Welbeck Abbey, a Premonsratensian foundation, was established in 1153-4 by Thomas de Cuckney. After its Dissolution in 1540 it was acquired by Gilbert Talbot, seventh Earl of Shrewsbury who in 1597 leased it to his brother-in-law Sir Charles Cavendish, son of Bess of Hardwick.
Welbeck Abbey is situated in a landscaped park with much woodland, having had extensive 19th century and early 20th century formal gardens in the vicinity of the house. It was also home to the Dukes of Portland.
The first Duke of Portland attained Peerage of Great Britain in 1716. This was William Henry Bentinck, who was already Earl of Portland. The dukedom came into the possession of the Cavendish-Bentinck family by marriage. The Cavendish-Bentinck family of Welbeck Abbey, has quite an extensive history.
The 3rd Duke of Portland, William Henry Cavendish Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland, Marquess of Titchfield, Earl of Portland, Viscount Woodstock, Baron of Cirencester. (April 14, 1738 - October 30, 1809) was the most famous, as statesman and Prime Minister. The 5th Duke was an eccentric recluse, who shunned visitors. He had fifteen miles of tunnels dug under the house which housed libraries; a billiard room large enough for twelve full size tables and an enormous subterranean ballroom large enough to take two thousand dancers - all of which remained unused. When in London, the Duke always travelled in a closed carriage; maintained a shuttered box at the Opera and kept the curtains permanently drawn at the windows of his substantial town house in Cavendish Square. The Dukedom of Portland became extinct on the 9th Duke's death, though the 9th Duke's distant cousin succeeded him as Earl of Portland.
Since the 1950s Welbeck Abbey has been used by the British Army as a sixth-form college.