Kedleston Hall. An impressive Palladian mansion in the Derbyshire countryside, just a few miles to the west of Derby city centre. Kedleston has been the seat of the Curzon family for generations, almost 1,000 years! The Curzons accompanied William the Conqueror on his 1066 jaunt to England, and stayed on, accruing vast estates in the process. What’s interesting from a personal point of view is that my grandmother’s family (BULL) come from the village of Hollington (and neighbouring villages) only a few miles further west from Kedleston. I guess over the centuries their lives must have been influenced, one way or the other, by the Curzons.
The present builing was designed by Robert Adam, relatively unknown at the time he received the commission from Sir Nathaniel Curzon. Kedleston Hall remains one of the best examples of Adams’ designs still standing.
Standing in about 800 acres of parkland, Kedleston is approached along a winding road, that crosses a bridge over a weir in the man-made lake.
It was never intended, apparently as a family home, but as a venue for Lord Curzon to show off all his accumulated art.
The east wing (on the left in the photo above) did house the family quarters, while the servants lived and worked in the west wing. The Grand Salon in the central structure was meant for entertaining and displaying the works of art. The entrance today is through the ground floor on the north, and entering the main hall on the first floor the size and height of the entrance hall are very impressive with marble columns either side. There are rooms leading off on both sides, and it’s possible to make a circular tour of the rooms, passing through a music room, a sitting room, a library, the dining room, and a state bedroom, among others.
Alongside the hall is the small All Saints Church, no longer used for worship, but the mortal remains of many of the Curzon family are buried there. Under floor near the main altar are two figures of the Fifth Lord Curzon of Kedleston and his wife, dated 1275.
While this house does not have impressive gardens through which to wander, the large parkland does offer the visitor an ample opportunity for some pleasant exercise in the Derbyshire countryside.
And on the ground floor is an interesting museum of Indian artifacts – weapons, jewellery, ornaments, silverware, and costumes – from the time of George Nathaniel Curzon who was Viceroy of India from 1899-1905.