Clumber Park, the Dukeries.
Archaeological digs c.1960 found evidence that Clumber was once the site of a Bronze Age settlement. In Saxon times there would come to be two manors at Clumber, after which, as with similar properties across the country, the land was given over to a supporter of William the Conqueror. In this case Roger de Builli (Busli) who also gained Worksop. But to understand how Clumber became a ducal seat one first has to look to nearby Haughton.
Haughton was given over to Roger Pictavenis after the Conquest. Centuries and several family lines later it was sold by John Babington to Sir William Holles, Lord Mayor of London, in 1537. During the English Civil War the Holles families alternated between both Parliamentary and Royalist causes in order to keep possession of their estates. In 1663 Gilbert Holles of Haughton and his wife Grace Pierrepont of Thoresby, gave birth to John. John married Margaret Cavendish, heir of Henry 2nd Duke of Newcastle upon Tyne, seated at Welbeck. John then paid Henry’s debts, gaining in return the title 1st Duke of Newcastle upon Tyne (2nd creation). Choosing to live at Welbeck, Haughton Hall was left empty and eventually demolished. In 1711 John Holles died in a hunting accident and his estates were passed to his nephew Thomas Pelham-Holles with the title 1st Duke of Newcastle upon Tyne being created for a 3rd time. As the title could only be passed father to son, the title Duke of Newcastle under Lyme was created to overcome this legality, making further creations unnecessary. So when Thomas died without a son, his Dukedom became extinct and the title Duke of Newcastle under Lyne went to his nephew Henry Fiennes Pelham-Clinton, 2nd Duke of Newcastle under Lyne. It was this Duke who built Clumber House in 1770, making it his family seat. Designed by Stephen Wright it replaced the previous manor.
The Duke subsequently landscaped the surrounding park. The 4th Duke would be responsible for the construction of a one third scale frigate to sail on the lake, as well as planting the locally famous Lime Tree Avenue in 1838, still frequented today as a favoured public picnic spot. But he also spent much of his wealth recklessly. As reported on THIS POST he purchased Worksop Manor from the Duke of Norfolk, whose Catholic faith he didn’t approve of, only to demolish it soon afterwards.
In March 1879, shortly after the 6th Duke’s death, much of the original Clumber House (THIS LINK) was destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt by the 7th Duke of Newcastle and designed by Charles Barry. The Duke also commissioned George Frederick Bodley to design The Chapel of St Mary in 1886, replacing a former less satisfactory chapel dedicated to St Paul. A second fire in 1912, plus the financial effects of World War 1 and the subsequent Great Depression, resulted in Clumber House being abandoned and subsequently demolished in 1938. Happily, the superb chapel remains.
In 1941 secret trials of a trench digging tank called Nellie were carried out under the inspection of Winston Churchill, but the blitzkrieg rendered it obsolete before it was used.
Clumber Park is now the property of the National Trust.
You can read more about the first Thoresby Hall, the Dukeries, on THIS LINK, and more about Bess of Hardwick's role in the formation of the Dukeries on THIS LINK. You can read more about Worksop, the Dukeries, on THIS LINK and Welbeck, the Dukeries, on THIS LINK.