Felling the Ancient Oaks: How England Lost its Great Country Estates

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9781845136703: Felling the Ancient Oaks: How England Lost its Great Country Estates
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A stunning visual record of England's most spectacular and scenic country estates that were broken up for sale and lost for ever. A sweeping country estate, with grand house and spectacular gardens and park, would not be the first impression of a visitor to modern suburban Watford. But well into the twentieth century that was exactly what was there – the magnificence of the Cassiobury estate, of which only a modest municipal park survives. Underneath the expanse of Rutland Water lies the once splendid Normanton estate, while Deepdene in Surrey is now memorialised only by an ugly office block. Fortunately, at least photographs live on to remind us of how the landscape looked before death duties, mining subsidence and sometimes the plain impecuniousness of the black sheep in the family took their toll and forced the break-up of all too many historic landed estates. In this elegiac book, a successor to Aurum’s Lost Victorian Britain, John Robinson surveys 20 of the most egregious losses, from Costessy in East Anglia to Lathom in Lancashire, and shows how the deer park, the home farm, the parterre and the cottage garden gave way to the power station, the motorway and the caravan park.

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About the Author:

John Martin Robinson is a British architectural historian and officer of arms. Robinson is also a Knight of Magistral Grace of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. He lives at Beckside House, Cumbria. Robinson is an active member of the Georgian Group.

Review:

‘This book doesn’t just tug one’s heart-strings but yanks them heartily...beautifully illustrated’



`A poignantly illustrated volume. Robinson writes with passion of the fate of ancient landed families.there are numerous spellbinding illustrations.' - Marcus Binney, Architecture Correspondent

`An eloquent study of some 20 `lost' estates. Dr Robinson is a distinguished architectural historian. There can be few people better placed to tell this story. His introductory essay should be read by anyone interested in the history of land-owning in England.' - Jeremy Musson

`Stunning visual record of our most spectacular and scenic country estates.magnificent book.' 9/10

`An extremely handsome volume packed to the rafters with fascinating stories and stunning images of now-vanished stately homes.a great book all round'

`Informative, trenchant and often poignant book.'

`There is something compelling and evocative about abandoned, lost or ruined homes that appeals to the voyeur in all of us, and this book hits that sweet spot again and again. It is gloriously illustrated with some mesmerising black-and-white pictures of the houses in the pomp. This is the world of Downton Abbey brought to life, or rather death, and all the more interesting for that. Every chapter could form a mini-series in its own right. The accompanying text is a joy, shot through with nostalgia for what has been lost and a disdain for the modern horrors.'

'Beautifully rendered book' Five stars*****

`Magnificent.this treasure trove of history offers a stunning and heart-breaking photographic record of our most spectacular and scenic country estates'

`This book doesn't just tug one's heart-strings but yanks them heartily.beautifully illustrated'

THis book is a particularly powerful and poignant reminder that a house - whether grand or modest - is so much more than bricks and mortar

'Mr Robinson provides an important introduction whose elegiac tone must not be regarded as undermining its historic acuteness.'



THis book is a particularly powerful and poignant reminder that a house - whether grand or modest - is so much more than bricks and mortar



'Mr Robinson provides an important introduction whose elegiac tone must not be regarded as undermining its historic acuteness.'

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