Posted by: lornasass | July 24, 2010


Like so many people who have visited Chatsworth, I quickly became intrigued with Deborah, the Duchess of Devonshire, who is fondly referred to by her family nickname, Debo.

She’s the youngest of the famous Mitford sisters and, though she claims to prefer chickens and sheep to books, she’s written about a dozen tomes herself and can make this reader laugh out loud.  Perhaps due to the fact that she was educated at home and had very unconventional parents, there’s something zany and fetching about the ways she sees things, and she certainly doesn’t suffer fools gladly.

Debo is in her nineties and still going strong. But I digress from the title of this blog…You see what a fascinating woman she is?

We ran into some gorgeous chickens wandering freely on a recent visit to the magnificent Chatsworth, and we went crazy photographing them.  Who could help it?  They were gorgeous and didn’t run away:  they seemed used to having paparazzi around.

I’ve just finished a collection of the Duchess’ short essays called COUNTING MY CHICKENS.  Read this sample of her writing and you’ll understand why Chatsworth, despite its grandeur, feels like such a friendly place.  The Duchess had a great deal to do with restoring it and opening it to the public when her husband, Andrew Cavendish, inherited the building and grounds in the 50s.  But I digress again…

Here’s a little of what the Duchess has to say about chickens:

The behaviour of poultry is like human behaviour and it is just as predictable.  They fight, they resent newcomers, they hate wind and rain.  Some are bold and forage far fro home and some hardly bother to go out of doors…Some are neat in appearance and habit, but the Hi-Sex are sloppy and have no idea of chic…

Photo courtesy of The Sweetie



  1. I want those chickens!

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