Elvaston Castle

Elvaston Castle gardens

An Elvaston Hall existed on this site in the reign of Edward IV when it was occupied by a Walter Blount but it was during the reign of Henry VIII in 1538 when Sir Michael Stanhope was given the manors of Shelford and Elvaston that the Stanhope family first came to Elvaston.


The first member of the family to be granted the title of Earl of Harrington was William Stanhope, who took his seat in the House of Lords on Monday 22 July 1717 and became the 1st Earl of Harrington in 1742.

A major rebuild of the house took place in 1633 and a remaining gable of that Jacobean style house can still be seen today incorporated into the South front of the castle where a date stone above the mullioned first floor bay window records the year.

The castellated building we see today was commissioned by the third Earl to the designs of the great Gothisist James Wyatt whose masterpiece is probably Belvoir Castle, remodelled for the Duke of Rutland.

Unfortunately James Wyatt was not to see the rebuild of Elvaston Hall completed as he died in a coaching accident on Marlborough Downs in September 1813 and it was left to his assistant Robert Walker to supervise the actual building programme from 1815-19.

Successive Earls of Harrington continued to occupy the house until the 11th Earl of Harrington finally left Elvaston for his estates in Ireland in 1939 and the house was taken over by 147 students and teachers from Derby Tertiary Training College who were evacuated from Derby to Elvaston at the outbreak of WWII.

After the war the castle remained unoccupied until 1963 when the castle was sold to Needlers Development, a quarry company. The castle and 390 acres of land subsequently went up for sale and were bought jointly by Derbyshire County Council and Derby Corporation, for the establishment of England's first country park. We became sole owners in 1979.