For three hundred years, Belton House was the seat of the Brownlow and Cust family, who had first acquired land in the area in the late 16th century. Between 1685 and 1688 Sir John Brownlow and his wife had the present mansion built. Despite great wealth they chose to build a modest country house rather than a grand contemporary Baroque palace. The contemporary, if provincial, Carolean style was the selected choice of design. However, the new house was fitted with the latest innovations such as sash windows for the principal rooms, and more importantly completely separate areas for the staff. As the Brownlows rose from baronets to barons upward to earls and then once again became barons, successive generations made changes to the interior of the house which reflected their changing social position and tastes, yet the fabric and design of the house changed little.
Following World War I (a period when the Machine Gun Corps was based in the park), the Brownlows, like many of their peers, were faced with mounting financial problems. In 1984 they gave the house away—complete with most of its contents. The recipients of their gift, the National Trust, today fully open Belton to the public. It is in a good state of repair and visited by many thousands of tourists each year. (read more . . . )
Following his capture in 1071, he was imprisoned. This incarceration lasted until 1087, when a guilt-ridden King William, in expectation of his own death, ordered Siward's release. Firm evidence of Siward's later life is non-existent, but some historians have argued that he took up a career in the Varangian Guard at Constantinople, in the service of the Emperor Alexios I Komnenos. The sources upon which this theory is based also allege that Siward led a party of English colonists to the Black Sea, who renamed their conquered territory New England. (read more . . . )
... that James Bond author Ian Fleming suggested that Dame Violet Dickson should write her autobiography while he was researching a book on Kuwait, and that her autobiographical book was eventually published but his never was?