Miss Marple – The Secret of Chimneys – Location / Setting … Hatfield House

Hatfield House is the location used for the Miss Marple episode called The Secret of Chimneys:

The Old Palace was the home of Elizabeth I when she was a young child. Elizabeth’s heir, James I, traded the Old Palace and its grounds for Robert Cecil’s family home. Subsequently, Hatfield House was built by Robert Cecil, the first Earl of Salisbury. Today, the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury call it home.

Hatfield House, located north of London, is a huge estate which provides all sorts of beautiful scenery - so important in portraying the feeling of a British aristocratic settings. With a lake, formal gardens, topiaries, a church, cottages, houses, and of course, the beautiful mansion, Hatfield House must have seemed like a dream-come-true for producers of this particular Miss Marple episode. And, of course, the house’s interior includes the exact type of furniture one expects from these period piece shows… plenty of chandeliers and tapestries, not to mention the beautiful furniture!

Here is the location NOT used for the Miss Marple episode called The Secret of Chimneys:

The setting is a Gothic mansion called Knebworth House in Stevenage, which is located 29 miles north of London. It has belonged to the Lytton family since 1490. At one time, it was the home of Edward Bulwer Lytton, a Victorian politician who was also a novelist and playwright. He is famous for the quote: “The pen is mightier than the sword”.

Knebworth House has been used as the location / setting in many different television shows and movies, as well as a location for rock concerts. Here is a list of some of the other places you may have seen Knebworth House:

Anastasia – 1956
The Avengers, episode Invasion of the Earthmen – 1968
The Big Sleep – 1978
The Essential Mike Oldfield – 1980 – Remember the phenomenal music in the movie The Exorcist?!?
The Great Muppet Caper – 1981
The Shooting Party – 1985
Batman – 1989
Live at Knebworth – 1990
The Canterville Ghost – 1996
The Wings of the Dove – 1997
Jane Eyre - 1997
Eyes Wide Shut – 1999
Led Zeppelin DVD – 2003
Robbie Williams Live at Knebworth – 2003
Foyle’s War, episode Enemy Fire – 2004
Marple, episode What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw – 2004
Batman Begins – 2005
Jonathan Creek, episode The Grinning Man – 2009
The King’s Speech – 2010 (Not yet released, stars Colin Firth)

These are just a few of the television, movie, documentary events that have been filmed at the Knebworth House. I posted the events that might be of most interest to Cozy Mystery site readers.

Comments

  1. I just wanted to wish you a belated Happy Father’s Day! And, yes, I know you’re not a father, but still…

    Anyway, though, I noticed you have a theme for stay-at-home moms. Are there any cozies with stay-at-home dads? (an increasingly common occurrence these days)

    Or, just dads in general?

  2. Hi Stephanie,

    What a great idea! I’ll make a note to add an entry asking for this very same theme!

    Stay-at-home dads in cozies… I can’t think of any right off the top of my head, but there must be a few…

    Also, my husband had a great Father’s Day… Spent the day with our son AND our daughter called him from Washington, DC.

  3. Danna: what did you think of the episode? There has been a lot of disparaging talk about the latest “Miss Marple” episodes. Miss Marple was not originally in this story, but Agatha Christie often used distant relatives as an excuse to get Miss Marple out of St. Mary Mead. I didn’t think it was all that bad and I enjoyed seeing an Agatha Christie story that I might otherwise have missed.

  4. Hi Laura,

    I have to admit that I haven’t yet watched The Secret of Chimneys episode. My husband and I usually tape (Is it called tape – on a DVR?) the shows so that we can watch them at our own time choice.

    We will be watching it soon… As much as I love the PBS Mystery! shows… I have to always wait until he can find a two hour block of time… even when the show only lasts an hour and a half. I usually end up interrupting the show to point out something interesting (to me only!) that I feel he absolutely needs to know… something along the lines of “That actress was in a Midsomer Murders that we saw last year.” OR “He’s the son of James Fox.” You know… something that a viewer absolutely NEEDS to know!

  5. As far as a stay-at-home dad – Jeffrey Cohen’s Aaron Tucker is one.

    As far as Marple – I gave up a long time ago since they were not Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple – for that I watch the Joan Hickson series.

  6. Thanks, Judith… Jeffrey Cohen has just been added to the stay-at-home dads list!

    Joan Hickson‘s Miss Marple are by far the very best!

  7. Despite what IMDB claims, the house used in this episode is Hatfield House, just north of London. All of the architectural exteriors, gardens, and church are clearly Hatfield (Google some images of the house and you’ll see). Not sure about all the interior shots, though the Marble Hall with the painting and passage is at Hatfield.

  8. Thank you so much, RV! I just ammended my initial (very wrong!) entry: Hatfield House, it is!

    Again… Thank you!

  9. I am rather bothered by Masterpiece Theatre twisting the plots of Agatha Christie mysteries to put Miss Marple in the lead role. I was disappointed in “The Secret of Chimneys,” and even more so in “The Pale Horse” (where the actual lead characters are given very much of a secondary role and in fact one of them is treated as a potential suspect). “The Pale Horse” provided a Miss Marple that was all too close to the Margaret Rutherford type rather than the original character — running around all over the place investigating on her own. I like Julia MacKenzie, but I definitely feel that she fails to capture the essence of Miss Marple in both look and manner. Geraldine McEwan really seemed to nail it for me in that regard.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Jay, if you want to see an absolutely PERFECT Miss Marple, check out the Miss Marple episodes with Joan Hickson. She was actually Agatha Christie’s idea of who should play the part…

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