The country house set in parkland with carefully sited clumps of trees, avenues of lime or beech and ornamental lakes is one of Britain's most enduring images. The story of how these estates were created, how they grew or were broken up, how they often became virtually self-sufficient economic units with tenant farms, dependant villages, shoots, forests, building yards and even brickworks, is fluently described by John Martin Robinson. He describes the genesis of the landed estate from its origins as a feudal fief in the Middle Ages, tracing the impact of Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries and the transformation wrought by the scientific farming methods of the Agricultural Revolution. He examines the eighteenth-century landowners "who taught the barren heath to smile" when they created great landscaped parks like Stourhead in Wiltshire and Kedleston in Derbyshire. Lyme Park in Cheshire is shown in its Victorian heyday, when the estate was run by a huge staff ranging from roadmen to shepherds, and where the ability to play cricket was a useful job qualification. The story is told against the background of changing inheritance laws and the dominant social, as well as economic, role of the estate - the sheep shearings, parties, hunts, rent dinners, harvest suppers and Christmas gatherings. The story ends with a description of the threats posed by the social and economic changes of the past century, and how the challenge has been met and overcome by better management practices, opening houses and estates to the public and, not least, through the National Trust's Country Houses Scheme.
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Book Description Century, 1988. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110712622756