The Country House in History

Module code: HA7510

You will begin your study of the country house with this core module looking at the evolution and function of such houses from the medieval development of the castle and courtyard house and the conversion of former monasteries to the present day.

By the end of the nineteenth century, the English landscape was studded with country houses that functioned as local power bases for noble and gentry families. We will consider the country house both as a functional institution within the rural landscape and as a monument of power: political, cultural, and economic. We will also discuss the place of the country house in its locality and how these houses projected their owners’ power and culture through their architectural and garden setting and the collections of works of art that they contained. In addition, we will look at the reasons for the decline of country houses in the twentieth century and how they are maintained today.


  • 300 hours of guided independent study


  • Essay one, 2,500 words (50%)
  • Essay two, 2,500 words (50%)