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When James Paine built the Chatsworth stable block in the 1760’s a brewery was included on the upper floor. Beer was brewed for the main House and for the staff. It was part of their wages until 1931!

Rather than carry heavy barrels to the house, a pipe was sunk from the brew house through the garden to the cellar. This was a contrivance installed by the 6th Duke of Devonshire and described in his 'Handbook to Chatsworth and Hardwick' (1844) as '1059 feet long [and] of three inch bore, the idea of which always gives me a longing on some great occasion, to form a fountain of that liquid'. 

When ale had been brewed, the lead pipe carried the ale from the brewery directly into one of the twelve huge oak barrels in the cellar of the great house where it was aged, some casks for years. 

Referred to as 'The Twelve Apostles' by the 6th Duke in his handbook, the ends of the large oak casks were carved with the arms of the 1st Duke; the carving attributed to Samuel Watson who carried out a large amount of decorative carving in both wood and stone throughout Chatsworth.

The barrels still exist today but, sadly, the wood has dried and shrunk, and are no longer usable.

Illicit Tapping

In the 1950’s it was decided to uproot the lead pipe for the salvage value. When tracing it through the greenhouse, it was found that the gardeners had tapped into it!

The brewers tipped the wink to the gardeners when the ale was flowing down, so they could ‘borrow’ the odd pint or two!

Today this episode has given its name to a brand of beer available at Chatsworth called 'Gardener's Tap'.

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