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“Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place where nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste”

Stately screen settings

Jane Austen, Pride And Prejudice

Some of England’s finest houses have brought the fictional locations of Pride And Prejudice to life

Belton House in Lincolnshire was used as Rosings, the impressive estate of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, in the BBC’s 1995 adaptation starring Colin Firth as Mr Darcy.

In the 2005 film adaptation of Pride And Prejudice starring Keira Knightley, Burghley House, in Stamford, Lincolnshire, was chosen as the location for Rosings.

The church of St Nicholas, Steventon. Members of the Austen family, including Jane’s father, were rectors here from 1759 to 1873

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walking alone to Netherfield in Pride And Prejudice. She writes of her “jumping over stiles with impatient activity, and finding herself at last within view of the house, with weary ankles, dirty stockings and a face glowing with the warmth of exercise”. Her arrival in dirty wet petticoats causes a stir with the Bingley sisters in their London finery. Jane mixed regularly with the Hampshire rural gentry – another rich source of inspiration – attending balls at local stately homes such as The Vyne and The Assembly Rooms in Basingstoke. She was also a frequent visitor to Manydown Park, the estate home of the Austens’ family friends, the Bigg-Withers. It was recorded at one of the many social functions held there she was seen to dance with a young Irishman, Tom Lefroy. It is understood the young couple were smitten, but his relatives whisked him away to Ireland to prevent a fledgling romance, simply because neither of them had any money.

A marriage proposal soon followed when the heir of Manydown Park, Harris Bigg-Withers, asked for her hand in marriage. Jane did accept only to change her mind the next morning. She turned her back on all the material advantages of marrying a wealthy man because she did not love him. There are suggestions she had a further short-lived romance but the young man, who died shortly after their relationship ended, is never named. Jane had a special talent for capturing the often painful rituals of courting, coupled with her observations of rural life, which made for inspired story-telling. The countryside was where Jane was at her happiest, then when she was 26, her father retired and the family moved to Bath. Jane’s sadness and displeasure at this urban location, and its society, is well documented in her letters. After her father died suddenly in 1805 she, her mother and sister Cassandra, moved back to Hampshire to a cottage in ›

Above: Pemberley, the home of Mr Darcy, has been portrayed on screen by Lyme Park in Cheshire. Below: Steventon rectory was the Austen family home until 1805. There, they kept cows, chickens and grew their own produce

The grounds of Chatsworth House in Derbyshire were used to portray the exterior scenes of Darcy’s grand country estate Pemberley in the same film.

Renishaw Hall, Derbyshire, the ancestral home of the Sitwells, was also a filming location for Pemberley – this time in a 1980 television adaptation.

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