Chatsworth House - Estate

Estate

Chatsworth is the hub of a 35,000 acres (140 km2) agricultural estate. The Chatsworth estate, together with 30,000 acres (120 km2) around Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire (mostly moorland) and some land in Eastbourne, belongs to The Trustees of Chatsworth Settlement, a family trust established in 1946. The Duke and other members of the family are entitled to the income. The family's 8,000 acres (32 km2) Lismore Castle estate in Ireland is held in a separate trust. The estate includes dozens of tenanted farms and over 450 houses and flats. There are five sub-estates scattered across Derbyshire:

  • The Main Estate is a compact block of 12,310 acres (50 km²) around the house, including the park and many properties in the villages of Baslow, Pilsley, Edensor, Beeley, and Calton Lees.
  • The West Estate is 6,498 acres (26.30 km2) of scattered high ground, mostly in the Peak District and partly in Staffordshire. Hartington, from which the family takes its secondary title is nearby.
  • The Shottle Estate is 3,519 acres (14.24 km2) in and around Shottle, which is around 15 miles (24 km) south of Chatsworth. This is low-lying land and is home to most of the dairy farms on the estate, and also has some arable farms.
  • The Staveley Estate is 3,400 acres (14 km2) at Staveley near Chesterfield, including a 355 acres (1.44 km2) industrial site called Staveley Works, which is let to various tenants, some woodlands, and arable farms.
  • The Scarcliffe Estate, mostly arable farms, is 9,320 acres (37.7 km2) east of Chesterfield.

The Chatsworth Settlement has a wide range of sources of income in addition to agricultural rents. Several thousand acres of the estate, mostly around Chatsworth and on the Staveley estate, are farmed in hand. A number of properties may be rented as holiday cottages, including the Bess of Hardwick's Hunting Tower in the park. Several quarries produce limestone and other minerals.

The 11th Duke and Duchess did not opt for the "theme park" approach to modernising a country estate, but they did throw off the traditional aristocratic reluctance to participate in commerce. The Chatsworth Farm Shop is a very large enterprise in the UK, employing over a hundred people. A 90-seat restaurant opened at the Farm Shop in 2005. From 1999 to 2003 there was also a shop in the exclusive London district of Belgravia, but it was not successful and closed down. The Settlement also runs the four shops and the catering operations at Chatsworth, paying a percentage of turnover to the charitable Chatsworth House Trust in lieu of rent. It also runs the Devonshire Arms Hotel and the Devonshire Fell Hotel & Bistro on the Bolton Abbey estate and owns the Cavendish Hotel at Baslow on the edge of Chatsworth Park, which is let to a tenant. The old kitchen garden at Barbrook on the edge of the park is let to the Caravan Club, and a paddock at the southern end of the park where bucks used to be fattened for Chatsworth's table is a tenanted garden centre. In both cases the Settlement receives a percentage of turnover as rent. There is also a line of Chatsworth branded foods, endorsed with the Dowager Duchess's signature, which is available by mail order. The Dowager Duchess has also established Chatsworth Design to exploit intellectual property rights to the Devonshire collections, and a furniture company called Chatsworth Carpenters, but the latter has now been licensed to an American company.

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