (and the Orangery restaurant is pretty good too)

Next in this series, Kirkby Hall as used in Patricia Rozema’s Mansfield Park.


The exterior shots of Mr Collins’ church in the 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice were shot not at St Peter Brooke, in Rutland which provided the interiors shots, but some 20 miles away in Northamptonshire at the village of Weekly, which is to be found just outside the town of Kettering. This village is part of the Boughton Estate which is owned by the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensbury.

The parish church at Weekly, St Mary’s shown above, was used for the exterior of Mr Collins’ church.

It was appropriate that this village was chosen ( and if this choice was intentional or not, I’m not sure) because we know from our old post that St Peter Brooke is interesting as it is a rare relict, an Anglican church of the Elizabethan era. The building that served as  Hunsford Rectory ties in with the 17th century theme, as it was built in 1631 to serve as a set of almshouses.

Known as Montague’s Hospital-named after the  member of the Montague family (the owners of Boughton) who founded it-  was  a place where poor old people could be housed and cared for in their dotage.

(Do remember you can enlarge all the illustrations here by clicking on them: do enlarge the photograph above as it is fascinating to see the painted detail and the stonework on the entrance to the building)

In the Northamptonshire edition of The Beauties of England and Wales by John Britton and Edward Waylake Bailey (1802) the following description of the village is given:

Weekly Church,about half a mile north-east of Warkton in the hundred of Orlingbury, contains a few old monuments to the Montagues of Boughton. At the east end of the north aisle is an altar tomb, with two stone effigies of Sir Edward Montague, Knight who died Jan.26 16021; and Elizabeth his wife, who died May 10th 1618. Another tomb, with a marble statue is raised to the memory of Edward Montague who died in 1556. Other slabs and flat stones contain inscriptions, some much mutilated, to other persons of the Montague family. Near the south side of the church is an hospital for seven poor men;and at the extremity of the village are traces of a moat &c, where an old cassellated manor-house is supposed to have formerly stood. In this parish is a spring of petrifying water, from which an incrusted skull has been taken and is preserved as a curiosity in Sydney College, Cambridge.


Here we see Lizzie Bennet (Kiera Knightly) arriving at Hunsford Rectory with the church in the background,and Charlotte waiting to greet her.

In reality, she has not come from  the road from Westerham, but from the rear of the Hunsford Rectory itself. The building is now a private residence leased from the Boughton estate, so we can’t see the lovely simple internal corridor with it’s still life of apples

but we can see the room- which has windows on two sides, which was Charlotte’s sitting room and the rom where Lizzie had various meetings with Mr Darcy

The classical obelisk seen in the film, in front of the church,  was in fact….

the village war memorial, cleverly disguised.

This would not have been in situ in the early 19th century, most British war memorials date from the 20th century. Hence the disguise, which worked well, I think.

You can see last year’s Poppy Wreath, laid there on Memorial Sunday ,the Sunday nearest 11th November…

The gates just to the right of the church lead to Weekly Park which in turn leads to Boughton House…

..the English Versailles. It is magnificent and well worth a visit ( but do check before you go:  it is opened very rarely and usually only during the month of August) And though it wasn’t included in the film, I’m writing about it here because the garden is a rare survivor: an example of a mid 18th century formal landscape garden, of the type that disappeared during the latter part of the 18th century.

When you wander round the magnificent 18th century landscape garden,which is being restored, you catch glimpses of Weekly church , though the trees.

Long avenues of lime trees dominate, as do great formal stretches of water…canals and ponds….and all are being restored to their marvellous 18th century formality, as designed probably by Charles Bridgeman for the 2nd Duke of Montague in the 1720s. Here is the plan of the garden as it was in the 1740s

(© The Boughton Estate)

The plans, as you can see, included a monumental Mount (restored in 2007) from which to oversee the rest of the formal gardens, and rejoice in the patterns it created.  A fantastic modern addition to the garden,a tribute to the formal style, has been made recently. Called Orpheus and completed in 2009, it is an inverted mount dug into the landscape with a reflecting pool at  the bottom.

In this picture, you can see the 18th century Mount behind it, and the sloping path that leads to the pool at the bottom of the earth work designed by Kim Wilkie.

This is the view from the bottom to the top: the scale is difficult to gauge by these photographs,but it takes a good five minute, steady walk to reach the pool at the bottom! It truly is monumental-and breathtakingly beautiful in its severity.

I do hope you have enjoyed this jaunt around Weekly and the diversion to Boughton with all its treasures.

Let’s continue our clerical theme this week, shall we? As we noted in last week’s AustenOnly post accessible here, in the BBC’s 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice two churches were used, both for the exteior shots( no interior shots were included in the production) of Hunsford parish church.  In the 2o05 film version starring Keira Knightley, again two churches were used, one for the exterior and one for the interior. Today we shall concentrate on the church that provided the interior,the parish church of St Peter, Brooke, a tiny church in a tiny village near Oakham in Rutland.

St Peter, Brooke is a very special parish church, being a rare survivor. First built in the 13th century, it was virtually totally reconstructed during the latter years of Queen Elizabeth I’s reign,and most of the Elizabethan features have survived to this day- quite a feat considering the upheavals of  the English Civil War and the improving hands of the Victorians.

It has been estimated that the date of reconstruction is circa 1579, but it is clear, looking at the arches in the nave that divide the south and north aisles of the church,that some of the 13th century  bones of the building survived to have the Elizabethan structure built around them.

The reason why St Peter Brooke was built in this era, at a time when very little church design and building was being undertaken , was probably because its benefactor, Sir Andrew Noel,  had acquired a former monastic property in the village and using that as his starting point, was building Brooke House (sadly no longer in existence) as his home. He probably used the same building team that built the house to restore the village church.

The surviving Elizabethan features are to be found in the north and south chancel arches and the wooden furnishings in the church- the box pews, benches, pulpit and the balustraded screen that separates the nave from the chancel,seen above. The low level chancel floor- only two steps higher than the nave, as you can see above – is also an Elizabethan feature. When you stand within the chancel, and the screen door is closed you are standing in a rare church device: an Elizabethan Communion Room, totally separated by the screen from the preaching area of the nave that contains the pulpit.

And it is the nave that we first see in the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice, as Mr Collins’ rather bored and indeed somnolent congregation, with the honourable exception of the supportive Charlotte, is sitting listening to his sermon.

A child plays with a spinning top(  a rather noisy occupation to be secret in such a small church, silly child) before Mr Collins who is preaching, badly,  from the pulpit.

The Elizabethan pulpit is tiny. As you can see.

I often wonder if the diminutive actor Tom Hollander was chosen for the role because he would fit not that pulpit,and someone more in keeping with the build of the Reverend Collins as described in Jane Austen’s text, a Hugh Bonneville for example,  would not have managed it:

He was a tall, heavy-looking young man of five-and-twenty. His air was grave and stately, and his manners were very formal…

The chancel -the area behind the pulpit was used as a kind of family pew in the film.

As the place where Lady Catherine, Anne de Bourgh and Darcy sit

while Colonel Fitzwilliam tells Elizabeth Bennet


of Darcy’s awful interference in Bingley and Jane’s  love affair.

It is in fact an empty space, no seating normally stands there,

apart from the pews in which Lady Catherine’s family party sat.

The most flamboyant feature in this beautifully restrained and modest church (and which was not seen in the film) is the  tomb of Charles Noel, son of Andrew Noel, mentioned above, to be found in the side chapel next to the chancel

He is beautifully carved…

And the inscription to his tomb, written in latin,

translates as follows:

Charles, son of Andrew Noel, brave and high

his dust inhabits here his soul the sky

Mature and Worth, Valour and Wisdom too

in this one boy strove all their gifts to show.

Worth made him duteous: Nature a comley youth.

Mars to be brave: Bright Wisdom, loving truth.

Yet even he in youth’s fair Springtime pined

As Buds will perish in a bitter wind

He died in 1619 at the age of 28 years.R.I.P.

My poor photographs do not do justice to this tiny and peaceful place. If you ever do get the change to visit, then  do: the village and the surrounding countryside are perfect, though hard to access on public transport. Regular services are still held at St Peter, and it is very much a living church. I hope you have enjoyed this visit to a very special location.

Following on from the Althrop Attic Sale held at Christie’s earlier in the year, the Chatsworth Attic Sale is now confirmed to take place between the 5th and 7th October at Sotheby’s in London. Mentioned in Pride and Prejudice as a place Elizabeth Bennet visited while on her tour of Derbyshire with the Gardiners, Chatsworth is a magnificent place, homes of the Dukes of Devonshire and their families since it was built in the late 17th century,and was even the location for the exteriors and some interior shots of Pemberley House in the 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightly.

The grand viewing of the many, many articles on sale will take place  at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire betwen 1st and 4th October. Full details of the opening times, etc can be found here. Sadly, I won’t be able to get to the sale but I will be able to buy the catalogue, which you can also do by going here. Buying the catalogue gives you free admission to the viewing at Chatsworth, note.

The sale sounds stupendous: some of the items to be sold include a pair of George II simulated-stone, carved-wood brackets, circa 1735, based on a design by William Kent, estimated sale price of £20,000-30,000; forty meat and poultry covers, made from Sheffield Plate and Electroplate, dating from the 19th Century, together with an iron-bound oak plate chest, with a brass label engraved with “His Grace The Duke of Devonshire No. 1″, estimate sale price of £3,000-5,000; a ruby and diamond brooch, circa 1900, belonging to The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, estimated sale price of£80-100.

Sotheby’s  press release ( full details here) gives some further details of the individual lots:

The sale will have at its core a wealth of fine, rare architectural fixtures and fittings, the existence of which had been obscured by time. Discovered beneath layers of dust, these magnificent pieces – handsomely carved fireplaces, architraves, doors and shutters – were once part of the fabric of the many great houses that have featured in the Devonshire family’s extraordinary history, including Chatsworth itself, Chiswick House, Hardwick Hall, Lismore Castle, Compton Place, Bolton Abbey and, most of all, their palatial London residence, Devonshire House, on Piccadilly – for centuries the centre of London’s social, political and cultural elite.

Devonshire House on Piccadilly, opposite Green Park, now the site of an office block, has long been of interest to me: it is shown below as it appeared in the late 19th century.


- so sad that this palace in town was demolished in the 1920s. I would love to have seen it and its contents:

Devonshire House, Piccadilly, was the centre of London society in the 18th century – it was there that Georgiana (Duchess of Devonshire-jfw)

ran an alternative court – a hedonistic palace where fortunes and reputations were lost and won. The house contained the finest of all the family’s possessions, more than Chatsworth or any other properties of the estate; Devonshire House was a showroom through which the most influential figures of the day passed. Designed and built by William Kent in the 1730s, Devonshire House was demolished almost 200 years later in the 1920s, whereupon much of its interior, from doors and original furnishings to elegant, gilt chairs, was carefully removed to the attics of Chatsworth. A unique opportunity to re-create this “lost palace of London”, the surviving objects featured in the sale include all manner of architectural fixtures, furniture and objects of everyday life.

The sale comprises 20,000 objects in over 1,000 lots, ranging in estimated values from £20 to £200,000 .They trustees of the Chatsworth estate hope to raise what seems to me to be a rather modest sum £2.5 million from the sale.What is the betting that, like Althorp, the amount raised in total from the sale will be  much, much higher?

This is the second post about Stamford, in Lincolnshire which was the town of Meryton in the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice starring Keria Knightley and Matthew MacFadeyn. The first post can be accessed here. This give many details of how the St George’s Square area of Stamford in Lincolnshire was transformed into Meryton. This post will detail the filming of the other Meryton scenes. (Do note you can as usual,enlarge all the illustrations in this post merely by clicking on them)

The scenes when the militia arrived in Meryton are some of the most colourful and chaotic in the film.

The “militia” were formed of extras from the local area including my daughter’s English master’s son.

They were filmed marching together with a military band of fifes and drums-

…both up the hill to St George’s Square in Stamford, and then in the opposite direction, from St Mary’s Street down the hill.

This is the shot- walking down the hill- that eventually made the cut:

We were able to watch as Lydia ( Jena Malone ) and Wickham (Rupert Friend) were very kind during the filming of this scene. They played and comforted a very young little girl,who was one of the extras, and was finding it all too much with which to cope. We also saw the fishing rods complete with Lydia’s handkerchief-the one that, rather prophetically, was trampled on by the marching militia.

The roads in the area were covered with a thick layer of gravel-which also covered the road markings and the pavements as you can see from this picture taken in St George’s Square.

The doors of the buildings in the area were all covered by false doors and the window frames were all “distressed” and repainted after the filming had ended. Television aerials and satellite dishes were also removed for the duration of the three days filming.

Some people didn’t care to have their  houses/business premises  “distressed’ and these buildings were clad in wood which was painted and then “CGI-ed” later in the production process. This is a picture of the local vacuum seller’s shop, which prefered to retain its own decor.

I did admire the tremendous amount of props collected for the event….

And the geese were corralled in the churchyard of St George’s parish church.

The butchers shop -seen at the end of the film in the scene where Mrs Bennet and her daughters are informed that Mr Bingley is returning home to Netherfield, does not exist.

This was built in order to block the view/traffic from the lane.

It was also fitted up remarkably

(and butchers shops in this era were mostly open to the elements, see this example, below,  of a child’s toy of such a shop circa 1820).

Even pheasant feathers were stuck down individually to ensure they stayed in place during the filming.

The stone “hitching post” was completely false. It does not exist, and was made of fibre glass.

I adored the extras and their costumes.

Most were happy to chat and have their pictures taken…

Others just wanted to get to the local Servicemen’s Club which was providing teas and refreshments during the filming.

The carters were very friendly, as were their beautiful horses -in their resting place of the local car park….

…a fitting place for their curricle, though I don’t remember seeing this in the film. I did see the film in the theatre in the Stamford Arts Centre:  it was quite a surreal moment watching the Meryton scenes, filmed as they were just outside the door of the cinema! This does not happen very often in my part of the world.

Next in this series,a post about one of the locations used in the BBC’s 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. I do hope you will join me on this trip down memory lane.

We last looked at the history of the Stamford Assembly Rooms in detail in this post, here.

They  were seen on film as part of  Meryton in the 2005 production of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadeyn. I had my own problems with this film- especially with the interpretation of many of the characters-  but the look of the film seduced me completely. I’ve always viewed Jane Austen as a Georgian and not a product of the Regency, and as this film was set in the 1790s it had me hooked from the first magical opening scene where we were taken into the Bennet’s down-at-heel but still genteel home.

To Meryton……

The St Georges Square and St Mary’s part of Stamford were used by the film for all the Meryton scenes.

This map  show the areas ,marked in red, that were used as Meryton for the duration of the filming.

It is an ideal place to film period dramas, as in this area there are no buildings erected later than the mid to late 18th century- and some are much older than that.  No modern buildings overhang or block the views. It is easily contained for security purposes, and cutting the streets off from traffic in the town does not incommode residents and visitors too much as there are alternative routes for the traffic to take. The town of Stamford  had, prior to the filming of Pride and Prejudice, been used as Middlemarch for the BBC’s famed TV production of Elliot’s novel.

I was there to take photographs and I thought you’d like to see the  before, after and during pictures I was able to capture.The work on the production in Stamford began in June of 2004.

The production drawings, above, show the alterations that had to be made to the street scene. The major piece of construction was a colonnade which wrapped itself around the assembly rooms and the Stamford Arts Centre (the old theatre in the town).These are photographs of the construction process.

First scaffolding was erected, along the Assembly Room frontage and into St Mary’s Street.

The colonnade was constructed from wood around the scaffolding poles: care had to be taken not to damage the buildings in the process as they are all listed.

False fronts of china shops were erected unde the colonnade.

And these were stocked with “fine china”…

The finished set….

The entrance to the Assembly Room was eventually converted to a place of wooden shutters

This is, of course,  where in the film, Lizzie and Jane meet Wickham for the first time,who appears to have already made the acquaintance of Lydia and Kitty, just before they go on a shopping spree to buy ribbons.

The interiors of the Assembly Rooms were not used as the set for the Meryton Assembly Rooms,though they were used to teach the steps of the  country dances needed for the scenes to the cast.

That honour -of being the Meryton Assembly Rooms-fell to a warehouse normally used for storing potoatoes, which is owned by the firm of  Gilman and Sons and can still be found on a small industrial estate just outside Stamford.  This was the only set used in the filming of the producion ,all the remining  filming was otherwise done on location using real rooms.

I adore this scenes and think the set designers did a marvellous job of capturing the atmosphere of a country assembly room of the time.

it is clear , in my opinion, that they were inspired by images such as Rowlandson’s view of the Scarborough Assembly rooms, below, taken from his illustrations found in my copy of the Poetical Views of Scarborough (1812).

My daughter’s then English Master was picked to be an extra in the film and can be seen in a wig “that looked like and felt like a rat”  at the commencement of the Meryton Assembly scenes, much to our  family’s amusement.

Next in this series, the other scenes filmed in Stamford.

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