What to See in England
By Gordon Home
Public Domain Books
THE SEAT OF THE DUKE OF RUTLAND
=How to get there.=–Train from King’s Cross. Great Northern Rly. =Nearest Station.=–Grantham (7 miles from Belvoir Castle). =Distance from London.=–105-1/4 miles. =Average Time.=–Varies between 2 and 2-3/4 hours.
1st 2nd 3rd =Fares.=–Single 15s. 10d. ... 8s. 9d. Return 31s. 8d. ... 17s. 6d.
=Accommodation Obtainable.=–"Angel Hotel,” etc., at Grantham. =Alternative Route.=–None.
Belvoir Castle, the Leicestershire seat of the Duke of Rutland, stands on a lofty eminence, commanding a magnificent view over the rich vale of Belvoir. It was originally founded by Robert de Todeni, a Norman noble, and a standard-bearer to William the Conqueror. In the reign of Henry III. the property passed to Robert de Roos, and in the time of Henry VIII. to the family of Manners, who have held it ever since. The building suffered much damage during the Wars of the Roses and the Parliamentary Civil War. James I. was entertained there in 1603, on his way from Scotland to London, by Roger, the fifth Earl. In 1814, George IV., then Prince Regent, visited the castle, in commemoration of which one of the towers was named Regent Tower. In 1816, alterations were being carried out in the interior, under the direction of James Wyatt, the architect, when a fire broke out and almost entirely destroyed the castle. The picture gallery and the grand staircase perished utterly, and the damage was reckoned at £120,000. The final restoration was completed by Matthew Wyatt, who succeeded in building one of the finest palaces in the length and breadth of England. One of the features of the mansion is a magnificent picture gallery in which hang priceless works by Nicolas Poussin, Claude, Murillo, Reynolds, Gainsborough, and other old masters. The name “Belvoir” is derived from the magnificent prospects lying around it in all directions, the view extending over the level country for 30 miles; more than 170 towns and villages are visible within its horizon. The castle is situated in the midst of a fine sporting country, the Belvoir hounds being one of the finest packs in the country.
Near the mansion, and below it, are some remains of a priory also founded by the Norman owner, Robert de Todeni, about 1076. This priory was dedicated to St. Mary, and was annexed to the Abbey of St. Albans.
[Illustration: G.W. Wilson & Co. BELVOIR CASTLE.
It was originally founded by Robert de Todeni, a standard-bearer to William the Conqueror.]