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British Country Houses, Gardens, and Castles: Online Resources

This page is intended to guide users through the resources needed to study Castles, Country Houses and Gardens of England, Scotland and Wales.

Research Portals

Heritage Gateway

The Heritage Gateway allows you to search for information on England's historic sites and buidlings through cross-searching 49 resources, including over 50% of local English Historic Environment Records (HERs), The National Heritage List for England (including listed buildings) and six other national resources, including Images of England.

PORTICO

The first phase of Portico, launched in spring 2011, includes 12 detailed Portico entries as well as a brief historical overview for a further 220 lesser-known (but nevertheless fascinating) free sites in English Heritage's care. Over the next four years Portico aims to provide scholarly information on every English Heritage Property.

 

Organizations

The following links will direct you to organizations which seek to preserve, protect and promote British Castles, Country Houses and Gardens. Also included in this list are organizations that offer educational programs.

Cadw

Cadw is the Welsh Government’s historic environment service working for an accessible and well-protected historic environment for Wales.

Castle Studies Group

A membership group of both professionals and amateurs from a range of historical and archaeological backgrounds, that promotes the study of castles through documentary studies, architectural history, fieldwork and excavation.

Centre for the Study of Country Houses

An innovative joint venture between the Lamport Hall Preservation Trust and the University of Leicester which exists to promote all aspects of the study of great historic houses and their surroundings, design, construction and conservation.

English Heritage

English Heritage is the Government's statutory adviser on the historic environment, officially known as the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England. They are an executive Non-Departmental Public Body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The site has information about visiting historic sites, news in the field including Heritage crimes, finding funding for historic sites preservation, the Heritage at Risk Register, etc.

Historic Houses Association

HHA represents 1,500 privately-owned historic houses, castles and gardens throughout the UK. Their portfolio of 300 HHA houses open to the public can be searched.

Historical Research Agency

Those interested in commissioning historical research can contact the agency which specializes in tracing the social history of large town houses, high-value country retreats and rural estates.

Institute of Historic Building Conservation

The IHBC is the principal professional body for building conservation practitioners and historic environment specialists working in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, with connections to the Republic of Ireland.

Landmark Trust

Building preservation charity, established to rescue historic and architecturally interesting buildings and their surroundings from neglect and, when restored, to give them new life by letting them as places to experience for holidays.

National Trust

The Trust preserves and makes public, historic houses, gardens, archaeological remains, nature reserves, villages, etc. The site can be searched for specific properties and for the latest news on preservation.

National Trust of Scotland

The National Trust for Scotland is a conservation charity established in order to protect and promote Scotland's natural and cultural heritage for present and future generations to enjoy.

Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales

The RCAHMW has a leading national role in developing and promoting understanding of the archaeological, built and maritime heritage of Wales, as the originator, curator and supplier of authoritative information for individual, corporate and governmental decision makers, researchers, and the general public.  They have a unique collection of photographs, maps, images, publications and reports within its archive, The National Monuments Record of Wales, which can be consulted on our their database, Coflein, or by making an enquiry.

The Royal Oaks Foundation

The Royal Oak Foundation engages Americans in the work of the National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, one of the world’s largest and most progressive conservation organizations. To date, the Foundation has raised and granted over $7 million to support the work of the National Trust. Projects range from the acquisition of important coastline, to restoring historic houses, to helping re-acquire works of art separated from their original properties. In the United States, Royal Oak offers a wide range of member programs and activities focused on the National Trust, British art and architecture, fine & decorative arts, gardens, history, as well as conservation and historic preservation.

Scotland's Garden Scheme

This non-profit organization facilitates the opening of large and small gardens of horticultural interest throughout Scotland to the public. The gardens that open for SGS include Scotland's finest, and mostly privately owned and are normally inaccessible to the public at other times.

World Monuments Fund-Britain

WMF Britain’s activities are tailored to the needs of the heritage in question and the centerpiece of their work is conservation management in the field. A list of active and completed projects can be accessed on the website including photographs and conservation information.

Yorkshire Country House Partnership

A collaborative venture between the University of York and seven country houses in Yorkshire bringing together various areas of curatorial and academic expertise. The Partnership has a structured research program in the country houses of the region, investigating their history, collections and archives. Principal areas of focus include architecture, gardens and landscapes; collections and archives; the families who lived and worked on these estates, and the intellectual world of the country house.

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