#MyPemberley: Fountains Hall

Catherine Lodge's Pemberley - Fountains Hall

from All the Things I Know
A brief history.

Pemberley, Derbyshire, built in 1602 by Walter Darcy, a younger son who had unexpectedly inherited the estate and the much older fortified manor house which formerly existed on this site. 

Walter Darcy had made his fortune as a free-booter, or legalised pirate, on the Spanish Main.  A particularly ill-favoured man, his ugliness was supposed to have denied him a knighthood as Elizabeth I is said to have remarked, "'Od's fish, I'd as lief take as sword to that face as to the shoulders beneath."  Much offended, he retired to his estate and devoted his fortune, soon augmented by investment in the local wool industry, to building the house and laying out the magnificent gardens.

His son, Praise-and-be-thankful Darcy (originally christened Edward) flourished under the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, being a particular persecutor of village dances and old customs such as the dressing of wells and the Morris men. It is fortunate for him that his gout restricted him to local politics and his tenentry, as several near neighbours who had taken a more active interest in national affairs lost everything on the Restoration of Charles II. Praise-and-be-thankful (once more known as Edward) took this opportunity to buy up their property cheap.

His nephew, William, inherited and is said to have complained mightily that he had to leave a Cambridge professorship to take up possession.  His complaints lasted just as long as it took him to inspect the property and its accounts. 

The following heirs combined enthusiasm for various schemes with a streak of cautious practicality. John (born 1692) sold out of the South Sea Bubble at great profit in July of 1720, just before the bubble burst in August.  In view of the public outcry against the speculation, he thought it wise to travel and returned in 1722 with a new Italian bride who, though she had quite properly been baptised into the Church of England, was widely regarded locally as a crypto-papist.  Her portrait hangs in the Long Gallery: she is remarkably beautiful and the good-looks of the family is ascribed to her influence.  It was also she who is credited with the layout of the gardens, including its locally famous herb garden.

The current heir, Captain Fitzwilliam Darcy is currently overseas, serving in the Royal Navy. However, he is expected home shortly. It is unfortunate that the current occupant, his elder brother, has so far proved to be a negligent and regrettably dissolute landowner.



  • Magnificent gardens
  • A Long Gallery where the family portraits are displayed
  • A beautiful park

Fact Sheet

The fictional setting is Derbyshire, the actual setting is Yorkshire.

Location: Near Ripon, Yorkshire at Studley Royal Park

Architectural Style: Late Elizabethan 

Fun Facts: 

  • It is said to be haunted by a 'shining golden lady' dressed in 18th century fashion, two children and a few other specters.
  • Parts of The Secret Garden (1993) was set here.
  • During World War II, the building was used as a school sanatorium (not to be confused with sanitarium).

National Trust Site: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/fountains-abbey-and-studley-royal-water-garden

Spend more time in this Pemberley in

Fair Stands the Wind

2 Responses

  1. Suzan Lauder

    Wow, I adore the photograph with the snowdrops! I wonder if that was recently taken? The story to go along with the excellent architecture is hilarious, characteristic of Catherine Lodge’s quirky and dark sense of humour.

    Loved “Fair Stands the Wind,” as you know, Catherine. I’m your #1 fan. Oh, yeah, break out the pitchforks.

  2. Glynis

    A beautiful house and gorgeous gardens. Love the story as I so loved your book.
    Such a caring Darcy and a strong clever Elizabeth. She was just what he needed.