The English country houses

Saturday, 14 July 2012 - 01:35 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks
Reading Time:  5 minutes

Bletchley Park © Matt Crypto

Bletchley Park © Matt Crypto

The English country house is a large house or mansion in the English countryside. Such houses were often owned by individuals who also owned a London house. This allowed to them to spend time in the country and in the city-hence, for these people, the term distinguished between town and country. However, the term also encompasses houses that were, and often still are, the full time residence for the landed gentry. These people were central to the squirearchy that ruled rural Britain until the Reform Act 1832. Frequently, the formal business of the counties was transacted in these country houses.

With large indoor and outdoor staffs, country house were important as places of employment for many rural communities. In turn, until the agricultural depressions of 1870s, the estates, of which country houses were the hub, provided their owners with incomes. However, the late 19th and early 20th centuries were the swan song of the traditional English country house lifestyle. Increased taxation and the results of World War I resulted in the demolition of thousands of houses; those that remained had to adapt to survive. While a château or a schloss can be a fortified or unfortified building, a country house is usually unfortified. If fortified, it is called a castle.

Wimpole House and Gardens © Nickarse2412/GFDL Longleat House and Gardens © Peekaboopink Little Moreton Hall © Christine-Ann Martin Frogmore House - Windsor Great Park © geograph.org.uk/Gill Hicks © Giano Bletchley Park © Matt Crypto
<
>
Frogmore House - Windsor Great Park © geograph.org.uk/Gill Hicks
Confusingly, there are no written terms for distinguishing between vast country palaces and comparatively small country houses; all descriptive terms, which can include castle, manor and court provide no firm clue and are often only used because of a historical connection with the site of such a building. Therefore, for ease or explanation, England’s country houses can be categorised according to the circumstances of their creation.

Today, many country houses have become hotels, schools, hospitals, museums and prisons, while others have survived as conserved ruins, but from the early 20th century until to the early 1970s, thousands of country houses were demolished. Houses that survived destruction are now mostly listed as buildings of historic interest, Grade I or II and can only be maintained under Government supervision-and only the most faithful, most accurate, and most precise restoration and re-creation is permitted. This is, however, also usually the most expensive. This system does, however, ensure that all work is correctly and authentically done. The negative side is that many owners cannot afford the work, so a roof remains leaking for the sake of a cheap roof tile.

Although the ownership or management of some houses has been transferred to a private trust, most notably at Chatsworth, other houses have transferred art works and furnishings under the Acceptance in Lieu scheme to ownership by various national or local museums, but are retained for display in the building. This enables the former owners to offset tax, the payment of which would otherwise have necessitated the sale of the art works, for example tapestries and furniture at Houghton Hall are now owned by the Victoria and Albert Museum. Increasing numbers of country houses hold licences for weddings and civil ceremonies. Another source of income is use as a film location and Corporate entertainment venue. While many country houses are open to the public, they remain inhabited private houses, and in some cases, by the descendents of their original builders.

Read more on Wikipedia List of country houses in the United Kingdom and Wikipedia English country house. Photos by Wikipedia Commons.


Recommended posts:

Share this post: (Please note data protection regulations before using buttons)

Portrait: Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States of America

Portrait: Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States of America

[caption id="attachment_192665" align="aligncenter" width="466"] Offical portrait of Harry S. Truman at White House © Greta Kempton - Harry S. Truman Library[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States (1945–1953), taking office upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. A World War I veteran, he assumed the presidency during the waning months of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War. He is known for implementing the Marshall Plan to rebuild the economy of Western Europe, for e...

[ read more ]

The Tegernsee in the Bavarian Alps

The Tegernsee in the Bavarian Alps

[caption id="attachment_153416" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Former Tegernsee Abbey © Rufus46[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The Tegernsee is a lake in the Bavarian Alps in southern Germany. The lake is the centre of a popular recreation area 50 kilometres (31 mi) south-east of Munich. Resorts on the lake include the eponymous Tegernsee, as well as Bad Wiessee, Kreuth, Gmund, and Rottach-Egern. The lake is some 6.5 kilometres (4.0 mi) in length, with a width of 1.4 kilometres (0.87 mi) and an area of 8.934 square kilomet...

[ read more ]

Theme Week Palestine - Nablus

Theme Week Palestine - Nablus

[caption id="attachment_171092" align="aligncenter" width="590"] An-Najah University © Guillaume Paumier/cc-by-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Nablus is a city in the northern West Bank, approximately 49 kilometers (30 mi) north of Jerusalem, (approximately 63 kilometers (39 mi) by road), with a population of 147,000. Located between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, it is the capital of the Nablus Governorate and a Palestinian commercial and cultural center, containing the An-Najah National University, one of the largest Palestinian...

[ read more ]

Krakow is home to the second oldest university in Central Europe

Krakow is home to the second oldest university in Central Europe

[caption id="attachment_159771" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Fortress Wawel © Hstoffels[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Kraków also Krakow, or Cracow, is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River (Polish: Wisła) in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural and artistic life and is one of Poland's most important economic centres. It was the capital of Poland from 1038 to 15...

[ read more ]

Kronberg im Taunus

Kronberg im Taunus

[caption id="attachment_160661" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Victoria Park: View from Schiller Lake towards Kronberg Castle © Wolliballa[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Kronberg im Taunus is a town in the Hochtaunuskreis district, Hesse. Before 1866, it was in the Duchy of Nassau; in that year the whole Duchy was absorbed into Prussia. Kronberg lies at the foot of the Taunus, flanked in the north and southwest by forests. A mineral water spring also rises in the town. The biggest street festival in the Old Town (around St...

[ read more ]

The 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France: The venues

The 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France: The venues

[responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"][caption id="attachment_202679" align="aligncenter" width="428"] © 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup[/caption]The 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup is the eighth edition of the FIFA Women's World Cup, the quadrennial international football championship contested by the women's national teams of the member associations of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) between 7 June and 7 July 2019. In March 2015, France won the right to host the event; the first time the country is hosting the tournament, a...

[ read more ]

University of Cape Town

University of Cape Town

[caption id="attachment_230077" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Upper Campus at Groote Schuur on the slopes of Devil's Peak © Adrian Frith/cc-by-sa-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The University of Cape Town (UCT) is a public research university in Cape Town, South Africa. Established in 1829 as the South African College, it was granted full university status in 1918, making it the oldest university in South Africa and the oldest university in Sub-Saharan Africa in continuous operation. UCT is organised in 57 departments...

[ read more ]

Freiburg im Breisgau, the world capital of solar technology

Freiburg im Breisgau, the world capital of solar technology

[caption id="attachment_160190" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Historical Merchants Hall © Andreas Trepte[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Freiburg im Breisgau is a city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Located in the extreme south-west of the country, Freiburg straddles the Dreisam river, at the foot of the Schlossberg. Historically, the city has acted as the hub of the Breisgau region on the western edge of the Black Forest in the Upper Rhine Plain. One of the famous old German university towns, and archiepiscopal seat, Freiburg wa...

[ read more ]

Belmond Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro

Belmond Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro

[caption id="attachment_163049" align="aligncenter" width="590"] © Charlesjsharp/cc-by-sa-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The Belmond Copacabana Palace is a luxury hotel located on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro. The hotel is widely considered as South America's premier hotel, and has received the rich and famous for over 90 years. It faces the coast, and consists of an 8-story main building and a 14-story annex. The Art Deco hotel was designed by French architect Joseph Gire. It has 216 rooms (148 in the main building and 78...

[ read more ]

Karakorum in Mongolia

Karakorum in Mongolia

[caption id="attachment_233279" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Karakorum model in the National Museum of Mongolian History in Ulaan-Baatar © Brücke-Osteuropa[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Karakorum was the capital of the Mongol Empire between 1235 and 1260 and of the Northern Yuan dynasty in the 14–15th centuries. Its ruins lie in the northwestern corner of the Övörkhangai Province of modern-day Mongolia, near the present town of Kharkhorin and adjacent to the Erdene Zuu Monastery, which is likely the oldest surviving Buddhi...

[ read more ]

Return to TopReturn to Top
Lake Druskonis and City Museum © Vpavardenis
The Druskininkai resort in Lithuania

Druskininkai is a spa town on the Neman River in southern Lithuania in the Alytus County, close to the borders...

National Museum © Jonas Bergsten
Stockholm, the Venice of the North

Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm...

Aerial view © Brian McMorrow
Windhoek, the captial of Namibia

Windhoek is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Namibia. It is located in central Namibia in the...

Close