The Country House in History

Module code: HA7010

Module co-ordinator: Professor Phillip Lindley

Module Overview

The evolution and function of the country house from the medieval development of the castle and courtyard house and the conversion of former monasteries, to the present day is the focus of this core module. It will deal with the country house both as a functional institution within the rural landscape and as a monument of power: political, cultural and economic. By the end of the nineteenth century, the English landscape was studded with country houses which functioned as local power bases for noble and gentry families. This module will discuss the place of the country house in its locality and how it projected its owners’ power and culture in its architectural and garden setting and in its contents.

Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • Understand the broad development of the country house from its medieval antecedents to the present day
  • Understand the place of the country house in its landscape as economic power-base
  • Explain the development of collections of works of art in the country house
  • Grasp the broad outlines of architectural developments in country house architecture
  • Understand the reasons for the decline of country houses in the twentieth century and how they are maintained today

Assessment Methods

  • Two 2,500 word essays