From Castle to County House: The Transformation of Northumbrian Houses 1100 – 1800.
Course date: Saturday 7th September to Saturday 14th September
Course Leaders: Anne French, MA and Richard Pears, BA PGDip
Early bookings received by 15th March: £715.00 per person
Bookings after 15th March: £750.00 per person
This popular course, now in its third year, will again examine the legacy of Border warfare from 1100 to 1600 on the architectural heritage of the northern counties of England, which produced their spectacular castles and other fortified buildings, but will introduce buildings not visited in previous years. As such, this course will appeal to returning as well as new delegates. In the year which marks the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden Field on 9th September 1513, we will examine the nearby Border fortresses of Norham and Etal Castles, still bearing the scars of the Scottish campaign, and the iconic Bamburgh Castle, fortified for over 1500 years. We will also extend beyond Northumberland and Durham to visit sites in North Yorkshire and Cumbria, to illustrate the range of defensible buildings constructed in these turbulent times, including defensible churches.
NEW PARAGRAPH Defence was not the only consideration for Northern land-owning families, and from the 14th century, despite the continued threats of Scottish raids, landowners sought to incorporate more comfort into their houses. With the Union of the Crowns in 1603, the northern elite was able to adapt houses to include fittings and facilities more in keeping with those of their fellows in southern England. However, this was often achieved by adding a wing in the newly fashionable styles of the 17th and 18th centuries onto medieval castles and tower houses, rather than building anew as in the south. As a result, there are very few Elizabethan, Jacobean or Carolean ‘great houses’ in the region, and instead more complex buildings evolved, often over several generations, as continuing insecurity during the 17th century, created by the Civil War, and then by the Jacobite intrigues that followed the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688, encouraged the retention of defensible buildings. We will also explore country houses, including some privately-owned examples not open to the public, where owners were able to build anew in the more settled and prosperous 18th century.
The course will include illustrated lectures by the course leaders and other specialists, to illuminate these evolutionary periods in English architecture, which saw the creation of planned interiors for public and private living; the impact of Renaissance ideals of classical architecture, decoration and furnishings; and changes in styles from medieval to neo-classical.
Anne French is a freelance art historian and curator who trained at Cambridge University and at The Courtauld Institute of Art. She was curator of the memorable “Art Treasures in the North: Northern Families on the Grand Tour” exhibition at the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle in 1999-2000, and is the author of the book with this same title which was published in 2009.
Richard Pears is a librarian at Durham University and has recently completed his PhD in the School of Historical Studies at Newcastle University on the Newcastle architect William Newton (1730-1798) and the origins of classical architecture in North East England. He is a Vice President of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne. He has published articles on country houses in the North East and lectures on architectural history to groups and societies.