The façade of Burghley House
Location within Cambridgeshire
|Town or city||Peterborough|
|Client||William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley|
|Structural system||Ashlar limestone|
The house is now within the boundary of the Peterborough unitary authority of the ceremonial county of Cambridgeshire and was part of the Soke of Peterborough, an historic area that was traditionally associated with Northamptonshire. It lies 0.9 miles (1.4 km) south of Stamford and 10 miles (16 km) northwest of the city of Peterborough.
Burghley was built for Sir William Cecil, later 1st Baron Burghley, who was Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I, between 1558 and 1587 and modelled on the privy lodgings of Richmond Palace. It was subsequently the residence of his descendants, the earls and, since 1801, marquesses of Exeter. Since 1961 it has been owned by a charitable trust established by the family.
Lady Victoria Leatham, antiques expert and television personality, followed her father, Olympic gold-medal winning hurdler and runner, IAAF President and MP David "Burghley" Cecil, the 6th marquess by running the house from 1982 to 2007. The Olympic corridor commemorates her father. Her daughter Miranda Rock is now the most active live-in trustee. However, the Marquessate passed in 1988 to Victoria's uncle, and then to his son, both Canadian ranchers who have not resided there.
The house is one of the main examples of stonemasonry and proportion in sixteenth-century English Elizabethan architecture, reflecting the prominence of its founder and the lucrative wool trade of the Cecil estates. It has a suite of rooms remodelled in the baroque style, with carvings by Grinling Gibbons. The main part of the house has 35 major rooms on the ground and first floors. There are more than 80 lesser rooms and numerous halls, corridors, bathrooms and service areas.
In the seventeenth century, the open loggias around the ground floor were enclosed. Although the house was built in the floor plan shape of the letter E in honour of Queen Elizabeth, it is now missing its north-west wing. During the period of the 9th earl's ownership, and under the guidance of Capability Brown, the south front was raised to alter the roof line, and the north-west wing was demolished to allow better views of the new parkland.
In the Pagoda Room there are portraits of the Cecil family, Queen Elizabeth I, her father Henry VIII and Oliver Cromwell. Many delicately painted walls and ceilings of the house were done by Antonio Verrio.
The Domesday village of Burghley was abandoned by 1450. The national history body field investigator in 1968 suggests that failure to locate it by archaeology is because it is below Burghley House.
The avenues in the park were all laid out by Capability Brown, paying due respect to pre-existing plantings, some of which were from the 16th century or earlier. Brown also created the park's man-made lake in 1775–80. He discovered a seam of waterproof "blue" clay in the grounds, and was able to enlarge the original 9-acre (36,000 m²) pond to the existing 26-acre (105,000 m²) lake. Its clever design gives the impression of a meandering river. Brown also designed the Lion Bridge at a cost of 1,000 guineas (£1,050[nb 1]) in 1778. Originally, Coade-stone lions were used as ornamentation. After these weathered, the existing stone examples were made by local mason Herbert Gilbert in 1844. Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert also planted two trees to commemorate their visit.
Recent developments have included starting a sculpture garden around the old ice house and, in 2007, a "garden of surprises" was created using traditional ideas of water traps, shell grottos and a mirror maze, but in a 21st-century style. The Burghley House trust has commissioned contemporary artwork in the grounds from leading artists.
The Lincolnshire county boundary crosses between the town of Stamford and the house. Burghley is located in the ancient Soke of Peterborough, once a part of Northamptonshire but now for ceremonial purposes in Cambridgeshire; for planning and other municipal functions the house is in the Peterborough unitary authority.
Burghley House has been featured in several films. Its virtually unaltered Elizabethan façades and a variety of historic interiors make it an ideal location for historical and period movies.
Films and programmes made at Burghley include:
- The Da Vinci Code
- Pride & Prejudice
- Elizabeth: The Golden Age
- BBC Two filmed a 15-part series about Burghley broadcast in the Castle in the Country programmes 2006.
- Featured in the 2007 BBC series How We Built Britain
- Burghley House was one of fifteen structures featured in the 2010 BBC series Climbing Great Buildings
- In 2011 Burghley House featured on the TV programme Royal Upstairs Downstairs.
- Housefull 2: The Dirty Dozen Indian Movie 2012
- Antiques Roadshow, Season 20, Episode 18
- Cecil House, 16th and 17th century demolished London residences.
- Theobalds House, second house half-way to London, built by the founder in Hertfordshire.
- Brown's works costs equate to between £120000 (auto-generated on minimum basis) or £138000 (2011) (Bank of England calculator).
- "Burghley or Burleigh". Collins Dictionary. n.d. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
- Turner, Roger (1999). Capability Brown and the Eighteenth Century English Landscape (2nd ed.). Chichester: Phillimore. pp. 110–112.
- "Burghley House", Pastscape (English Heritage), retrieved 25 June 2010
- Alford, Stephen (2008). Burghley: William Cecil at the Court of Elizabeth I.
- Leatham, Lady Victoria (1992). Burghley:The life of a great house. Herbert Press Ltd. ISBN 978-1-871569-47-6.
- "Charity commission summary for charity 258489 Burghley House Preservation Trust Limited".
- "Great Houses". Daily Telegraph.
- "Burghley House Preservation Trust Limited". at Burghley's web site
- "Martin Cecil mural fills missing piece of 100 Mile House history". BC Local News. 21 September 2011. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
- Pevsner, Nicholas. The Buildings of England. Northamptonshire.
- Leaflet published by the Trust
- Leatham, Lady Victoria (2000). Great Houses of Britain. Burghley House (3 ed.). Heritage House Group Ltd. ISBN 978-0-85101-351-0.
- Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1127501)". National Heritage List for England.
- "National Monument record for the deserted medieval village of Burghley".
- "National Monument record for the park, describing stages of remodelling".
- "National Monument record for original park".
- Bank of England Inflation Calculator, see below
- "South Gardens". Burghley Trust. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
- "Burghley Horse trials".
- "Cambridge University Draghounds meeting calendar, showing run at Burghley".
- "Burghley's web page for the Garden of Surprises".
- "Fresh Take". Burghley Trust. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
- Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1331234)". National Heritage List for England.
- Historic England. "Burghley House (1000359)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
- "Pride and Prejudice". The Castles and Manor Houses of Cinema's Greatest Period Films. Architectural Digest. January 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2013.
- "Burghley House". TV.com. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
- Lewis, Samuel, ed. (1848). A Topographical Dictionary of England. pp. 266–269, 'Marston–Maisey – Martin–Hussingtree'. Retrieved 1 January 2011. description of the St Martin's parish, with mention the visits of Queens Elisabeth & Victoria to Burghley House
- Pathe newsreel, 1929, Lord Burghley competing at AAA event
- Pathe Newsreel, 1966, Queen visits horse trials
- Pathe newsreel, 1967, Horse trials
- Burghley House as seen from a Hot Air Balloon (beginning at 2:40 mark of video)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Burghley House.|
- Official site
- Burghley House entry from The DiCamillo Companion to British & Irish Country Houses
- Eventful.com: Burghley House page
- Horse trials summarised
- Panoramic view of house and grounds
- Images of England entry for Burghley House
- Photos of Burghley House and parklands on geograph
- Review of Gardens of Surprise