Stately home


Stately home

A stately home is, strictly speaking, one of about 500 large properties built in England between the mid-16th century and the early part of the 20th century, as well as converted abbeys and other church property (after the Dissolution of the Monasteries). They are usually distinguished from true "castles", being of a later date and built purely as residences. These houses became a status symbol for the great families of England who competed with each other to provide hospitality for members of the Royal Household. Famous architects and landscape architects such as Robert Adam, Sir Charles Barry, Sir Edwin Lutyens, Sir John Vanbrugh, Capability Brown and Humphry Repton were employed to incorporate new styles into the buildings. Great art and furniture collections were built up and displayed in the houses. The agricultural collapse towards the end of the nineteenth century, the First World War and then World War II changed the fortunes of many houses and their owners, and now there remains a curious mix of living museums, part-ruined houses and castles, and grand family estates.

The following organisations are responsible for the upkeep of numerous stately homes.

*English Heritage
*National Trust
*Treasure Houses of England
*The Landmark Trust

However, many stately homes are owned/managed by private individuals or by trusts. The costs of running a stately home are legendarily high. Many owners rent out their homes for use as film and television sets as a means of extra income, thus many of them are familiar sights to people who have never visited them in person. The grounds often contain other tourist attractions, such as safari parks, funfairs or museums.

The term stately home is a quotation from the poem "The Homes of England" originally published in "Blackwood's Magazine" in 1827 by Felicia Hemans, which begins as follows.

:The stately Homes of England, :How beautiful they stand, :Amidst their tall ancestral trees, :O’er all the pleasant land!

Noel Coward wrote and performed a parody of the above:

:The stately homes of England, :How beautiful they stand,:To prove the upper classes:Have still the upper hand.

In the later, Las Vegas phase of his career Coward revised his lyrics:

:The stately homes of England we proudly represent,:We only keep them up for Americans to rent....

Few owners use this phrase; they are more likely to call the properties "country houses." "Stately homes" is a real estate dealers' phrase, used by outsiders such as Robin Leach in "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" and parodists such as Dame Edna Everage.

ee also

*Historic house
*List of historic houses in England
*List of historic houses
*Treasure Houses of England
*Manor House
*Country house
*Great house
*Contents Auctions


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • stately home — stately homes N COUNT A stately home is a very large old house, especially one that people can pay to visit. [mainly BRIT] …   English dictionary

  • stately home — n BrE a large house in the countryside in Britain which has historical interest, especially one open to the public …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • stately home — noun count a large house in the U.K. that has an interesting history and belongs, or used to belong, to an important family …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • stately home — ► NOUN Brit. ▪ a large and fine house occupied or formerly occupied by an aristocratic family …   English terms dictionary

  • stately home — noun a mansion that is (or formerly was) occupied by an aristocratic family • Regions: ↑United Kingdom, ↑UK, ↑U.K., ↑Britain, ↑United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, ↑Great Britain • Hypernyms: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • stately home — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms stately home : singular stately home plural stately homes a large house in the UK that has an interesting history and belongs, or used to belong, to an important family …   English dictionary

  • stately home — Brit. a country mansion, usually of architectural interest and often open to the public. * * * …   Universalium

  • stately home — noun Brit. a large and fine house occupied or formerly occupied by an aristocratic family …   English new terms dictionary

  • stately home — noun (C) a large house in the countryside in Britain which has historical interest …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • ˌstately ˈhome — noun [C] a large house in the UK that belongs to an important family …   Dictionary for writing and speaking English


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.