About this blog

The aim of the blog is to focus on sharing history and comment on UK country houses and stately homes and provide a broader perspective on their place in the rich tapestry of our architectural history.  Much as I celebrate the successes, I’m very alert to the threats which these amazing houses still face either from poor ownership, environmental factors or sheer bad luck.  The articles are more in-depth, drawing on a wide range of research on architectural history, standing on the shoulders of giants such as Howard Colvin, John Summerson, John Harris, Marcus Binney, Mark Girouard, John Julius Norwich, and many others.

This is an independent blog – sadly I don’t own a country house, nor does anyone in my family, though a distant relative was Head Coachman at Flete in Devon at one point. Of course, if anyone would like to leave me a house and estate (even a small one), I’d be happy to devote myself to keeping it in the manner such estates should be. As of 2017, I do have an MA (Distinction) in ‘The English Country House 1485-1945‘ from the University of Buckingham, awarded for my dissertation, ‘The Seat of a Gentleman – The Evolving Professionalisation of the Sale of English Country Houses 1700-1960’.

Views and opinions are my own regardless of any organisations I may be involved with. I receive no sponsorship/funding from anyone – though I always welcome comments and information from those who own these wonderful homes or who work in the industry. This blog should be an important resource for anyone interested in, or who works with, our country houses.

If you have news you’d like to share, please do feel free to get in contact: contact@thecountryseat.org.uk

Thank you for your interest – and don’t forget to subscribe for updates.

Matthew Beckett

And for good measure, here are my top recommendations to help the survival of our country houses:

  • Reform VAT on listed building repairs to favour conservation.
  • Ensure local councils fully meet their responsibilities as protectors of our heritage.
  • Resist the imposition of a Land Valuation Tax.

Lost Heritage – a memorial to England’s Lost Country Houses

This blog is the flip-side to my particular interest which is the English country houses  which have been demolished or otherwise lost since 1800 which I highlight through my other website Lost Heritage.  I’m aiming to create the most comprehensive list and illustrate these sad losses through architectural ‘biographies’ and images of each house – the website currently has over 50 ‘biographies’ and hundreds of images.

Do visit it if you want to be shocked and saddened at what has already been lost – Lost Heritage