Pets and Resident Animals

  • 02 Oct 2020

Pets and resident animals make a historic house a home, and today we're celebrting some of the extraordinary animals you'll see at Historic Houses places across the country. Words in italics come from the house themselves.

The dog archives of Hodsock Priory, Northants

Hodsock Priory (photo from 1920's)


Dog at Hodsock Priory in the 1920's.

Daisy, Daphne and Zoffany of Tissington Hall, Derbyshire

Daisy and Daphne (in the sink)

Zoffany in the garden at Tissington Hall

Bumble and Holly of Penshurst Place, Tonbridge

Bumble & Holly of Penshurst Place

Zanzie and Zomba of Combermere Abbey, Whitchurch

Zanzie and Zomba of Combermere Abbey

Zanzie and Zomba in the garden.

The spaniels of Dorney Court, Windsor

Until the mid-1980s Dorney Court had Canadian Timber Wolves in the gardens thanks to eccentric Uncle Roger who had first set his heart on crocodiles only to be forced to compromise by his mother (Frances). Now they have replaced them with spaniels. There was also an ill-fated period when Dorney Court was home to three monkeys until a homicide (or monkey equivalent) brought that saga to a tumultuous end. Credit again to Uncle Roger.

The animals of Kelburn Castle, Ayrshire


We have a small flock of ducks, named Rose, Blanche, Dorothy, Sophia, Bill, and Ben. Plus, two geese who think they are goats and now sleep in the shed with the actual goats,  Bert and Ernie.

We’re not sure if Bert and Ernie are the greediest goats ever, but those two will always try and snatch the food bag from our Ranger’s hands and would munch the whole lot if they could!

Over in the Alpaca Field, we have our three alpacas: Dom, Hester and Stella. Stella and Hester have just arrived at Kelburn, coming here from Oxford.

And finally, we have 8 male Soay Sheep, a hardy Scottish breed, called Dougal, Finlay, Fergus, Fraser, Graham, Glen, Gordon and Gregor.

Read their blog here

The cows of Brook Hall, Londonderry

The cows of Brook Hall are very much considered part of the family!

The hounds of Constable Burton, North Yorkshire

The Hounds of Constable Burton, North Yorkshire.

Jasper, Elsie and Louis of Coombe Trenchard, Devon

Jasper, one of the male peacocks at Coombe Trenchard

Elsie and Louis of Coombe Trenchard.

Prophet, Ziggy and Casper of Chenies Manor House, Buckinghamshire

Ziggy and Casper of Chenies Manor House.

Visitors to Chenies Manor will often be welcomed by Prophet our Miniature American Horse, who grazes outside the Old Nursery. And perhaps Ziggy and Casper, our canine family members, residents of our historic house!

The goats of Levens Hall, Cumbria

Here's Levens Hall's "welcoming committee" - a herd of rare-breed Bagot goats, the only feral herd remaining in England.  They live just across the road in the beautiful Levens Deer Park and were allegedly given to the family following the Crusades.  At the entrance to Levens Hall we have this wonderful Bagot goat mosaic, installed to mark the opening of the new cafe, Levens Kitchen.

Lola and Momo of Renishaw Hall, Derbyshire

Lola in the garden.

Lola & Momo in the Library.

Vinnie and the dog of The Charterhouse, London

Vinnie caught in the act of gardening.

The gardener's companion.

Out and about in Charterhouse Gardens you may well come across resident cat Vinnie getting up to mischief, and sometimes Mouse, doggy companion of our freelance gardener Lucy.

The Deer of Knebworth House, Stevenage

The historic Deer Park within Knebworth Estate covers over 250 acres, and has been home to grazing herds of Deer for over 500 years.

The Fallow Deer and St Kilda Sheep of Weston Park,

Fallow Deer at Weston Park.

St Kilda sheep of Weston Park.

The herd of fallow deer who call the Park their home, along with members of our flock of heritage-breed St Kilda sheep. Deer have been a feature of Weston since medieval times

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