Mirehouse was built in 1666 by the Earl of Derby. The Earl sold it to Roger Gregg in 1688, and since then it has passed by direct inheritance, never having been sold again. Members of the family are often on hand to answer questions from visitors, and there are also volunteer stewards throughout the house.

There are ten ground floor rooms open to viewing. These range from the formality of the Dining Room to a glimpse 'behind doors' in the Bell Passage, where servants listened for bells the summoned them.

Mirehouse is memorable for its strong connection to a wide variety of literary and artistic figures. In the Smoking Room are displayed early editions of the writings of Francis Bacon, collected by James Spedding, and expert on Bacon's life and works.

A tree-lined garden walk
A tree-lined garden walk

James Spedding was a close friend of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and in the Drawing Room are displayed several verses by the poet, including 'To JS', the first of Tennyson's great elegies, composed on the death of Speddings younger brother Edward in 1832.

Tennyson spent time at Mirehouse on numerous occasions, and it was during a visit here that he composed his famous work, 'Morte d'Arthur', and other poems. He also spent time at Mirehouse during his honeymoon in 1850.

Also in the Drawing Room are several early photographs by Julia Margaret Cameron, a pioneer in the use of photography during the 19th century. Another literary name associated with Mirehouse was that of Thomas Carlyle. Carlyle was good friends with Thomas Spedding (1795-1881), and visited the house on several occasions.

A number of Carlyle's letters and manuscripts are displayed in the Library, as are letters by John Stuart Mills and poet Matthew Arnold. The Music Room displays paintings by George Romney and John Constable, another friend of the Speddings. The Study boasts landscape paintings of the Lake District in picturesque style, and original poems and letters by Wordsworth, Southey, and Coleridge.

Mirehouse gardens
Mirehouse gardens

One of the most enjoyable aspects of visiting Mirehouse is that there are live piano performances in the Music Room during house opening hours. The sound of the music fills the house and creates a lovely atmosphere that only adds to the experience.

The gardens at Mirehouse are small, yet very enjoyable to visit, with a rushing stream flowing beside a walled garden designed to encourage bees. In the garden are a fernery, orchard area, and even a small model of a stone circle arranged as 'The Knights of the Round Table'.

'Knights of the Round Table' stone circle
'Knights of the Round Table' stone circle

Families will enjoy visiting Mirehouse. There are no less than four adventure playground areas scattered throughout the woodland gardens and a small heather maze in the walled garden. Inside the house, there is a treasure hunt for younger visitors and a history quiz for older children.

A visit to Mirehouse can be combined with very enjoyable walks in Dodd Wood, opposite the house entrance, or along the shores of Bassenthwaite.

Parking is at the Old Sawmill Tearoom parking area opposite the house entrance. This parking area is also signposted Dodd Wood.

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About Mirehouse
Address: Keswick, Lake District, Cumbria, England, CA12 4QE
Attraction Type: Historic House
Location: 4 miles N Keswick, on the A591
Website: Mirehouse
Email: info@mirehouse.com
Historic Houses Association
Location map
OS: NY235 284
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express


HeritageWe've 'tagged' this attraction information to help you find related historic attractions and learn more about major time periods mentioned.

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Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest

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