Jan Hahn's Pemberley - Lyme Park
from The Child
Although built in the 1300s, the house passed into the Darcy family in the 17th Century when James William Darcy married Cassandra Anne Chawton, the only relation of the original owners to survive a tragic illness. One of Elizabeth’s favorite parts of the house is the long gallery filled with family portraits where she once awakened sleeping beneath Fitzwilliam’s painting.
- The ancient great hall at the rear of the house is used each year to house the Harvest Ball. Built about a hundred years before the present portion of the house in which the Darcys live, the hall is much more rustic. Since Pemberley’s Harvest Ball is for its tenants and their families, Darcy’s father chose the great hall rather than intimidate his guests in Pemberley’s grand ballroom. Decorated with fruits of the harvest, the hall is perfect for a raucous, joyful celebration of the season. Derbyshire still laughs about the night when the master surprised the mistress by returning to the ball from London unexpectedly.
- The folly Darcy’s grandfather built for his wife on a distant hill behind Pemberley. Modeled after the Fountains Abbey ruins in Yorkshire, Pemberley’s folly is a greatly-reduced copy of the elder Mrs. Darcy’s favorite section of the Abbey. When a new bride, Elizabeth set out to explore the folly alone one day only to discover Wickham hiding therein!
- Darcy’s bedroom, decorated in red, faces the south with an excellent prospect of the lake or pond, as he calls it in The Child. On an important evening neither Darcy nor Elizabeth will ever forget, he raises a bedroom window and tosses a certain object across the lawn, causing it to land precariously near the water. Elizabeth dissolves in giggles.
The fictional setting is Derbyshire. The actual building is in Cheshire.
Architectural Style: Neo-classical Italian style; today a mix of Tudor, Georgian and Victorian styles
Built: Started in Tudor Period; transformed by Architect Leoni in 1720; Lyme Park was home to the Legh family from 1388 to 1946.
Size: 1400 acres
Fun Fact: The most important printed book in the National Trust, the Caxton Sarum Missal, is on display in the Library at Lyme. The Missal was the liturgical form used in most of the English Church prior to the introduction of the first Book of Common Prayer in 1549. The book was in the Legh family’s possession from at least 1508.
The Lyme Missal shows the reaction to the Reformation in Catholic Cheshire and Henry VIII's edict in 1538 ordering the removal of references to the Pope, the Church of Rome and the Catholic cult of St. Thomas from all liturgical books. Verses being faintly crossed through and prayers removed but then re-written by hand at the back can still be seen. This indicates the Legh family continued to practice their Catholic faith during the Reformation.
Although I knew nothing about this portion of Lyme Park’s history prior to researching this project, I made Darcy’s grandmother and uncle secret practicing Catholics in A Peculiar Connection.