14 September 2011

Wentworth Village and Wentworth Estate, Yorkshire

As I´m popping back to my roots again in a few days to visit my mum, thoughts go back to childhood visits to the grandparents in Greaseborough, Rotherham and mainly to the dam.

Every Boxing Day we´d walk around the dam which was part of the Wentworth Estate belonging to the Wentworths, Watsons and Fitzwilliams families. The village of Wentworth dates back to 1066 and has belonged to these families until 1979 when the Fitzwilliam family died out and the entire estate is now managed.






My paternal great grandfather was head gameskeeper on the Fitzwilliam Estate moving up country from Chatsworth we believe.

The whole of Wentworth village is like a living museum, well kept and well used with black-stained buildings as if the mine industry was still at work there.

The house itself, which is pretty well hidden, is the largest in Britain with the longest frontage of any country house in England and is indeed spectacular (haven´t found the photo yet). Walking across the estate there is a point where it can be seen across the lawns, but close access isn´t allowed, although rumours say it is being renovated for public opening.

Wentworth Nursery is also a popular outing with the locals for its really good gift shops, garden shop and the new restaurant which can get very busy but does a fairly good range and decent standard of food. I always go to make mum walk around with the excuse of buying seeds that I can´t get in Andalucia, mainly mixed lettuce selections.

The top photo, I think I´m right in remembering is part of the kennels, the second a one-time windmill now lived in. I went inside as a girl and loved the round walls and no corners, the best bit being that the settee had a huge space behind to hide in.

The bottom picture is one of the several follies on the estate that one Earl or another built from time to time.

There´s an extraordinarily touching book written about Wentworth House and the decline of the aristocrats who ruled a large portion of this area and its coal mines.

Black Diamonds The Rise and Fall of an English Dynasty by Catherine Bailey is a real eye-opener to the ways of the priviliged few whose lifestyle was at the expense of the local mining community who lived in squalor.