The Country House in English Life

Ref: C2346593

This course is concerned with the ways in which the landed gentry dominated the politics and the administration of the country-side, as well as the ways in which their economic needs dominated many of their activities. It begins with some reference to the historiographical controversies over the so-called ‘Rise of the Gentry’ but concentrates on the way in which the gentry became increasingly significant in the administration and the politics of the county and in consequence felt that they had to demonstrate this new importance by the size and magnificence of their country seat. The module will connect the great rebuilding schemes of the eighteenth century with this new importance and will also connect the importance of the gentry class with the new intensification of agricultural development.

Course aim

To understand how the Country House developed from a place of residence into a monument of political, cultural, and economic power. Often rivalries among local families were expressed by attempts to expand ‘the House’ and outbid the neighbours.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers
  • No special skills are required for this course

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • describe the significance of 'the big house' in local affairs;
  • explain the significance of 'the gentry' from the mid-seventeenth century to the great Reform Acts of the nineteenth century
  • describe the changes brought about by the collapse of the agricultural sector at the end of the nineteenth century;
  • describe some of the modern legacies represented by the modern Country House and the problems presented by the desire to maintain these parts of the national heritage.

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

There is a suggested reading list available for further 'in-depth' study.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

The Country House in English Life

Enrolment Conditions

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2021
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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