Calke Abbey — An English Country House Frozen in Time

Calke Abbey is an 18th-century country house near Ticknall, Derbyshire, England, in the care of the charitable National Trust.

The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty is the largest membership organization in the United Kingdom.

a charity that works to preserve and protect historic places and spaces—for ever, for everyone.

Join me as we take a tour of an English Country House, frozen in time.

Calke Abbey, Derbyshire. Credit PJMarriott
Calke Abbey, Derbyshire. Credit PJMarriott
Calke Abbey main building. Credit Thomas Quine
Calke Abbey main building. Credit Thomas Quine
Calke Abbey, Derbyshire
Calke Abbey, Derbyshire
Calke Abbey, Derbyshire. Credit Chris Hoare
Calke Abbey, Derbyshire. Credit Chris Hoare
The Drawing Room at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire. Credit Thomas Quine
The Drawing Room at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire. Credit Thomas Quine
The Dining Room , Calke Abbey. Credit Phil Sangwell
The Dining Room , Calke Abbey. Credit Phil Sangwell
Mantelpiece in Calke Abbey. Credit Mark Longair
Mantelpiece in Calke Abbey. Credit Mark Longair
The Salon at Calke Abbey, Derbeyshire. Credit Thomas Quine
The Salon at Calke Abbey, Derbeyshire. Credit Thomas Quine
The library at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire. Credit Thomas Quine
The library at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire. Credit Thomas Quine

While we’re in the library, fancy a game of Happy Families? (called “Cheery Families” in the mid 19th century).

Happy Families (Cheery Families) in Calke Abbey. Credit Mark Longair
Happy Families (Cheery Families) in Calke Abbey. Credit Mark Longair
Winding Staircase at Calke Abbey. Credit Thomas Quine
Winding Staircase at Calke Abbey. Credit Thomas Quine
Family portraits on the stairway. Credit Thomas Quine
Family portraits on the stairway. Credit Thomas Quine

Created in 1626, the Harpur-Crewe Baronetcy, of Calke Abbey, Derbyshire was a title in the Baronetage of England.

Passed down through ten Baronets, the title became extinct in 1924 when the estate went to the female line and then to the grandson of the last Baronet.

Inheritance tax forced the sale after his death in 1981 and in 1985, the National Trust took possession.

Reminiscent of Mr Darcy in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Sir Henry Crewe the 7th Baronet, became one of the richest land owners in Derbyshire, with an income of, you guessed it, £10,000.

Described as an “unfortunate connection” by his mother Lady Frances because it breached the social conventions of the time, Sir Henry married his mistress, a lady’s maid called Ann or Nany Hawkins.

The Harpur-Crewe Baronets had a fascination with taxidermy, displaying all manner of birds, insects, game, and even prize cattle around the house, some in glass cases and some mounted on walls.

Bird showcases at Callke Abbey, Derbyshire. Credit Thomas Quine
Bird showcases at Callke Abbey, Derbyshire. Credit Thomas Quine
Taxidermy - the hobby of a gentleman naturalist. Credit Thomas Quine
Taxidermy – the hobby of a gentleman naturalist. Credit Thomas Quine
Boar's Head. The Harpur-Crewe family that owned Calke Abbey had a fascination with taxidermy. Credit Thomas Quine
Boar’s Head. The Harpur-Crewe family that owned Calke Abbey had a fascination with taxidermy. Credit Thomas Quine
The Breakfast Room , Calke Abbey
The Breakfast Room , Calke Abbey

Hinting at the joys of children’s laughter throughout the house at one time are these high chairs for meal times.

Children's chairs, Calke Abbey, Derbyshire. Credit Thomas Quine
Children’s chairs, Calke Abbey, Derbyshire. Credit Thomas Quine

How many hours of happiness did this cheerful rocking horse provide?

Antique Rocking Horse, Calke Abbey. Credit Thomas Quine
Antique Rocking Horse, Calke Abbey. Credit Thomas Quine

And at one time, a child’s imagination would be set alight by the magical miniature world of dollhouses.

Related post: The Magical Miniature World of Antique Dollhouses

Details of a Doll's House in Calke Abbey. Credit Mark Longair
Details of a Doll’s House in Calke Abbey. Credit Mark Longair

Sitting patiently on a window ledge, a Piggy Bank waits for its stored change to be used to buy more toys for a rainy day.

Piggy Bank at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire. Credit Thomas Quine
Piggy Bank at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire. Credit Thomas Quine
Calke Abbey Kitchen. Credit Bob Radlinski, flickr
Calke Abbey Kitchen. Credit Bob Radlinski, flickr
Antique carriage, Calke Abbey. Credit Thomas Quine
Antique carriage, Calke Abbey. Credit Thomas Quine
Antique Wheelchair, Calke Abbey. Credit Thomas Quine
Antique Wheelchair, Calke Abbey. Credit Thomas Quine
Calke Abbey Gardens, Derbyshire. Credit Bob Radlinski, flickr
Calke Abbey Gardens, Derbyshire. Credit Bob Radlinski, flickr
The Orangery , Calke Abbey. Credit Phil Sangwell
The Orangery , Calke Abbey. Credit Phil Sangwell
Walled garden and Gardener's Cottage at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire. Credit Nancy
Walled garden and Gardener’s Cottage at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire. Credit Nancy

To keep the grounds looking immaculate, a host of equipment was needed, including manual mowers, lawn rollers, edge trimmers and other garden tools—all stored just how the gardener left them 100 years ago.

The Garden Shed - Calke Abbey, Derbyshire. Credit Bob Radlinski, flickr
The Garden Shed – Calke Abbey, Derbyshire. Credit Bob Radlinski, flickr
Calke Abbey Garden Shed, Derbyshire. Credit Bob Radlinski, flickr
Calke Abbey Garden Shed, Derbyshire. Credit Bob Radlinski, flickr

Like the immovable sundial in the grounds, the clock stopped for Calke Abbey. It is locked in a time capsule.

Inhabited by privilege it was, but it was built and cared for by ordinary working folk like you and me.

We need to preserve our heritage because it is our story too.

Calke Abbey sundial, Calke Abbey. Credit Thomas Quine
Calke Abbey sundial, Calke Abbey. Credit Thomas Quine
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