Once Upon A Classic
The modern form of entertainment boasts a canvas of technological options. Decades ago, the medium of choice was the impromptu and improvisational storytelling milieu, in all its pomp and circumstance, set amidst nature or the proverbial town square.
There are plenty of estates across the world and throughout history. The British nobility sport some of the most noteworthy estates, to date. At a distance of 70 miles west of London, Highclere set the pattern for others to follow from the 12 century onward. Nearly 75 miles north of London, Althorp beget this tradition from the 16 century to the present day. During the same time period but nearly 160 miles north of London, the prominence bestowed to Chatsworth would endure for a pithy 500 years.
Most of the estates that persevered through the years started as nothing more than monastery land. Those lands were later developed into the setting for the palaces and castles of Earls and Dukes. The earliest estate was the Highclere mansion which is owned by the Carnarvon family. The mansion was home to the fifth Earl of Carnarvon who led the Egyptian expedition that discovered the tomb of King Tutankhamun.
Another vital contribution by an estate originated at the ancestral home of the Spencer family. The estate with the most memorable resident is Althorp where Princess Diana was raised and which marks a memorial to her indomitable legacy. The late Princess of Wales became the mother of the future King of England and a symbol of hope for an entire world of impoverished lives.
The majority of estates have nurtured a cloistered, secluded environment but have garnered the attention of guests whose visit lasted longer than the norm. The younger sister of an American president befriended the Duke of Devonshire; a courtship that ended tragically when the future Duke was killed while serving in the war. Kathleen Kennedy was subsequently killed in an airplane crash only a month after wedding the heir to the Duke of Chatsworth.
These British manors have been sanctuaries for the families involved. Sanctuaries with sizeable land: Highclere contains 5,000 acres, Althorp covers 14,500 acres, and Chatsworth boasts a modest assortment totaling 35,000 acres. More recently, the manors have been opened to the public as centerpieces of national heritage. Where the aristocracy once concerned themselves with gaming, gardening, and galavanting, the public now treat themselves to park diversion and museum tours. Above and beyond that, others have touched increasingly more lives as the setting for the televised drama better known to admirers on either side of the Atlantic Ocean as, Downton Abbey.
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