Hatfield House

Hatfield House

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Hatfield House is a country house set in a large park, the Great Park, on the eastern side of the town of Hatfield
Hatfield, Hertfordshire
Hatfield is a town and civil parish in Hertfordshire, England in the borough of Welwyn Hatfield. It has a population of 29,616, and is of Saxon origin. Hatfield House, the home of the Marquess of Salisbury, is the nucleus of the old town...

, Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England. The county town is Hertford.The county is one of the Home Counties and lies inland, bordered by Greater London , Buckinghamshire , Bedfordshire , Cambridgeshire and...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. The present Jacobean
Jacobean architecture
The Jacobean style is the second phase of Renaissance architecture in England, following the Elizabethan style. It is named after King James I of England, with whose reign it is associated.-Characteristics:...

 house was built in 1611 by Robert Cecil
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, KG, PC was an English administrator and politician.-Life:He was the son of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley and Mildred Cooke...

, First Earl of Salisbury and Chief Minister to King James I
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

 and has been the home of the Cecil family ever since. It is currently the home of Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquess of Salisbury
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquess of Salisbury
Robert Michael James Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquess of Salisbury, PC, DL , is a British Conservative politician. During the 1990s, he was Leader of the House of Lords under his courtesy title of Viscount Cranborne...

. The house is open to the public.

Early history



An earlier building on the site was the Royal Palace of Hatfield. Only part of this still exists, a short distance from the present house. This palace was the childhood home and favourite residence of Queen Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

. Built in 1497 by the Bishop of Ely, Henry VII
Henry VII of England
Henry VII was King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509, as the first monarch of the House of Tudor....

's minister John Cardinal Morton, it comprised four wings in a square surrounding a central courtyard. The palace was seized by Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 with other church properties.

Henry VIII's children Edward
Edward VI of England
Edward VI was the King of England and Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death. He was crowned on 20 February at the age of nine. The son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, Edward was the third monarch of the Tudor dynasty and England's first monarch who was raised as a Protestant...

 and Elizabeth spent their youth at Hatfield Palace. In 1548, when she was only 15 years old, Elizabeth was under suspicion of having illegally agreed to marry Thomas Seymour
Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley
Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley, KG was an English politician.Thomas spent his childhood in Wulfhall, outside Savernake Forest, in Wiltshire. Historian David Starkey describes Thomas thus: 'tall, well-built and with a dashing beard and auburn hair, he was irresistible to women'...

, the House and her servants were seized by Edward VI's agent Robert Tyrwhit, and she was interrogated there. She successfully defended her conduct with wit and defiance. Seymour was executed in 1549 for numerous other crimes against the crown. After her two months of imprisonment in the Tower of London by her sister Queen Mary
Mary I of England
Mary I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death.She was the only surviving child born of the ill-fated marriage of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Her younger half-brother, Edward VI, succeeded Henry in 1547...

, Elizabeth returned to Hatfield. The Queen Elizabeth Oak on the grounds of the estate is said to be the location where Elizabeth was told she was Queen following Mary's death. In November 1558, Elizabeth held her first Council of State
Council of State
The Council of State is a unique governmental body in a country or subdivision thereoff, though its nature may range from the formal name for the cabinet to a non-executive advisory body surrounding a head of state. It is sometimes regarded as the equivalent of a privy council.-Modern:*Belgian...

 in the Great Hall.


Elizabeth's successor James I
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

 did not like the palace much and so gave it to Elizabeth's (and his own) chief minister Robert Cecil
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, KG, PC was an English administrator and politician.-Life:He was the son of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley and Mildred Cooke...

, First Earl of Salisbury
Earl of Salisbury
Earl of Salisbury is a title that has been created several times in British history. It has a complex history, being first created for Patrick de Salisbury in the middle twelfth century. It was eventually inherited by Alice, wife of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster...

, in exchange for Theobalds which was the Cecils' family home. Cecil liked to build and so tore down three wings of the Royal Palace (the back and sides of the square) in 1608 and used the bricks to build the present structure.

The Third Marquess of Salisbury was three times Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 during the closing years of Queen Victoria
Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

's reign. The city of Salisbury (now Harare) in the colony of Rhodesia
Rhodesia
Rhodesia , officially the Republic of Rhodesia from 1970, was an unrecognised state located in southern Africa that existed between 1965 and 1979 following its Unilateral Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965...

 (now Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia and a tip of Namibia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. Zimbabwe has three...

) was founded in his time, and named for him. He is also known for often putting members of his family into the Government while Prime Minister. As his first name was Robert, this habit gave rise to the still-popular expression 'Bob's your uncle
Bob's your uncle
Bob's your uncle is an expression commonly used mainly in Britain and Commonwealth nations. Typically, someone says it to conclude a set of simple instructions to mean, "And there you have it", or "You're all set". For example, "To make a ham sandwich, just put a piece of ham between two slices of...

' (meaning roughly 'It's all right, everything is sure to come off')

Hatfield House is a popular tourist attraction because it has so many objects associated with Queen Elizabeth, including some gloves and a pair of silk stockings that are believed to have been the first ones in England. The library displays a 22 feet (6.7 m) long illuminated parchment roll showing the pedigree of Queen Elizabeth with ancestors back to Adam and Eve. The Marble Hall holds the "Rainbow Portrait" of Elizabeth.

The State Rooms house many important paintings, furniture, tapestries and armour. The richly carved wooden Grand Staircase and the rare stained glass window in the private chapel are among the house's original Jacobean features.

Gardens



The Gardens, covering 42 acres (170,000 m²), date from the early 17th century, and were laid out by John Tradescant the elder
John Tradescant the elder
John Tradescant the elder , father of John Tradescant the younger, was an English naturalist, gardener, collector and traveller, probably born in Suffolk, England...

. Tradescant visited Europe and brought back trees and plants that had never previously been grown in England. The gardens included orchards, fountains, scented plants, water parterres, terraces, herb gardens and a foot maze. They were neglected in the 18th century, but restoration began in Victorian times and continues under the present Dowager Marchioness of Salisbury.

During World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, the grounds were used to test the first British tanks. An area was dug with trenches and craters and covered with barbed-wire to represent no-man's land and German trench lines on the Western Front
Western Front (World War I)
Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by first invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne...

. To commemorate this, the only surviving Mark I tank
Mark I tank
The British Mark I was a tracked vehicle developed by the British Army during the First World War and the world's first combat tank. The Mark I entered service in August 1916, and was first used in action on the morning of 15 September 1916 during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, of the Somme...

 was sited at Hatfield from 1919 until 1970 before being moved to the Bovington Tank Museum
Bovington Tank Museum
The Tank Museum is a collection of armoured fighting vehicles in the United Kingdom that traces the history of the tank. With almost 300 vehicles on exhibition from 26 countries it is the second-largest collection of tanks and armoured fighting vehicles in the world.The Musée des Blindés in France...

.
The Rhodesian Light Infantry
Rhodesian Light Infantry
The 1st Battalion, The Rhodesian Light Infantry, commonly the Rhodesian Light Infantry , was a regiment formed in 1961 at Brady Barracks, Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia as a light infantry unit within the army of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland...

 Regimental Association has placed its 'Troopie' memorial statue on the grounds of Hatfield House, due to the long association of the Cecil family with Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). At its base is a roll of regimental members ('troopies') who fell in the Rhodesian Bush War
Rhodesian Bush War
The Rhodesian Bush War – also known as the Second Chimurenga or the Zimbabwe War of Liberation – was a civil war which took place between July 1964 and December 1979 in the unrecognised country of Rhodesia...

, along with the inscription ' For Peace and Reconciliation in Zimbabwe'.

Tours


The State Rooms can be seen in the midweek guided tours, and visitors can look around in their own time at weekends. On Friday, the Garden Connoisseur's Day, the House is open for guided tours and for pre-booked specialist groups. The Park contains the national collection of model soldiers, and five miles of marked trails.

Film credits



  • Portions of the house and exterior were used in the 1992 film, Orlando
    Orlando (film)
    Orlando is a 1992 film based on Virginia Woolf's novel Orlando: A Biography, starring Tilda Swinton as Orlando, Billy Zane as Marmaduke Bonthrop Shelmerdine, and Quentin Crisp as Queen Elizabeth. It was directed by Sally Potter....

    , starring Tilda Swinton
    Tilda Swinton
    Katherine Mathilda "Tilda" Swinton is a British actress known for both arthouse and mainstream films. She has appeared in a number of films including The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Burn After Reading, The Beach, We Need to Talk About Kevin and was nominated for a Golden Globe for her...

     as Orlando, Billy Zane
    Billy Zane
    William George "Billy" Zane, Jr. is an American actor, producer and director. He is probably best known for his roles as Caledon Hockley in Titanic, The Phantom from The Phantom, John Wheeler in Twin Peaks and Mr...

     as Marmaduke Bonthrop Shelmerdine, and Quentin Crisp
    Quentin Crisp
    Quentin Crisp , was an English writer and raconteur. He became a gay icon in the 1970s after publication of his memoir, The Naked Civil Servant.- Early life :...

     as Queen Elizabeth.

  • Many interior scenes of the Wayne Manor
    Wayne Manor
    In DC Comics, Wayne Manor is a fictional setting, the personal residence of Bruce Wayne, who is also Batman. The residence is typically depicted as a huge stately mansion on grounds outside Gotham City, maintained by the Wayne family's servant, Alfred Pennyworth...

     in the 1989 film Batman
    Batman (1989 film)
    Batman is a 1989 superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name, directed by Tim Burton. The film stars Michael Keaton in the title role, as well as Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Robert Wuhl and Jack Palance...

    and the 1992 sequel Batman Returns
    Batman Returns
    Batman Returns is a 1992 American superhero film directed by Tim Burton. Based on the DC Comics character Batman, it is the sequel to Burton's Batman , and features Michael Keaton reprising the title role, with Danny DeVito as the Penguin and Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman.Burton originally did not...

    were shot at Hatfield House.

  • The outside scenes of the two Lara Croft
    Lara Croft
    Lara Croft is a fictional character and the protagonist of the Square Enix video game series Tomb Raider. She is presented as a beautiful, intelligent, and athletic British archaeologist-adventurer who ventures into ancient, hazardous tombs and ruins around the world...

     films with Angelina Jolie
    Angelina Jolie
    Angelina Jolie is an American actress. She has received an Academy Award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and three Golden Globe Awards, and was named Hollywood's highest-paid actress by Forbes in 2009 and 2011. Jolie is noted for promoting humanitarian causes as a Goodwill Ambassador for the...

     were shot at Hatfield House which serves as her home in the film. Subsequently, the outside of Lara's mansion in the video game Tomb Raider: Underworld
    Tomb Raider: Underworld
    Tomb Raider: Underworld is the eighth instalment of the Tomb Raider series. The story continues from the events in Tomb Raider: Legend as a direct sequel, but also addresses unexplained plot elements by association with Tomb Raider: Anniversary; the 2007 remake of the original Tomb Raider...

    is based on Hatfield House. In Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
    Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
    Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life is a 2003 action film directed by Jan de Bont, and starring Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft. It is a sequel to the 2001 film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider...

    , The Long Gallery and the Library of the house were used for filming the scene where the MI6 agents meet Lara and gives her a task to retrieve Pandora's Box
    Pandora's box
    Pandora's box is an artifact in Greek mythology, taken from the myth of Pandora's creation around line 60 of Hesiod's Works and Days. The "box" was actually a large jar given to Pandora , which contained all the evils of the world. When Pandora opened the jar, all its contents except for one item...

    . The Bo Ken self defense practice scene was filmed in the entrance hall of the house.

  • It appears in 2005 film The New World with Colin Farrell
    Colin Farrell
    Colin James Farrell is an Irish actor, who has appeared in such film as Tigerland, Miami Vice, Minority Report, Phone Booth, The Recruit, Alexander and S.W.A.T....

    .

  • Hatfield House was used to portray Chartley Hall, where Mary, Queen of Scots, played by Samantha Morton
    Samantha Morton
    Samantha Jane Morton is an English actress and film director. She began her performing career with guest roles in television shows such as Soldier Soldier and Boon before making her film debut in the 1997 drama film This Is the Sea, playing the character of Hazel Stokes...

    , was kept captive before her execution, in the 2007 film The Golden Age.

  • The white frontage of the south facing view of Hatfield House was used in the 1998 film Shakespeare in Love
    Shakespeare in Love
    Shakespeare in Love is a 1998 British-American comedy film directed by John Madden and written by Marc Norman and playwright Tom Stoppard....

    as a location in Greenwich.

  • Hatfield House appeared several times throughout television film Dustbin Baby
    Dustbin Baby (film)
    Dustbin Baby is a BBC television film directed by Juliet May, based on Jacqueline Wilson's 2001 novel of the same name. It was first broadcast on BBC One on 21 December 2008. The film stars Dakota Blue Richards as April, a troubled teenager who was abandoned in a dustbin as an infant, and Juliet...

    as the manor to which Marion takes April, and as the manor where Marion and Elliot work.

  • The Long Gallery was used in the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes
    Sherlock Holmes (2009 film)
    Sherlock Holmes is a 2009 action-mystery film based on the character of the same name created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The film was directed by Guy Ritchie and produced by Joel Silver, Lionel Wigram, Susan Downey and Dan Lin. The screenplay by Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham and Simon...

    .

  • Russell Brand
    Russell Brand
    Russell Edward Brand is an English comedian, actor, columnist, singer, author and radio/television presenter.Brand achieved mainstream fame in the UK in 2004 for his role as host of Big Brother spin-off, Big Brother's Big Mouth. His first major film role was in the 2007 film St Trinians...

     filmed at the house in August 2009, for the 2010 film Get Him to the Greek
    Get Him to the Greek
    Get Him to the Greek is a 2010 American comedy film written, produced, and directed by Nicholas Stoller and starring Jonah Hill and Russell Brand. The film was released on June 4, 2010. Get Him to the Greek is a spin-off sequel of Stoller's 2008 film Forgetting Sarah Marshall, reuniting director...

    .

  • In July 2010, an episode of Antiques Roadshow
    Antiques Roadshow
    Antiques Roadshow is a British television show in which antiques appraisers travel to various regions of the United Kingdom to appraise antiques brought in by local people. It has been running since 1979...

    was filmed at Hatfield House.

  • In 2010, MasterChef Australia
    Masterchef Australia
    MasterChef Australia is a Logie award winning Australian competitive cooking game show based on the original British MasterChef. It is produced by FremantleMedia Australia and screens on Network Ten. Restaurateur and chef Gary Mehigan, chef George Calombaris and food critic Matt Preston serve as...

    filmed the contestants cooking for Heston Blumenthal
    Heston Blumenthal
    Heston Marc Blumenthal OBE is an English chef and owner of The Fat Duck, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Bray, Berkshire voted Best Restaurant in the UK by The Good Food Guide 2007 and 2009, and voted best restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine in 2005...

     in Hatfield House.

  • It featured in a November episode of Alan Titchmarsh's Garden Secrets, which studied the house's 17th century formal Garden.

  • In March 2011 Hatfield House featured as part of the 20 episode long series of the BBC's 'Royal Upstairs Downstairs' which followed the royal tour of Queen Victoria in 1846 whom visited the home.


Other films include Cromwell
Cromwell (film)
Cromwell is a 1970 film, based on the life of Oliver Cromwell who led the Parliamentary forces during the English Civil War and, as Lord Protector, ruled Great Britain and Ireland in the 1650s. It features an all-star cast led by Richard Harris as Cromwell and Alec Guinness as King Charles I...

with Alec Guinness
Alec Guinness
Sir Alec Guinness, CH, CBE was an English actor. He was featured in several of the Ealing Comedies, including Kind Hearts and Coronets in which he played eight different characters. He later won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Colonel Nicholson in The Bridge on the River Kwai...

, west side of the house, The Avengers with Sean Connery
Sean Connery
Sir Thomas Sean Connery , better known as Sean Connery, is a Scottish actor and producer who has won an Academy Award, two BAFTA Awards and three Golden Globes Sir Thomas Sean Connery (born 25 August 1930), better known as Sean Connery, is a Scottish actor and producer who has won an Academy...

 overlooking the maze, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (film)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a 2005 film adaptation of the 1964 book of the same name by Roald Dahl. The film was directed by Tim Burton. The film stars Freddie Highmore as Charlie Bucket and Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka...

starring Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp
John Christopher "Johnny" Depp II is an American actor, producer and musician. He has won the Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild award for Best Actor. Depp rose to prominence on the 1980s television series 21 Jump Street, becoming a teen idol...

 and V for Vendetta
V for Vendetta (film)
V for Vendetta is a 2005 dystopian thriller film directed by James McTeigue and produced by Joel Silver and the Wachowski brothers, who also wrote the screenplay. It is an adaptation of the V for Vendetta comic book by Alan Moore and David Lloyd...

with Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry
Stephen John Fry is an English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter and film director, and a director of Norwich City Football Club. He first came to attention in the 1981 Cambridge Footlights Revue presentation "The Cellar Tapes", which also...

.

Further reading

  • Cecil, David. The Cecils of Hatfield House: An English Ruling Family. Houghton Mifflin, 1973. [written by the younger son of the 4th Marquess of Salisbury]

External links