Front and Side Facades
The Print Room
The Dining Room
Dining Room Wall and Column
Dining Room Wall Panel
Dining Room Wall Decoration
The Drawing Room
Drawing Room Commode
The Bird Lobby
The School Room
Earlier Houses: Calke Priory, a 12th century religious house that was secularized during the reign of Henry VIII, once stood on the site of the current house.
House & Family History: The Harpur family fortune was made in the law. Sir Henry Harpur, 1st Bt., purchased the Calke Estate in 1621; the 4th Baronet, Sir John Harpur, rebuilt an existing house in the Baroque style in the early 18th century, leaving it largely as seen today. During the Napoleonic Wars Sir Henry Crewe, 7th Bt., commissioned Haydn to compose the "Derbyshire Marches" to provide his volunteer yeomanry with appropriate music. It was also this Sir Henry who, in 1808, renamed the house Calke Abbey. The Harpur-Crewes had a long tradition (lasting until the late 20th century) of serving as high sheriffs of Derbyshire. The males of the family had a streak of strangeness that revealed itself in the form of very reclusive natures with a passion for collecting all sorts of things, with a particular interest in natural history. The Library at Calke contains over 7,000 volumes and is one of the largest libraries in any Trust house. The National Trust took over this famous "sleeping house that time forgot" in 1985 with an unprecedented grant from of £4.5 million from the government.
Collections: The Harpur-Crewe family collected stuffed birds and animals, shells, insects, eggs, fossils, and carriages, plus many other unusual things that are today displayed in the House. There is also a very fine 18th century state bed, virtually untouched for 200 years, and a rare 1870 globe with red lines that show the farthest reaches of the British Empire at the time.
Garden & Outbuildings: By the late 1820s there were over 50 varieties of geranium at Calke Abbey. A small yellow wallflower named after the family, Cheiranthus Harpur Crewe, is widely grown today. Three lodges, including Middle Lodge, were designed by William Wilkins.
Chapel & Church: The Elizabethan Calke Church was probably built by Richard Wendsley; it was remodeled 1827-29 by Sir George Crewe.
Architect: Francis SmithDate: 1727-28
Architect: William GilksDate: 1712-14
Architect: James GibbsDate: 1727-28
Architect: Joseph PickfordDate: 1768
Architect: William Wilkins, Sr.Date: 1793-1808
Architect: Samuel BrowneDate: 1808-10
John Bernard (J.B.) Burke, published under the title of A Visitation of the Seats and Arms of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland, among other titles: Vol. I, p. 107, 1852.
Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - HARDBACK
Author: Colvin, Howard
Year Published: 2008
Reference: pgs. 170, 421, 428, 803, 944, 1121
Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
Book Type: Hardback
Title: Belton House Guidebook - 1992
Author: Tinniswood, Adrian
Year Published: 1992
Reference: pg. 2
Publisher: London: The National Trust
Book Type: Softback
Title: Royal Oak Newsletter, The
Year Published: NA
Reference: Summer 2002, pg. 3
Publisher: New York: The Royal Oak Foundation
Book Type: Magazine
Title: Disintegration of a Heritage: Country Houses and their Collections, 1979-1992, The
Author: Sayer, Michael
Year Published: 1993
Publisher: Norfolk: Michael Russell (Publishing)
Book Type: Hardback
House Listed: Grade I
Park Listed: Grade II
Past Seat of: John Prest, 1537-46. William Bradborne, 16th century. John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland, 16th century. Richard Wendsley, 1575-85. Sir Henry Harpur, 1st Bt., 1622-38; Sir John Harpur, 2nd Bt., 1638-69; Sir John Harpur, 3rd Bt., 1669-81; Sir John Harpur, 4th Bt., 1681-1741; Sir Henry Harpur, 5th Bt., 1741-48; Sir Henry Harpur, 6th Bt., 1748-89; Sir Henry Crewe, 7th Bt., 1789-1819; Sir George Crewe, 8th Bt., 1819-44; Sir John Harpur-Crewe, 9th Bt., 1844-86; Sir Vauncey Harpur-Crewe, 10th Bt., 1886-1924; Harpur-Crewe family here from 1622 until 1984.
Current Ownership Type: The National Trust
Primary Current Ownership Use: Visitor Attraction