Deene Park is a sprawling Georgian mansion set in beautiful gardens.
The house was originally a medieval manor built around a courtyard but the present house takes its appearance from rebuildings and extensions carried out by the Brudenell family.
In 1514 the estate was acquired by Sir Robert Brudenell,who later became Chief Justice of the Common Pleas. Sir Robert or his son built the south-east part of the present house as a parlour wing and in 1571 - 72 his grandson Edmund rebuilt the medieval hall on the south side of the courtyard.
The present east wing dates from the 17th century when Sir Thomas Brudenell carried out extensive work on the house, rebuilding the west or service wing, adding a crenellated tower at the north-east corner and rebuilding the north range which closes the courtyard and is the present entrance.
Following the Restoration Sir Thomas was made Earl of Cardigan for his services to Charles I during his imprisonment after the Civil War.
In the early 19th century the 5th or 6th Earl created a staircase to the west of the hall and extended the south range to provide room for the large reception rooms and bedrooms required to entertain on a grand scale. A ballroom was added by the 7th Earl but later demolished.
During the Crimean War the 7th Earl led the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava. On his death the estate passed to Lord Robert Brudenell-Bruce.
The present owner, Edmund Brudenell, is his grandson and he has carefully restored the house and has added to the furniture and picture collection.
The crenellated house is built of silver-grey limestone and surmounted by chimneys.
On the outside of the east range is an unusual blind bay window, with classical details, dating from the 16th century.
Entering the courtyard from the north a tour of the house begins in the east range with an early-16th century bay window leading to the Great Hall with a superb double-hammerbeam roof and armorial chimneypiece - some of the original wood panelling can be seen on the east wall. The walls are hung with portraits.
An early-17th century staircase leads to the early Tudor south-east range where one of the rooms has linenfold panelling. The Tapestry Room, in the east range, was the original great chamber and has a plaster ceiling with pendants, and above the fireplace is a portrait of the two Princesses of Orange by Gerard Honthorst.
In the tower is a bedroom with a plaster ceiling dated 1610 and a armorial overmantel.
On the ground floor of the south-east range is the Oak Parlour which has early 17th century panelling from another house. This leads to the main reception rooms in the early-19th century wing.
The Bow Room was originally a library and contains many of the books amassed by the 1st Earl. In the Drawing Room there are family portraits and two inlaid tables by Gerrit Jensen dated 1680.
The Dining Room has a series of equestrian pictures by John Ferneley and over the fireplace there is a painting of the 7th Earl leading the Charge of the Light Brigade.
In the Staircase Hall a group portrait dated 1855 depicts the Earl explaining the Charge to the Royal Family, and other mementoes include the head of the Earl's charger in a glass case.
The gardens surrounding Deene Park have been laid out over the last 30 years. There are long mixed borders of shrubs, old roses and flowers. The parterre was created by David Hicks.
Beside the lake there are long walks under the splendid old trees.