The current owner of Renishaw is Alexandra Sitwell, the daughter of the late Sir Reresby and Lady Sitwell. Her family have lived at Renishaw for nearly 400 years. The Sitwells have always been avid collectors and patrons of the arts and the history of the family is filled with “writers, innovators and eccentrics”. The house was originally much smaller, being built during the boom of the industrial revolution then acquired by the Sitwells and substantially and lavishly extended into the stately home it is today.
We enjoyed a very interesting guided tour of the house, which is still a cosy family home and which had been tastefully decorated in a Victorian Christmas style. The tour took in lavishly decorated living and dining rooms as well as the old kitchen, which sounds like a dangerous place, as we were told that a member of staff would receive a £5 bonus for putting out any Kitchen Maid who happened to catch fire!
The small on-site museum is dedicated to the Sitwell family including the most famous of them, the literary trio of Edith, Osbert and Sacheverell Sitwell, who played a huge part in the artistic and literary world in the early part of the last century.
After the tour we enjoyed a lovely early Christmas dinner followed by Christmas Pudding and coffee, served up in the dining area, an old converted stable block. We were well attended to by the professional and friendly staff of Renishaw on what was their first day of their 2019 Christmas season.
Despite the grey and damp weather some hardy souls explored the grounds and shopped for gifts before our departure for home.