Monday, March 28, 2016
When a friend asked if I wanted to borrow The Secrets of Highclere Castle, I just about pummeled her for the copy!
So many secrets I had not known. Want to learn more about this famous house? Grab a cup of tea and read on.
A real life Lord and Lady live in the house, along with a real life "Carson." Collin is his name. He maintains high standards and is quoted, "once they disappear you can't get them back." If you are lucky enough to see the castle, you may get a peek at Collin. He sometimes works the ticket office during the summer when the estate is open to visitors...all 60,000 of them!
A bit about the house...
The castle is the private home of Lord and Lady Carnarvon. The 8th Earl of Carnarvon is the Lord's official title. He acquired the keys to the castle in 2001.
The writer of Downton Abbey, Juliane Fellowes, is a friend of the family.
Some of the stories we viewed during the show came from real life history. For instance, did you know the house really did become a hospital during WWI? AND operations took place there also? A woman name Almena made it happen. In 1819, the 5th Earl married her. She was an heiress. Daughter of a banking giant. How lucky for the Earl! Perhaps it is by her wealth the castle still exists today? Many majestic homes, like Downton, (okay, in real life it is Highclere but isn't it fun to stay in fiction land?) had to pay high taxes they couldn't afford. AND, some also lost their servants to other jobs after the war. A few of these homes had to be demolished---GASP!
The castle sits 70 miles out of London on 5000 acres. WOW!
It takes a total of $1,000,000 (yep, one million) to run the estate on a YEARLY basis. Double WOW!
20 full time staff today.
37 historic clocks tick around the house.
A full year! Ahhhh...the memories...I miss those scenes.
There are 19 fireplaces throughout the house and 386 windows.
Four main stairwells and 356 pieces of a chandelier takes 2 days to clean. Umm...no thanks! I would leave it dusty!
The estate employs a deer stalker. Yep-they have to keep the herd down and a deer stalker does the job! A gamekeeper roams the grounds too. You couldn't miss him. He's the one dressed in the tweed suit. Blends in with the landscape! A bird is held with its head up all the way to the kitchen when it is "taken." I found this fascinating. Even in its demise, the "head is held up high."
The grounds produce award winning oats for race horses, including the Queen's. That's something to brag about!
Perhaps even more famous than having been the set for Downton Abbey, Highclere Castle will forever be known because of something greater. The 5th Earl will live on in the history books.
Highclere Castle in England is linked to Egypt!
In 1922, the 5th Earl searched the Valley of the Kings and discovered the famous steps to the tomb of King Tutankhamun! Did you know that? I sure didn't! Triple WOW! Such rich history.
Sadly, 4 months...4 short months...after he discovered the tomb, he died. UGH.
He was sitting on the Nile and got bitten by a mosquito. I knew those pesky disease carrying gnats were trouble.
Died from septicemia. Interestingly enough, back at the castle, his dog Susie is said to have howled at the very same time and died the instant the Earl did. Is that freaky or what? YIKES!
The Earl is buried on the highest point of the castle grounds.
I love this quote near the end of the program.
"What a lot we learn from those who have gone on before us."
Isn't that the truth.
Got my little fix of "Downton." I can Carry On for the day!