Belmount Hall is situated about 10 minutes from Ambleside, 1 mile north of Hawkshead, within easy reach of Esthwaite Water and Near Sawrey. The house enjoys superb views of Esthwaite Water, with Gummers How in the far distance. It was built in 1774 by the Reverend Reginald Braithwaite, who was vicar of Hawkshead for 38 years.
Between 1840 and 1899 the house was owned by the Reverend Doctor Whittaker, who made a number of alterations to accommodate his 9 children and, it seems, some fifteen servants. One of his great-great-grandsons, who lives in Seattle, USA, has provided a substantial amount of historical material about the house and the family.
Beatrix Potter and Belmount Hall
People around the world have fallen in love with the tales written by Beatrix Potter about mischievous animals… Many of which were based on her visits to the Lake District. 2016 marked 150 years since Beatrix Potter was born.
In 1937 Beatrix, along with her husband William Heelis, agreed to buy Belmount Hall from Rebekah Owen, a good friend of theirs. They acquired the Belmount estate in 1938 and Beatrix Potter was given the task of sorting out the house and clearing the gardens.
In 1939, Potter wrote to her friend Caroline Clark:- “My eccentric old friend Miss Owen has died in Rome (U.S.A. citizen and executor a New York bank) so I have a free hand in an old walled garden of over an acre at Belmount Hall. The old fan-trained fruit trees in the last stage of old age. I have planted some clematis against them, and some shrubs, such as ceanothus, between, to gradually grow into their place. Is chimonanthus fragrans a bush that would grow? I have witch hazel, and shrubby spireas, and syringas… I should like to plant some bushes that might grow on at Belmount Hall without much attention. The garden is not seriously weedy. It is carpeted with jonquils and spring flowers.”
Her husband, William Heelis, gave Belmount Hall to the National Trust, after her death.
Although there remains a lot of work to be done in the walled garden, we have tried to continue the gardening philosophy of Beatrix Potter.