Presenter Paul Martin and his team visit Boughton House in Northamptonshire, while Charlie Luxton visits the possible birthplace of the industrial revolution.
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This country has an extraordinary and captivating history,
and wherever you are in Britain, you're never far from somewhere
that's going to remind you of this remarkable legacy.
Much of it we already know. It's celebrated and loved.
But there's still an awful lot more out there,
and it's all waiting to be discovered.
We've travelled the length and the breadth of the nation,
searching out hidden riches and forgotten stories
that reveal much about Britain's incredible past.
And today on Britain's Hidden Heritage,
I'll be going behind the scenes at one of Britain's most extraordinary
and least-known-about stately homes, a treasure house
that has sat virtually untouched for over 150 years.
This room is real history.
Clare Balding travels to Yorkshire, to uncover the inspiration
behind one of the world's most loved romantic novels.
To think that Charlotte Bronte came here,
and that, from that, her imagination took off!
And it's so exciting!
Charlie Luxton reports on a crumbling watermill
in Derbyshire, that tells us about a forgotten side
of the Industrial Revolution.
It's a massive, massive, massive timber wheel here.
And guest reporter Ann Widdecombe is on a journey of discovery
to find the escape route Charles II took
as he fled from his murderous enemies.
Next thing he knows is, he's being woken up. Come through this door.
-And he has to squeeze down through that trap door.
This is a journey to the very heart of Britain's hidden heritage.
Nestled in the Northamptonshire countryside
lies an exceptional architectural delight,
and at first sight, it's distinctly un-British.
Just walking through these impressive grounds,
you could be forgiven for thinking we'd been transported back in time
to 17th-century France, and if you're impressed by the exterior
of this French fancy, then, just wait until I show you
some of the hidden treasures inside!
Welcome to a magnificent Boughton House.
Hidden in the middle of an 11,000-acre Northamptonshire estate,
Boughton House must be one of Britain's greatest stately homes.
And it's full of wonderful treasures from the 17th and 18th centuries.
As you enter the house, you are greeted by paintings
by the Great Masters, furniture of outstanding taste and quality,
and extraordinary diverse collections await
around every corner.
Yet in spite of its obvious cultural importance,
it has remained, for the most part, in obscurity.
The house has been the home of the Montagu family
and their descendants for almost 500 years,
but it was under the ownership of Ralph, First Duke of Montagu,
that the house we see today took its present form.
Ralph Montagu was a passionate builder,
patron of the arts, and, most tellingly,
ambassador to Louis XIV, the French king
who created the Palace of Versailles,
an obvious inspiration for the continental exterior of Boughton,
though the house itself is much more than just an architectural copy.
In fact, Boughton is a bit of an oddity,
because, when you enter the house for the very first time,
you're struck by a series of juxtapositions.
On the outside it's most certainly French,
but on the inside, with its heavy oak panelling
and its wide, unassuming, understated doorways
and little inner courtyards, it's most certainly English,
yet the whole place is laid out like a grand palace.
But it has the intimate feel of a private home,
and that's because the current duke, Buccleuch, and his family
still live here. But the overriding feeling you get
when you're walking around this magnificent house
is the fact that you are literally stuck in time,
some 300 years ago.
Just walking round, you notice that the fabrics,
the condition of the furniture, the artwork, the gilding -
everything is in such good condition.
How did it escape all the wear and tear of use?
Well, one of the things, if you come to Boughton, you'll see
is we always keep the light levels down as much as possible.
The house has a very interesting history.
It starts off very much the creation of the first Duke of Montagu,
and he comes back from being ambassador to Louis XIV in France
and embellishes his house with wonderful French architecture, art.
His son, however, was not as much interested in the house itself.
His view was more the landscape, so he concentrated there.
But then the house really wasn't used between about 1760 and 1920,
so everything remained in the pristine condition that it is today.
Gosh! It's cocooned in time, really, isn't it?
At the time of the first and second Dukes of Montagu,
Boughton House, its park and garden, were at their zenith.
From the surviving accounts, we know that building work was constant,
the buying of artworks prolific, and the entertaining incessant.
But, in the 1760s, it all fell silent.
The family had no sons,
and the heiress daughter had married the Duke of Buccleuch
and moved to Scotland. Boughton was no longer required,
and for over 150 years was sealed up,
tended only by a loyal staff of housekeepers.
Slowly, at the beginning of the 20th century,
the house began once more to be used by the family,
and as they did so, the gentle process of restoration began,
bringing the place back to the splendour we see today.
But always Boughton is a house that is never far
from its 300-year-old roots, and the first Dukes of Montagu
who created it and filled it with beautiful things.
This place is a real treasure house. It reads like a Who's Who
of the greatest furniture makers, designers and painters
of the 17th and 18th centuries.
I'm standing right here in the middle of the drawing room.
Can you imagine owning one oil painting by the baroque painter Anthony van Dyck?
You'd feel pretty chuffed with yourself, wouldn't you?
But can you imagine owning 40 of them,
and having them all displayed in one room?
That's what I'm surrounded by right now -
the great master's work, Anthony van Dyck.
Absolutely incredible. Ralph Montague bought all these
for just £3 each in 1682.
And if you look really closely at them,
you can see they're studies. They're intended for something else.
They're all monochromatic. These were intended to be sent off
to an engraver, who would cut these onto a sheet of copper,
so there was no need for the colour or busyness. He just wanted the outline, the detail.
And up there, there's King Charles I.
He was responsible for bringing van Dyck to England.
He was a great fan of his work. He made him the court painter,
knighted him in 1632, gave him a pension
of £200 a year. That's how highly regarded he was.
Now, this room is real history.
One of the many extraordinary advantages of this house
being virtually sealed up for 150 years
is that very little was ever thrown away.
And the Montagus and their successors, the dukes of Buccleuch,
were scrupulous at keeping paperwork and records
of just about everything. Boxload after boxload of letters
and documents have been kept in storage,
leaving us an invaluable archive of daily life in the 1700s.
There's a lot of material here,
-and this is just a very small part of it.
-This is just my workroom,
where I bring the papers, the archives, up to look at
-and to scope and see what's in them.
-"Scope" - I like that word.
You are the social-history detective, aren't you, in a way?
It's the keeper of the family records, to see what's there
and what we can determine from it.
'Gareth's studies really reveal what life would have been like
'throughout the years at Boughton,
'including some surprising revelations
'about one unusual resident.'
The second duke, Duke John, who was known as John the Planter,
had a reputation of being very kind to animals,
and there's always been a story in the house
-that he had a lion, a pet lion.
-Did he really?
We never believed it. We all thought it was a legend.
And the myth was even worse than that. It was a toothless lion.
It had lost all its teeth. We know that John was the keeper
of the ordnance, and hence responsible for the Tower of London
for this period, where there was the Royal Menagerie,
so again, the legend was that he brought one of the old lions
to stay at the house here.
And what we have here - this is again 1745 -
"Lion must never be locked up at all,
but to go where he will, except into the garden,
where he must not go for fear he should be drowned."
-Wow! He really did exist!
-Yeah. "He must be free
of the old pantry, to be fed there,
to have boiled meat, no horse flesh, nor bones given him,"
-which again intimates he probably was toothless.
"To lie every night in his house in the old pantry,
and to have his trough filled every morning with fresh water"...
-.."and have fresh"...
-Can you imagine
a lion roaming around the grounds?
In 1745. You know, lions of Longleat - we were there first.
The owners of Boughton might have been scrupulous
about recording its history, but with other old country houses,
it's not always the same story. Clare Balding has been to Yorkshire
to unearth clues about the inspiration
behind one of Britain's greatest Gothic novels.
This is one of my favourite novels - Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte.
I first read it as a teenager, and there's something about this book
that stays with you forever.
It's been translated into 43 different languages.
It's sold millions of copies all over the world.
It's particularly popular in Japan and in China.
There has always, though, been a certain mystery
about the basis for the characters and the emotive settings
in the book. But we're going to try to uncover some of that mystery,
because I've come today to a country house in North Yorkshire
that has secrets behind hidden panels.
Much of the action in Bronte's Jane Eyre
takes place at the fictitious Thornfield Hall...
..home to Jane's love interest, Edward Rochester.
Employed as governess at Thornfield,
Jane also meets Rochester's deranged wife,
hidden away in a locked attic.
SHE SOBS AND SNARLS
But where would Charlotte Bronte have found the inspiration
for the violent and insane wife of Mr Rochester,
locked in the attic? Could it be possible
that that place and that person were based on reality?
Could Thornfield Hall have been based on this house?
This Gothic mansion is Norton Conyers Hall,
the ancestral home of the Graham family.
Built in the 17th century on top of an existing medieval hall,
the gardens are a popular local attraction.
What the visiting public probably don't know
is that the Graham family legend has it
that this place was the inspiration for Thornfield Hall
as described in Jane Eyre.
It's well documented that, in the summer of 1839,
Charlotte Bronte lived not far away in Lothersdale,
employed as governess to two young children
of the wealthy Sidgwick family.
'And the Grahams believe that, during her time in the area,
'Charlotte visited Norton Conyers.'
We think it was probably a family day trip,
and the children would've come as well,
which is why she came, to look after the children.
And what do you think she would have made of it?
I think she would have been enchanted by the ancient atmosphere,
and she would have found inspiration here,
because there's a tremendous atmosphere.
In the Victorian era, it would've been common
for well-to-do families to pay informal, unannounced trips
to neighbouring country estates.
It was very popular at that time, if you had a carriage,
and were dressed respectably, to come and visit houses
-such as Norton Conyers.
-We're not talking about an invitation
from the owner, to say, "Oh, come round and have a look."
-They would just have turned up?
especially because the seventh baronet...
-..who owned the house at the time
was very often away, and so the servants would be in charge
of the house, and it would have been a very nice break in their day
to be able to show a visitor round.
So, we know that Charlotte Bronte worked for a time nearby,
and we know that well-to-do families like her employers
would have made regular house calls to other local country homes.
But could there be any truth to the Grahams' claim?
I am officially intrigued, but, like any good investigative reporter,
I need more clues to prove that this could have been the inspiration
for Thornfield Hall. So we have to go to the text itself,
and here, the passage on Jane Eyre's first approach.
"We now slowly ascended a drive
and came upon the long front of the house."
"Candlelight gleamed from one curtained bow window."
"All the rest were dark."
Could be here. But we need more from the text.
We need more about the house, and we need more
about Charlotte Bronte herself.
'Inside, and it becomes clear that there are many passages in Jane Eyre
'that seem to describe Norton Conyers.'
For example, "the steps and banisters were of oak."
"The staircase was high and latticed."
"Both it and the long gallery into which the bedroom doors opened
looked as if they belonged to a church rather than a house."
It's easy to imagine this place being Thornfield Hall
when you read those passages from Jane Eyre,
but we're after concrete evidence. And we've got some.
Now, Norton Conyers isn't the only house
claimed to be the inspiration for Thornfield.
There is a theory that a house called The Rydings,
home to Bronte's lifelong friend Ellen Nussey
could also be a contender.
But someone who certainly didn't subscribe to that theory
was James Graham's great-grandfather, Reginald.
There is this letter here, which is written by Reginald Graham, 1888,
to Erskine Stuart, who was a Bronte scholar
who was very interested in this book.
And Erskine Stuart sent Graham a photograph
of The Rydings, and he says, "I observe the picture
represents The Rydings as of two storeys only,
whereas the book describes Thornfield
as being distinctly of three storeys."
"In my mind there's strong evidence that Norton Conyers
was far more likely to be the scene for Jane Eyre
than The Rydings."
There was a fair amount of competition, wasn't there?
Still is, between various country houses
saying, "We claim we're the basis for Thornfield Hall."
And that's what this is all about.
He's saying there are more reasons why Norton Conyers is Thornfield
than any other house.
The third floor of Thornfield is an important aspect of Jane Eyre.
In the book, it was here in the attic
that Mr Rochester kept his insane wife locked up.
The fact that Norton Conyers also has three levels
is a crucial piece of evidence.
'And in 2004,
'a startling discovery was made
'that further supports the Grahams' claims.'
A good run of apparently solid panelling
from the Edwardian period,
and there's a new door put in
to give access to a staircase which was previously unknown.
They were once good service stairs,
but in alterations, they're not needed, and they're panelled over.
'This previously-hidden staircase
'is similar to one referred to in Jane Eyre
'as a route used by Rochester to visit his wife
'on the third floor.'
This is extraordinary!
Here's the corridor linking all the servants' bedrooms.
So this was only really occupied from last thing at night
until first thing in the morning.
'Although this floor bears a striking resemblance
'to that portrayed in Jane Eyre,
'one room in particular shares a dark secret
'incredibly similar to the attic of Thornfield.'
It's well documented in the Graham archives
that, in the 18th century, well before Charlotte Bronte
would have visited, a mysterious woman
was kept locked up in this tiny room
at the far end of the attics of Norton Conyers.
She was known as Mad Mary. We don't know who she was.
We don't know if she was a servant
or whether she was a member of the family.
And mental illness was not well understood at that time.
Anybody who was considered mad was hidden from view
and forgotten about.
Family legend has it that Mad Mary was kept under lock and key,
secreted away in the tiny attic room.
And the Grahams believe that this was the inspiration
for the character of Mr Rochester's deranged wife.
So this room, and the woman who was kept in this room,
was the inspiration for one of the greatest Gothic romance novels
It's somewhere where that person can be kept quiet,
and serviced by appropriate servants.
It makes me feel terribly sad, being in here,
because it feels so much like a cell.
It's very small. Compared to other rooms in the house, it's tiny.
And you've just got one little glimpse
of an outside world
that you would never be allowed into.
We'll never know for sure if Bronte came here,
or based elements of Jane Eyre on what she saw and heard.
'But one thing's for certain - all Bronte fans, like myself,
'feel drawn to try and understand
'this most captivating of romantic novels.'
Maybe it's a limitation in us
that we're seeking to find the proof, the real thing,
-what was it based on.
-Obviously a novel is a work of the imagination,
and this is an amalgamation of various houses
that Charlotte knew. I think we really shouldn't try to pin it down,
but I think there's definitely a sense of Thornfield in this house.
I think you just have to come here and see it, and you feel that.
I can't tell you how strange it feels, how eerie,
to be allowed to wander through these rooms
and hear the wind whistling outside,
and imagine the screams and the groans of a woman
locked away in an attic room for the whole of her life,
and feel the spirit of Charlotte Bronte.
In a way, the ghost of Jane Eyre is here.
It's in every room.
Still to come on Britain's Hidden Heritage,
Charlie Luxton discovers a forgotten story of the Industrial Revolution.
I think at the end, the prosecuting counsel
pointed to him and said, "There stands the thief."
Guest reporter Ann Widdecombe follows in the footsteps
of a fugitive king, as he fled his vengeful enemies.
British history doesn't get more exciting.
And at Boughton House, some 18th-century construction secrets
are revealed in a part of the house that was started but never finished.
-Gosh, look at that!
-It's fantastic, isn't it?
Oh, it's just wonderful, absolutely wonderful.
'But first, my tour of this incredible sleeping beauty
'has taken me outside to the magnificent gardens,
'where a huge amount of work is taking place.'
The 150 years of neglect in the 18th and 19th centuries
has meant that much of the original gardens
has disappeared or grown over.
Originally there would have been avenues of lime trees,
formal gardens, and a unique set of waterways.
The current duke, Richard, has plans to restore much of the garden
to its former glory, in particular the water features
which would have once been integral to the landscaping of the house.
I met up with the duke and his landscape manager
to find out how the restoration is going so far.
What are we looking at here?
Well, we're looking at a bird's-eye view
by, possibly, a famous landscape gardener
called Bridgeman, in about 1725, 1726,
and you can see the immense scale of the Boughton landscape
at that time, dominated, really, by this water structure,
a large lake in front of the west front of the house.
And its great value for the house
was that a visitor arriving from this side
would see this magnificent, very French-style north front
-reflected in the water.
-Oh, how beautiful!
It would have been very beautiful. In essence,
we are peeling way the layers that have accumulated
over the centuries without there being water in here.
I reckon that, if you come back in three or maybe four years' time,
this may be transformed.
'Restoring the stunning system of canals around the house
'is a labour of love for Duke Richard.'
Work on the north front has yet to start,
but to the west of the house, phase one has been completed,
and gives a wonderful feel of what it would have once been like here.
You see how important water was to the enjoyment of the house.
-A lake like this would have been much used.
I suspect there would have been fish in it.
It would have been a larder for the house.
And the future?
I think the future is... is an exciting one.
I think that this recovery of the landscape
is really terribly important for the next generation.
It's not something to be afraid of, but something to be enjoyed.
The restoration of the gardens and the wider estate
is a 30-year project.
But of course, with a house as old as Boughton,
it's not just the gardens that are in need of maintenance.
The house itself is under constant review,
understandably, with so many treasures,
all of which have a story.
There are some fabulous antiques and artefacts here in this house,
and the lovely thing about it is,
the things that are meant to have wear do have wear.
They have been used, like the seat cushions.
But other things are still in perfect condition,
no damage at all, like this fabulous pair of Meissen swans
made by the Meissen factory in 1750,
commissioned for Madame de Pompadour.
who was the mistress of Louis XV.
And mistresses were considered quite important at the time.
You had to listen to them - more important than the wives!
The base is made up of spelter. It's a mixed metal fused together.
And I like this naturalistic bulrush around it,
this wonderful scrollwork. It makes the swan feel more important,
almost as if it's on a crown, rather than a nest of reeds.
Now, the interesting story about the history of this is,
while the French aristocracy were losing their heads
on the guillotine during the time of the French Revolution,
they were also losing their houses, all of their treasures
and items of furniture, and the English aristocracy
were sending agents over there to buy it up on the cheap
and bring it back over here - including the Duke of Buccleuch.
The astonishing collection of antiques and furniture
in the house is wide ranging,
from the surprising and sometimes unusual pieces
like these flame-stitched sofas and chairs,
dating to the William and Mary period, to the Boughton state bed.
This great bed has had over 6,000 man-hours spent
conserving it to its current condition,
ostrich feathers and all.
It reminds us of just how flamboyant these rooms would have been
in their heyday in the 17th and 18th centuries.
However, there's one collection of furniture
that has really caught my eye, and it's the work
by 18th-century French cabinet maker Andre-Charles Boulle.
His work is distinctive, with its intricate brass fretwork
inlaid with wood, tortoiseshell, pewter or mother-of-pearl.
'I met up once more with Gareth, who was keen to show me
'Boughton's prize piece, and perhaps one of the greatest examples
'of Boulle work.'
That is one of the best examples I think I've ever seen.
-It is magnificent, isn't it?
-This is all tortoiseshell?
This is all tortoiseshell, with the blue and the red as well,
with the inlaid brass. Because, as you know, the problem with Boulle,
that you have the different media, tortoiseshell and brass in this case,
and of course the heat, and the glue, even, that they used,
shrinks at different rates, and as the small pieces ping out,
as they expand and contract, then, of course,
just simple dusting, or people walking past,
can cause them to bend.
It's a very unusual piece. Do you want to...
Of course, this is what is not regularly seen,
not only by the visiting public, but as a piece of furniture,
-you wouldn't normally leave it open.
-I can't see anything wrong with it.
I couldn't tell you what's been restored and what hasn't.
It's that good, isn't it?
Repairs are currently taking place on another piece of Boulle work
from Boughton. It's being carried out
by Yannick Chastang, one of the very few craftsmen in the world
who are still able to do this kind of intricate fretwork.
To restore marquetry like the work of Boulle
requires a steady hand and a very sharp fretsaw...
..sandwiching the thin metal between two slices of plywood
to prevent the metal from bending..
..and working in the most minute detail,
as the work of Boulle is not only rare,
but, as you can imagine, incredibly valuable.
When fully restored, this desk will be a sight to see.
We are so lucky that houses like Boughton
have survived over the years intact,
because it gives us a fascinating insight
into the social history of the upper echelons of society
back in the 18th century.
But when it comes to our industrial heritage,
we're not always that keen to preserve it for future generations.
Charlie Luxton has been to the Derbyshire Dales
to check out what was one of the last vestiges
of an almost-forgotten side of the Industrial Revolution.
I have to say, this really is one of the most beautiful parts of Britain,
and these woods just outside Matlock are especially magical.
And today it's hard to believe that, 200 years ago,
this landscape would have looked completely different,
because believe it or not,
this is where the Industrial Revolution really got going.
The Matlock valley is world renowned as a birthplace
of the Industrial Revolution. It was here, in 1775,
that the great industrialist Sir Richard Arkwright
built his cotton-milling empire.
By using the ancient technology of the waterwheel
to power his newly invented cotton-spinning machines,
Arkwright not only revolutionised the cotton trade,
he virtually invented the modern factory,
and with it, the mass-production process.
His machine was called the water frame,
and it made Arkwright a very, very rich man.
But there is a hidden side to this story -
one of industrial espionage,
because, just one mile from Arkwright's mill,
a group of 18th-century venture capitalists
moved into a secluded valley
and set up their own copycat version of Arkwright's mill.
Until recently, these mills were overgrown,
forgotten and neglected.
I want to find out who built these mysterious cotton mills,
and what role they had in Britain's Industrial Revolution.
So, Julian, what is this building?
-..was originally a cotton-spinning mill.
-OK. And when was it built?
-It was built very early,
-Who actually built it?
-They were a company called Watts Lowe and Company,
-venture capitalists, if you like.
-They were people
being drawn to the area, into this kind of pot of gold
-that was being created?
-I think it was exactly that
in the very early days, and it was a water-driven spinning process.
So the Watts and Lowe company were muscling in on Arkwright's business,
and they had a secret weapon -
Mr Lowe himself.
We think he probably worked for Arkwright.
He certainly had a knowledge of Arkwright's methods.
-So he did the dirty.
-He did the dirty, yes.
He wanted a slice of the action himself.
Buoyed by their inside knowledge, these entrepreneurs
set about building their empire right under Arkwright's nose.
However, they had a problem.
Arkwright's inventions were all securely patented.
But, like all successful entrepreneurs,
they took a risk.
The people who built this mill, Watts Lowe and Company,
gambled on the fact that Arkwright was going to lose his patent rights,
and went ahead and built this mill.
So they were working on the premise that he would lose the protection
he had over his process, and they built all of this
-in the hope that he would?
Industrial espionage, insider trading,
and a breach of patent. It's fair to say
that, if this were today's corporate climate,
Watts and Lowe could expect a call from Arkwright's lawyers.
But in the 18th century, Watts and Lowe felt secure
in their hidden valley, and gambled their futures
by building their very own version of Arkwright's water frame.
So this is the heart of...
That is the wheel pit from the waterwheel, yeah.
So, is this how deep it would have been originally?
No, it would have been much deeper than that.
-Your shoulder's at the level of the axle. It would have been another 12 foot deep.
It's a massive, massive, massive timber-and-metal wheel.
A massive wheel, yeah.
With their Arkwright-inspired mill, Watts and Lowe were in business.
Using the waterfall as a power source,
and 200 people to work it,
they ignored Arkwright's patent and set up shop.
How much of a copy is this from Arkwright's original?
Well, I'm guessing, but I suspect it was very close.
I suspect it was actually a rip-off of Arkwright's machinery.
It would have been industrial espionage, for want of a better word.
The local knowledge of these machines
would have been worth a lot of money to the financial people.
-It's a bit cheeky, isn't it?
-It is a bit cheeky.
'Watts and Lowe were saving themselves a huge amount of money
'by cutting Arkwright out of the loop.'
Leasing the rights to his water frame
could cost up to £5,000 per annum,
an extraordinary sum in the 18th century.
In 1785, Richard Arkwright went to court
to extend his patents once more.
But this time the Crown was less amenable.
Arkwright had a fight on his hands.
The arguments were that there were ten processes
in what he had brought forward with his water frame,
and they could show that several of these,
at least seven of them,
had been there before, were not new to him.
I think the second problem was that he hadn't specified clearly
what his patent was, so therefore he could be more or less claiming
anybody who was doing anything which was to do with powered spinning
was infringing his patent.
Arkwright's machine involved three sets of paired rollers
that turned at different speeds, pulling and stretching the raw cotton.
While these rollers produced yarn of the correct thickness,
a set of spindles twisted the fibres firmly together.
The various processes involved many bits of machinery
that had already been invented by others.
Arkwright's genius was to put them all together for the first time.
But claiming them all as his was a different matter.
So I think he, by, I think probably it would be fair to say, greed,
with his patents, he managed to line up everybody else against him,
and of course they go to court, and I think at the end,
the prosecuting counsel pointed to him and said,
"There stands the thief."
Arkwright finally lost the patent for his water frame
in a landmark case in June 1785.
His famous invention was now public property.
It then opened the gates to anyone to do this type of thing,
and the state wanted this. They felt that he was blocking it.
His patent was unreasonable, and he was really trying to stop
the development of cotton spinning generally.
He gets it all going, but he's holding it back,
and the moment his grip on this process is loosened...
-..that's when the flourishing...
That helps us a lot.
'The Industrial Revolution was now underway.
'By 1788, water-driven mills started springing up
'all over Britain.
'And for Watts and Lowe in the Lumsdale Valley, trade blossomed.
'For 30 years, they spun cotton using the water-frame design
'free of the worry of being sued.'
But in 1813, their luck ran out, and the company went bankrupt.
Their water-powered mill finally met an opponent
it couldn't beat - steam.
It is quite incredible to think what this place was like
in the late 18th, early 19th century.
There would have been five of these waterwheels
tumbling down this valley.
I imagine there was no vegetation, no trees or plants.
It would have been dirty, crowded, incredibly dangerous.
And look at it now! Time is an incredible healer.
I do know that this place didn't change the world
like Cromford. I mean, that is where...
modern industrial process was born.
But the revolution - that really did take place here.
'At Boughton House, my tour continues.'
There's so much to take in,
from the rare and beautifully preserved French tapestries that hang in the state rooms...
..to the wonderful limewood staircase
that would have once clattered with the footsteps of the staff
who served this grand building.
This place is a time capsule on a monumental scale.
One of the marvellous things about Boughton House
being stood unused for many years is the fact
that it gives us a wonderful insight into how the occupants lived here
and went about their day-to-day running of the place,
aspects of it that we wouldn't normally think about
in a big country house. Now, they obviously had concerns
about fire, especially being in the middle of nowhere,
and the first duke would have been 28 years old
when the Great Fire of London in 1666
ravaged and destroyed the city.
He would have seen that first-hand. He would have been concerned.
Shortly after that the first fire service was formed,
so what we have here is one of the world's very first fire engines,
designed by Londoner Richard Newsham in 1718.
And the idea was, this hand-pulled cart
would literally be pulled to where the fire was, to the action.
It would have been filled full of water in this chamber here,
dragged up. These hoses would have been attached
to this end here, and then pointed at the flames,
then you'd have had four chaps, burly strong chaps,
two a side, holding on to these bars
and pumping like crazy
to jettison the water out in that direction.
And when the chambers were running low,
they would have been refilled by members of the staff
forming a line down to the pond or the lake,
each with a leather bucket, passing it to the other one,
to refill these chambers. I've just noticed, actually,
I'm pleased the current duke is also still concerned
about fire issues. Look at that. We have a fire extinguisher there.
It's hardly surprising that successive dukes
have wanted to protect this incredible building,
which is as impressive as it is huge -
wing after wing, constructed of local Weldon stone,
with nearly two acres of Collyweston slate
covering the French-style mansard roofs.
Boughton is a wonderful fusion of French and English architecture,
and there's one part of the building that gives a unique insight
into how the place would have been constructed...
..an unfinished wing, where the builders downed tools
over 300 years ago, leaving us a 3D blueprint
of a 17th-century stately home.
-Gosh, look at that!
-Fantastic, isn't it?
Oh, it's just wonderful, absolutely wonderful.
The bare fabric of the walls, the history these walls contained!
Wow! Why was this never finished off?
Well, it's quite an interesting story, actually.
It should have been the duchess's quarters,
but she never actually lived here. She lived in a different house.
This was never needed, so it got to this point
and was completely stopped, so it's paused in history and time.
-And there's another floor above there.
There should have been a floor above us, and above there
were completed rooms, servants' rooms, storerooms, etc.
So all that was needed, whereas this part wasn't needed at all.
I hope that door's firmly bolted from the other side.
Oh, firmly locked. It leads into the state apartments,
but it's kept very firmly locked.
And there's a good example of the lead work,
the drainpipes on the inside, built in.
That's right, otherwise you spoil the outside lines,
and it's important to have this architectural feature of the outside,
-so hide them away.
-We don't do that nowadays.
-Well, they're all brilliant until, of course, they leak.
-Well, yes. Yes!
Even the sash windows, they've been put in,
and they've been held in place with wedges - literally just wedges,
no other fastenings, because this would be panelled and plastered
to hold it from the inside. But no-one's ever got round to doing it.
No. It's a wonderful thing for architects
and architectural historians to come and look at,
-and see how the building is constructed.
It's a wonderful lesson. It really is a wonderful lesson.
Now, off to explore her own personal heritage passion
is Ann Widdecombe in the Midlands,
to find out more about the plight of Charles II
during the last days of the English Civil War.
'Today I'm following in the footsteps of one of my heroes -
'a king of England who lost a battle, lost his crown
'and fled his country.'
I'm going on a 400-year-old royal road trip.
A young king, an implacable republican foe,
a race against time -
British history doesn't get more exciting.
I'm tracing the very first days of Charles II's epic escape,
a journey that would turn him from defeated monarch
at the Battle of Worcester, to a man cowering beneath the floorboards
of an unfamiliar house, in a tiny hidden chamber
that stopped Britain from becoming a republic forever.
But before I visit this historic hidey-hole,
I want to find out more about how Charles arrived there.
'His escape begins with him fleeing the battle
'and making his way to the crumbling walls
'of a ruined priory called White Ladies.'
It was September 1651, and Cromwell ran England.
His comprehensive defeat of the Royalist forces at Worcester
marked the end of the English Civil War.
Think of it - chaos, confusion everywhere.
Cavaliers roaming the countryside trying to get away,
Cromwell's forces trying to hunt them down,
and by now, those same forces had realised
the king had got away,
and the hunt for the big one was really on.
'The ruins at White Ladies Priory have changed little since the 1600s.
'It's difficult to imagine the king of England hiding here
'within these very walls.
'What on earth could have been going through his mind?'
But it was here that Charles realised that perhaps all wasn't lost.
He chanced upon a band of brothers by the name of Pendrill.
'They were farm-workers and woodsmen, but they were loyal to the monarchy,
'and they were willing to help.
'And their first step was to disguise the king,
'cutting off his long hair and removing all traces
'of any regal finery. And how do we know this is true?
'Well, we have it in his own words,
'dictated by Charles to the famous diarist, Samuel Pepys.'
"This made me take the resolution of putting myself into a disguise,
and endeavouring to get a-foot to London,
in a country-fellow's habit, with a pair of ordinary gray-cloth breeches,
a leathern doublet and a green jerkin,
which I took in the house of White Ladys."
So the king was on the run, loose in this countryside,
and at first he thought he was going to London.
Then he thought he'd go across the Severn
and entrust himself to the honest men of Wales.
Unfortunately Cromwell had thought of that too,
and he put guards on all the bridges,
so Charles couldn't get across the Severn.
The Pendrills decided that doubling back to Boscobel House
in Staffordshire, only a mile from White Ladies
where they started, was the safest course of action.
Boscobel House was a hunting lodge
that often served as a secret shelter for Catholics in times of need,
and it's here that I'm going to meet a direct descendant
of Charles II's most loyal supporters, the Pendrills.
Up to this point, the king had been moving about the countryside,
really quite exposed. Cromwell's forces were chasing them.
This is the king we're talking about. This isn't any old Cavalier.
This is the king. And he comes in here,
and a bit of stability begins, doesn't it?
Yeah. We've got to admit, this is a very romantic tale,
but we've got to remember, he was in fear of his life.
If Cromwell had caught him, he would've been beheaded.
If any of the helpers, any of the Pendrills,
anyone involved in the escape had been captured,
they would've been hung, drawn and quartered. There's no doubt about that.
As it happened, also in the house was one Major Careless.
Now, this was good because he was known to the king.
Major Careless decided it would be a good idea
to hide the king in an oak tree deep in the forest.
Well, Richard Pendrill, being a woodman, knew just the tree.
'So, imagine - the king of England reduced to hiding in a tree,
'concealed from Cromwell's men beating through the bushes below.'
"The Royal Oak,
one of fifty great British trees,
in recognition of its place in the national heritage."
Every time I pass a pub now called the Royal Oak,
I think of the king, and a very resourceful Cavalier,
up that tree.
But this is not the hiding place I've come to see.
For that, I need to follow the next part
of Charles's flight to freedom.
'Once the coast was clear,
'Charles and his companions decided to brave the nine miles
'through the rain and narrow woodland paths
'to Moseley Old Hall, a house they'd heard would provide safe refuge.'
The king had just spent a night up a tree.
He was tired, hungry, exhausted, and, of course, afraid.
They travelled by night to minimise the possibility
of being seen, and they got to Moseley.
'And it's there that I shall find the highlight of my journey -
'the secret chamber that saved Charles's life.'
-Hello, Ann. Good afternoon.
-Am I arriving in the right century?
Oh, yes. These are just my normal work clothes.
All right? And as he comes through,
the king is greeted by the room's occupant, Father John Huddleston.
-And Father Huddleston greeted him,
brought him in. He gives the king a meal
and a change of clothing, and also bathes the king's feet.
So, he goes to bed, and then what happens?
Well, the troops arrive. Next thing he knows,
he's being woken up. He has to get up off the bed.
He hasn't had enough sleep. Come through this door.
-He's running through here.
-He has to squeeze down
through that small trapdoor, and you've got to remember,
-Huddleston is here as well.
-So the trapdoor was closed.
-Huddleston was up here.
So if they'd come in, they would've found Huddleston,
-assumed he was the fugitive...
..and the king, down here, with any luck,
wouldn't have been found.
I think, when he came out, he must've been very, very glad.
When Charles was eventually restored to the throne,
he rewarded Huddleston by making him a chaplain to his court.
And it was also the trusted Huddleston
who took the king's confession and gave him communion on his deathbed
some 34 years later.
'I've only tracked the first few days of Charles's six-week escape
'to safety in France. Each step of that way
'was fraught with its own danger. But it was here,
'at Moseley Old Hall, he perhaps came closest
'to capture and execution.'
It's extraordinary how such an inconsequential hiding place
changed the course of British history.
There were many more miles to go,
many more perils to be encountered,
many more heart-stopping moments of fear,
before the king finally did escape to France.
But it began here,
in this little corner of Britain's hidden heritage.
Ann Widdecombe there with a story about King Charles II,
without whom this house would not have existed.
And that's because the first Duke of Montagu, who built Boughton House,
was appointed ambassador to the French court
by none other than Charles II.
'As my time at Boughton draws to a close,
'I feel like I've barely scratched the surface
'of the wealth of history this house contains.'
And I have perhaps left the most important treasure till last -
the music archive.
In the 18th and early 19th centuries,
Lady Elizabeth Montagu was an obsessive collector
of music scores. Most of it has been boxed up
and not seen for centuries.
Music historian Paul Boucher is one of the team
that has the enormous task of archiving the collection,
and has already unearthed some extraordinary musical finds.
-Sorry to disturb your peace.
-You're very welcome.
I'm just looking at this very ancient instruction book
-on how to play the lute.
-Lovely! What does this date to, this book?
Did the dukes all play and entertain people,
and give recitals in the Great Hall?
Well, we're finding that out.
We're piecing the history together with a lot of careful research,
but yeah, they were a very, very musical family,
and the first duke had been ambassador to Louis XIV
-So he was open to all the operas...
Absolutely, and the dance, and the whole French culture,
and he imported that back with him.
What's the biggest treasure you've come across here
amongst the manuscript?
I think probably historically the most important
is this, er... this innocent little volume,
and it's in fact the first piece of music ever to be printed
in this country.
-What does this date back to?
This is written for four voices, to be sung without any accompaniment...
-..by Lassus, and it's unique in the world,
the only surviving copy of it. It has been used.
-You can see, it's been written on.
-Where did you find this?
This was on a shelf in what's called the north passage...
-PAUL CHUCKLES ..so...
-That's absolutely remarkable.
-It's a huge treasure.
I hardly dare touch it. So that, I think,
is possibly the greatest treasure.
But of course, studying the sheet music is one thing.
Listening to it is a whole different experience,
and whenever Paul feels an importance piece has come to light,
he arranges for it to be played.
Today, local harpsichordist Alex
is going to play an arrangement of a very important piece of music
that has not been heard for over 200 years.
HE PLAYS STATELY, ELEGANT MELODY
I don't know what he's playing. Let's go and find out.
What's this piece called?
-Well, this is the Fireworks Music.
and there is this wonderful association, of course,
with the second duke, who commissioned the Fireworks Music,
and acted as go-between between Handel, the composer,
and the king, who was very keen on having a lot of military instruments,
-and Handel was much more interested in having something much more...
and something which also could live on as a piece afterwards.
It's wonderful to think that this is how Handel would have played this.
Yeah. Well, it's as near as we can probably get.
The sound is perfect. It's bringing those manuscripts to life,
-and that's the important thing.
That's the whole point of it, otherwise they're just dots on pages.
STATELY MUSIC CONTINUES
Lovely! Absolutely lovely. What's it like, playing Handel's music
-on this harpsichord?
-It's very beautiful,
and it's very lovely to play, and especially the privilege
of being here to play from this score,
which has lain hidden for I don't know how long,
just to be able to open this and see the sorts of trends
that were prevalent at the time in terms of home entertainment,
-STATELY MUSIC PLAYS
It seems only appropriate to leave Boughton
to the sound of music echoing around this extraordinary house,
as it would have done over 250 years ago.
If you'd like to find out how to visit Boughton,
or more about today's programme, then, log on to our website at...
This country has a wealth of heritage.
It is all around us, and more often than not,
the deeper you dig, the more rewarding the treasure is.
And with thousands of years of history under our belts,
there's no end to the surprises that await us. See you soon.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Presenter Paul Martin and his team visit one of the nation's most stunning stately homes, Boughton House in Northamptonshire. Built in the 17th century, this extraordinary time capsule was virtually sealed up for nearly 200 years, containing a wealth of antiques, art, music and literature - some of which is only just being uncovered.
Also on the show, reporter Charlie Luxton visits an over-grown valley with claims to being the birthplace of the industrial revolution; Clare Balding visits a house in Yorkshire that might have been the inspiration for one of Britain's greatest romantic novels; and guest reporter Ann Widdecombe goes to Staffordshire in search of one of her own heritage passions: the escape route of Charles II.