Merry Christmas!

Blicking Hall, Norfolk (Image: National Trust Picture Library / Alamy via Telegraph)
Blicking Hall, Norfolk (Image: National Trust Picture Library / Alamy via Telegraph)

Merry Christmas to you all!  I thought a snowy picture most appropriate even if at the moment it’s shaping up to be a warm Christmas rather than a white one.

As always, writing this blog is a pleasure not only for what I learn as I do the research but also from what others are kind enough to share via the comments and email.  It shows there really is a huge amount of interest in, and affection for, our country houses and that should never be forgotten.  Austerity is always an opportunity for some to make simplistic arguments about ‘big houses’. However, to deride hundreds of years of history, collecting, art, architecture, landscaping and the lives of those who have been involved with these beautiful buildings is the type of short-termism which led to the terrible destruction of the early 20th-century. If you know of a threat to a country house (beyond HS2!) then do let me know.

Again, apologies that I haven’t been able to post as much as I’d like to over the last couple of months but this is still a hobby and the day job can sometimes require temporary priority.  The good news is that normal service should be restored in the Spring with more posts on houses in the news exploring the architectural context so often ignored, and wider articles on some lesser known aspects of country houses.  Of course, there will hopefully be more on the TV, especially after the success of ‘Downton Abbey’, and I know there are further series of ‘Country House Rescue’ and ‘Restoration’ in the works.  A special mention should go to Dan Cruickshank and his ‘Country House Revealed’ series which, for me, was the highlight of the viewing year; superb photography, great commentary and access to some wonderful houses – fingers crossed it’s commissioned again.

Another special mention should go to the other new blogs on other aspects of country houses, some of which have started in the last year:

  • HandedOn – highly recommended look at some of the more obscure(d) houses
  • British and Irish Stately Homes – a comprehensive and remarkable archive of sightings of country houses. Run by Andrew, a frequent commenter on this blog.
  • Country House Reader – an eclectic look at houses, contents and customs

Please do keep emailing and commenting with news and updates – I read them all and try to reply promptly (though forgive me if there is a delay). If you use Twitter, more updates can be found there: @thecountryseat is designed to highlight other country house news which may not warrant a full post here but which are still worth a look (and they also appear on the homepage of the blog in the box top-right).

Once again, thank you for your support and continued interest and I look forward to sharing more about the fascinating architecture of our wonderful and spectacular country houses in 2012.


11 thoughts on “Merry Christmas!

  1. Norman Josling December 24, 2011 / 11:56

    Merry Christmas Matthew.
    I’m sure I’m not alone in appreciating your time and effort that goes into “The Country Seat”
    Many thanks

  2. Jeff Aldridge December 24, 2011 / 15:29

    Thanks for the gift of this blog! Merry Christmas.

  3. James Canning December 24, 2011 / 18:46

    Merry Christmas. Great site.

  4. Evelyn December 25, 2011 / 01:53

    I have read your entries with keen interest because of my additional research on English architecture. Castles are my primary focus but not my only interest. This year Staffordshire was a part of my research while covering the west Midlands area and I ran into a problem finding out about Dunwood Hall and I certainly couldn’t find a single photo. May I suggest this Robert Scrivener mansion for a future project? I would welcome anything additional you would be able to add to my findings.
    Thanks for your dedicated work !
    The Castle Lady

  5. ldm December 26, 2011 / 13:16

    Belated Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year. And thanks very much for all the work you put into this site.

  6. Brian Terry December 26, 2011 / 15:24

    Matthew, you tireless dedication to the preservation, and education, regarding English country houses is much appreciated and loved. Merry Christmas to you and yours, and I am one who looks forward to your future articles!

  7. handedon December 26, 2011 / 15:39

    Happy Christmas and New Year to you, Matthew, and thanks for that v generous hat-tip. Like you, I’m looking forward to a new series of ‘Country House Rescue’ even if it is chipping away at my stockpile!

  8. visitinghousesandgardens December 26, 2011 / 20:42

    Merry Christmas Matthew. Visiting houses is made all the more interesting by the insight you provide. Keep up the very good work.

  9. simon wardell December 28, 2011 / 19:27

    Really enjoy the blog Matthew, have a great New Year. Re country houses on tv, am I alone in wondering why there were no more series of The Curious House Guest with Jeremy Musson?

    • Matthew Beckett - The Country Seat December 29, 2011 / 19:48

      Hi Simon

      Thanks for the compliment.

      You are not alone – I meet so many people who would really love to see another series of The Curious House Guest (assuming Mr Musson is up for it!). So, if anyone reading this works in TV, then please do contact Jeremy ( and get commissioning. Thanks, in advance, from me and many, many other country house enthusiasts.


  10. Matthew Beckett - The Country Seat December 29, 2011 / 19:50

    More generally, thank you all for your kind and generous compliments – it’s great to know that others still find the articles interesting and feedback is always appreciated.


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