Chatsworth is the Derbyshire home of the Dukes of Devonshire.  The house dates from the Elizabethan era but the exterior was rebuilt under the 1st Duke around the start of the 18th century.  The 4th Duke widened the Derwent River in 1760 and then engaged James Paine to build the three-arched bridge.

It is thought that Jane Austen visited Chatsworth in 1811 and used it as the background for Pemberley in Pride and Prejudice.


Jane Austen's Pemberley

Home of  Mr. Darcy

 West Front
Chatsworth House from west
James Paine's bridge in foreground
 Jane Austen




"It was a large, handsome, stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills; -- and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance."



Chapter 43 of Pride and Prejudice begins:

ELIZABETH, as they drove along, watched for the first appearance of Pemberley Woods with some perturbation; and when at length they turned in at the lodge, her spirits were in a high flutter.

The park was very large, and contained great variety of ground. They entered it in one of its lowest points, and drove for some time through a beautiful wood, stretching over a wide extent.

Elizabeth's mind was too full for conversation, but she saw and admired every remarkable spot and point of view. They gradually ascended for half a mile, and then found themselves at the top of a considerable eminence, where the wood ceased, and the eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated on the opposite side of a valley, into which the road, with some abruptness, wound....  Elizabeth was delighted.  She had never seen a place for which nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste.

They descended the hill, crossed the bridge, and drove to the door.




Chatsworth Park covers about 1100 acres and is surrounded by a deer fence nine miles long.  It was laid out by Lancelot ("Capability") Brown who planted the woods which Mrs. Gardiner deems "some of the finest in the country" in chapter 42.

Apparently Jane Austen imagines the Gardiners and Elizabeth Bennet walking from the house down along the east side of the Derwent and up into the woods.  They cross the bridge at the south end of the park and return up the west side of the river, where they are joined by Mr. Darcy.

Chatsworth Estate

"Mr. Gardiner expressed a wish of going round the whole Park, but feared it might be beyond a walk.  With a triumphant smile, they were told that it was ten miles round."

"Every disposition of the ground was good; and Elizabeth looked on the whole scene -- the river, the trees scattered on its banks, and the winding of the valley, as far as she could trace it -- with delight."

"And of this place," thought she, "I might have been mistress!"




Perhaps ironically, the year of Jane's visit marked the beginning of an 81 year drought of mistresses at Chatsworth.  The 5th Duke died on July 29th, 1811.  His son never married and has always been known as the Bachelor Duke.  The 7th Duke had been a widower for 18 years when he succeeded in 1858 and would live out his days in continued mourning for his wife.  The 8th Duke succeeded in 1891 and married a year later.


South Front
Chatsworth House from south
Sea-horse Fountain (1688) in foreground

"They were all of them warm in their admiration; and at that moment Elizabeth felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!"




In Jane's day, Chatsworth House consisted of the main block alone - the part to the left of the tree. The north wing, to the right, was added by the 6th Duke in the 1820s. Its rooms include the Sculpture Gallery, the Great Dining Room, and the Orangery.

 East Front
Chatsworth House from east

"On applying to see the place..."

Chatsworth has always been open to the public.  In 1849 when the railway reached the nearby village of Rowsley, 80,000 people visited.  Today 400,000 tour the house and garden each year.




 to Edensor
Path to the estate village of  Edensor
 enter the garden
Chatsworth's garden  is worth a visit.

External links:

Chapter 43 of Pride and Prejudice Republic of Pemberley Chatsworth Chatsworth Walkabout Jane Austen Hyper-Concordance


Local links:


Jane Austen stayed here



Jane Austen's Illness

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This webpage by Robert Loney


Comments/queries: rloney@orchard-gate.com Bean stone clue: The name of the second wife is fairly obvious. Irish Story