Calke Abbey was the wonderful and quirky setting for our beautiful Finesse story. Set in the heart of Derbyshire in a nationally recognised nature reserve, this magnificent Baroque house came into the ownership of the National Trust in 1985. Built on the site of a former priory, the house was completed in 1704 by Sir John Harpur. The family name changed to Crewe and then to Harpur Crewe and the family wealth was accumulated through clever marriage and the proceedings of land ownership. Throughout the generations the family displayed a range of eccentric characteristics from being strangely reclusive to fanatical collectors.
What makes Calke so special is its survival in an era of decline with many of it’s contents remaining astonishingly complete: room after room is filled with cases of antiquities and silver, butterflies and stuffed birds, children’s toys and minerals. The National Trust has made essential repairs to the fabric of the building, but inside it endeavours to present the place as it was found, preserving Calke Abbey’s potent, but fragile atmosphere of quiet decay.
Calke Abbey, Ticknall, Derbyshire DE73 7LE
Calke Abbey House open February to October, Mon – Wed, Sat & Sun, 12.30pm – 5pm
Calke Abbey Nature Reserve open all year round, 7.30am – 7.30pm