Deene Park, the seat of the Brudenell family since 1514, is a country manor located 5 miles north-east of Corby in the county of Northamptonshire. Seven of the Brudenell family were Earls of Cardigan — the most notable being the 7th Earl who led the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava (1854). The 7th Earl died childless in 1868, and while the Earldom of Cardigan merged with the Marquessate of Ailesbury, the Deene Park estate passed to a collateral branch of the Brudenell family. The estate was inherited by its current owner, Robert Brudenell, in 2014; he is the son of Edmund and Marian Brudenell, who devoted their lives to the rehabilitation of Deene Park and are largely responsible for the estate's present appearance.
The manor of Deene belonged to Westminster Abbey; annual rent of £18 was paid until 1970. The manor house has been expanded around its courtyard from its sixteenth-century core, represented by its great hall, which was given its screen panelling and fireplace in 1571. The early 19th-century Bow Room contains the Brudenell library, collected in the 16th century by Sir Thomas Tresham and his son-in-law, Sir Thomas Brudenell, 1st Earl of Cardigan, though the collection no longer includes the manuscript of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales or the last copy of Magna Carta in private hands. The house contains furnishings of different periods and portraits, including works by Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough. Relics of the Crimean War include the uniforms of Lord Cardigan and the head and tail of his charger, Ronald. The large gardens, designed by David Nightingale Hicks, feature a parterre overlooking the lake and a newly planted avenue.
The Charge of the Light Brigade was a charge of British light cavalry led by Lord Cardigan against Russian forces during the Battle of Balaclava on 25 October 1854, in the Crimean War. Lord Raglan, overall commander of the British forces, had intended to send the Light Brigade to pursue and harry a retreating Russian artillery battery, a task well-suited to light cavalry. However, due to miscommunication in the chain of command, the Light Brigade was instead sent on a frontal assault against a different artillery battery, one well-prepared with excellent fields of defensive fire. Although the Light Brigade reached the battery under withering direct fire and scattered some of the gunners, the badly mauled brigade was forced to retreat immediately. Thus, the assault ended with very high British casualties and no decisive gains.
The reputation of the British cavalry was significantly enhanced as a result of the charge, though the same cannot be said for their commanders. After regrouping, only 195 men, of the 670 troopers, were still with horses. The futility of the action and its reckless bravery prompted the French Marshal Pierre Bosquet to state: "C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre." ("It is magnificent, but it is not war.") The Russian commanders are said to have initially believed that the British soldiers must have been drunk. On 2 August 1890, trumpeter Martin Leonard Landfried, from the 17th Lancers, who may (or may not) have sounded the bugle charge at Balaclava, made a recording on an Edison cylinder that can be heard here, with a bugle which had been used at Waterloo in 1815.
Deene Park is very much a home, lived in by the family, playing host to friends and guests at weekends as well as the public during Open Days. The personal touches, mementos and family collections, make this one of the most comfortable and charming Country Houses to visit. Even the garden reflects the personality of its owners; as a staunch advocate of the humble “cup of tea” the garden topiary has been shaped into teapots, a teapot also sits in pride of place atop the millennium obelisk. Disabled access is via the Great Hall door. Access to the house for disabled visitors is at ground floor level only. Disabled parking and a disabled toilet is available. Please ask the entrance host for details. You will need to display your Blue Badge once parked. Assistance Dogs are welcome.
Location : Deene, Corby, Northamptonshire NN17 3EW
Transport: Kettering (National Rail) 10 miles. Bus Routes : Centrebus 4N and 4S stop 0.6 miles away.
Opening Times : Sundays and Bank Holidays 14:00 to 17:00, Gardens from 12:00 and Tuesday to Friday 11:00 to 16:00.
Tickets : Adults £10.00; Concessions £9.00; Children (5 - 16) £5.00.
Tickets : Adults £6.00; Children (5 - 16) £3.00.
Tel: 01780 450278