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The Spencer Arms is a charming old pub in Chapel Brampton, halfway between the towns of Northampton and Market Harborough. Its classic brick building and Georgian-style windows blend seamlessly into the rural village surroundings. Inside, beamed ceilings, inglenook fireplaces and roaring open fires, all century-old original features from the pub’s days as a coaching inn, give the place a warm, welcoming vibe. It is thought that the Spencer Arms was once in the hands of the local aristocratic family of the same name, whose spectacular stately home, Althorp Estate, is just three miles away and is open to the public during the summer months. Currently owned by Charles Spencer, the Grade I-listed estate was the home of his sister, Lady Diana Spencer, later the Princess of Wales, before she married Prince Charles. It became her final resting place following her death in 1997. Over the centuries, members of the Spencer family have been made knights, peers and baronets and have included such prominent figures as Sir Winston Churchill. Althorp has been in the Spencer family for 500 years and covers around 13,000 acres of woodland, farmland and small hamlets. Originally a medieval village with just a few dozen residents, the estate was uninhabited by 1508 when John Spencer, head of a local sheep rearing business, bought the land. The elegant 18th-century mansion built there became one of the most prominent stately homes in the country, housing a 35-metre-long Tudor-era picture gallery and, during the 19th century, Europe’s biggest private library, which housed 100,000 books. There are a total of 28 listed buildings within the grounds, including the mansion itself, plus structures such as stables and a former falconry.
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