If you’ve ever seen Emma Thompson’s version of Sense and Sensibility, you might recognise Saltram House. This beautiful home served as Norland Park, home of the Dashwood family. It also has a personal connection to Jane Austen in that the famous author was friends with Frances, who was the Countess of Morely. Not only is it reported that Jane Austen gave Frances one of the first editions of Emma, but also it has been speculated that her husband, the Earl of Morely, was the model for Mr. Darcy. Whether such speculation is true is, of course, information Jane took to her grave, but still fun trivia!
Saltram House is thought to have been built during the reign of George II when the pre-existing Tudor home was integrated into a new Palladian style. The home changed hands several times until it was purchased by the Parker family in 1712.
Now, if you’re an art lover, you must see Saltram. One could say that about quite a number of homes, but the Parker family were friends with Sir Joshua Reynolds, so at least one portrait by the famous painter can be found in almost every room. I was pleasantly surprised and thrilled to find a few histories by Angelica Kauffman along the famous stairwell that features into one of the best scenes in Sense and Sensibility (in my opinion anyway 🙂 ). I’ve seen a few portraits by Kauffman, but loved seeing these history paintings since women so seldom painted them during that time period.
The house is lovely on the inside and I thoroughly enjoyed the interior. Websites and rumours abound online that the home is haunted, though, much to the disappointment of my daughters, no ghosts were seen, and the staff claimed to know nothing of the reported ghosts.
The grounds are beautiful and just like every National Trust property, there are trails you can wander for days. If you enjoy taking your dog, then you must stick to the outer trails as dogs are not allowed within the main portion of the park.
The outer trails are definitely not boring. There is a nice long walk that wraps around the property and runs alongside an estuary as the house is not far from the coastline.
Just make sure your camera works when you go through this pretty house. My settings were not right, and I had to walk back through and take new shots of what I missed–not that I minded one bit 😉
Whether you are a Jane Austen fan or not, I think anyone can find something to appreciate at Saltram.