Beautiful Belvoir, Home of the Dukes of Rutland

by Victoria Hinshaw

His Grace the 11th Duke of Rutland and his lovely Duchess have celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Manners family at Belvoir Castle (pronounced Bee-ver). In 1509, Sir Robert Manners married Eleanor de Ros, heiress of the property, and from that time forward, it has been passed down through the Manners family. Another heiress, Dorothy Vernon, also married into the Manners family and brought her inheritance of Haddon Hall along with her. See my previous post on Haddon Hall on this blog April 8, 2010.

The property was already ancient when the Manners arrived. The first castle, almost a thousand years ago, was built overlooking the Vale of Belvoir after the Norman Conquest by Robert de Todeni, standard bearer for William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The present castle, remodeled and rebuilt beginning in 1799, is the fourth to stand here. Designed in the popular Regency-era style of Gothick Revival, Belvoir has turrets, towers and battlements that serve no purpose beyond decoration.

I visited a few years ago with Kristine Hughes, and several good friends who love the Regency era. Upon our approach, we were accosted by a pair of highwaymen who abducted Kristine’s daughter, Brooke, and writer Diane Gaston, captured in the pictures.

Highwaymen abducting Brooke Hughes at Belvoir Castle

Ready to carry off Diane Gaston

How we pleaded and offered our treasures to the miscreants before they relented and posed for pictures with all of us. If you want to be treated to such an interlude, the castle can make the arrangements.

Upon entry, one is confronted with the gateroom, a vast collection of spears, swords, muskets, hatchets, shields, and armor. Very impressive.

Many thanks to Photographer Richard A. Higgins for permission to use his excellent picture
of the Guard Room.  See more of his work here.

In one of the hallways, there is a long row of leather buckets, for use in putting out fires. The Bucket Brigade.

The castle houses priceless collections of artwork and decorative objects. Among my favorites are the magnificent family portraits by Gainsborough, Reynolds and Lawrence.

Many of the rooms are splendid beyond belief, the very height of Regency elegance. In fact, scenes in The Young Victoria were filmed here, as a stand-in for Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle.

I suspect this still of Emily Blunt as The Young Victoria was shot at Belvoir.

Take a virtual tour of Belvoir here.

Since my words cannot adequately describe the castle, here are a few more lovely pictures for you. To me, this is eye candy indeed.

Let's all wish the Manners family another 500 years at Belvoir Castle.

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