Next Episode of Phil Spencer's Stately Homes is
In this new series, Phil Spencer reveals his passion for period property on a grand tour of Britain's magnificent stately homes. From the spectacular Scottish Lowlands to the stunning South Downs, Phil reveals how and why these houses came to be, and some of the jaw-dropping bills their owners were landed with.
Phil hears tales of lovesick ghosts as he surveys Longleat's lavish interior décor and some of the most elaborate gardening in history
When is a stately home not a stately home? When it's a stately castle. At beautiful Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire, Phil is invited by the Duke and Duchess of Rutland to learn how the castle was built - and discovers a Regency love story to rival Jane Austen. The present-day Duchess Emma introduces Phil to her Regency predecessor Duchess Elizabeth, and allows Phil exclusive access to the Belvoir's usually off-limits archive. Phil learns that the castle's creators had to sell whole villages to fund the building work, and reveals the mind-boggling total cost in today's money. Phil encounters evidence of an aristocratic sex scandal painted on the ceiling, which was later disguised by royal decree. He searches for a lost railway under the castle, and tries his hand at modern-day pest control with a medieval twist.
Phil visits the beautiful Houghton Hall in Norfolk, built by Britain's first Prime Minister, the wily Sir Robert Walpole. Phil is keener than ever to uncover the building costs, because they were Sir Robert's best kept secret. As guest of its current owner, Lord David Cholmondeley, Phil uncovers a house clearly built without any limit on costs: It features some of the finest carved stone interiors ever created, jaw-dropping bedrooms, 'beer taps' in a marble dining room, and the most extravagant thing Phil has ever seen: a 17ft silver embroidered bed. It's no wonder Sir Robert wanted to keep the costs - and how he raised the money - a secret; the truth could have rocked Parliament.
Phil Spencer(Phil Spencer)
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