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Architect First Name

This field is used to search for houses by the first name of an architect.  If you enter "James" in this field, you will retrieve all the houses where an architect with the first name of James worked on the house (over 100 records).  If you are looking for James Wyatt, type "James" in this field, and "Wyatt" in the Architect Last Name field.

Please note that architects are sometimes associated with houses in which they may have not designed the house, i.e., they designed follies, stables, gates, gardens, or additions to the house.

Architect Last Name   top

This field is used to search for houses by the first last of an architect.  For instance, if you enter "Wyatt" in this field, you will retrieve all the houses where an architect with the last name of Wyatt  (of which there were many) worked on the house.  If you are specifically looking for James Wyatt, type "Wyatt" in this field, and "James" in the Architect First Name field.

Please note that architects are associated with houses in which they may have not designed the house, e.g., they designed the follies, stables, gates, gardens, or additions to the house.

Artists in Collection   top

This field allows a search for art objects produced by a particular artist or maker that are currently or were previously in the collection of a house.  Thus, you can search for "Gainsborough" or "Wedgwood" and the search engine will return houses were pieces by these artists were, or are, in the collection of the house.
 

Bibliography Author Name   top

This search field allows you to find houses where we have cited the books of specific authors in our research.  Author names should be entered with last name first, followed by a comma and the first name, e.g., Harris, John.  If you enter "Harris, John" the search engine will retrieve over 180 houses where we have cited books written by John Harris. 
 

Bibliography Book Title   top

This field allows you to search for houses where we have used the title of a specific book for research, citing it as a bibliographic reference.  You can also use more general terms, such as one word of a book title, e.g., if you enter "Georgian" in the search field the search engine will retrieve over 100 houses where that word appears in the title of a book that we have cited in our research. 
 

Circa Date   top

The Circa Date field is used when a specific date, either a start or completion date, is unavailable or unknown.  Instead an approximate date, usually covering a very broad period, is used. This field can be searched by both specific dates expressed in numbers, and by terms that describe a period of time, e.g., you can search for houses that were built about 1800 and you'll retrieve approximately three records.  You can also search by terms such as Edwardian, Victorian, Georgian, William and Mary, Jacobean, Elizabethan, Tudor, 20th century, 19th century, 18th century, 17th century, and 16th century, all of which will return records.  The Circa Date field is specifically strongest in word dates (Tudor), rather than dates expressed as numbers (1800).

Completion Date   top

Building a house could often take many years, even decades in some cases.  This is the field to search for a house if you know the date in which construction ended.  This field is very specific; broad searches are not possible; e.g., if you enter 1870 in the field you will retrieve the records for houses in which building was completed exactly in the year 1870. 

Please note that many, many houses had additions, partial demolitions, and renovations over the years.  The completion date here refers only to the date in which the main block was finished.  If an earlier Tudor building existed, the majority of which was demolished in the 18th century and replaced, incorporating Tudor fragments, finishing in 1767, the completion date would be 1767.

Country   top

This field provides you with a drop-down menu with four choices:  England [E], Scotland [S], Wales [W], and Ireland [I].  You must choose one of these countries to search by country.  However, you may leave the field as "Unknown" and the search will be performed on all four countries.  

If you choose to search by both District Today (directly below the Country field), and the Country field, the abbreviations in brackets must match in both fields if you are to get results from your search, e.g., Swansea [W] in the District Today field is to be searched together with Wales [W] in the Country field.

For the purposes of the Database, Ireland is considered as one country and is represented by an unofficial flag -- a golden harp on a green field.

Country House   top

Though the purpose of this database is to catalog country houses, there are a number of buildings listed that are not country houses.  These buildings are usually included in the database because of their associated historical importance with the families who occupied country houses.

These "other" buildings are divided into the following five categories:  Townhouse, Villa, Folly or Outbuilding, Garden, or Other.  You can perform a search for only country houses by choosing "Yes" from the drop-down list and the results returned will be only country houses.  Conversely, if you want to search for buildings in the database other than country houses, choose "No" from the drop-down list, and you will retrieve only buildings in the search results that fall under the five categories described above.  If you leave the Country House field in "Unknown," you will retrieve records that contain country houses and other buildings in the five categories.

District Today   top

Every county and unitary authority of Britain, and every county of Ireland, as of 1999, are listed in the drop-down list for District Today.  The counties and administrative authorities of Britain are standardized from "Collins Britain Atlas and Gazetteer" of 1999. For Ireland, we use "Cadogan Ireland" of 1998.

Choose an area by which to search and make note of the abbreviation in square brackets that appears immediately after the area, e.g., Co. Mayo [I].  This abbreviation will identify the country in which the area is located: E = England, S = Scotland, W = Wales, I = Ireland.

If you choose to search by both District Today and country in the Country field (directly above the District Today field), the abbreviations in brackets must match in both fields if you are to get results from your search, e.g., Ayrshire [S] in the District Today field must be searched together with Scotland [S] in the Country field.

You may leave the District Today field as Unknown and the search will be performed on all counties and areas in all four countries.

Extant   top

Extant refers to the status of a house today, i.e., is it standing or demolished.  You can search by seven terms that appear in the drop-down menu:  

Unknown - Information about the house is unavailable or unknown

Fully Extant - The house stands completely intact as it was built, with no demolition of any of its parts.

Partially Extant - The house is still standing and is probably occupied, but has had wings or other sections demolished.

Derelict - The house has probably been abandoned and is in poor shape, but is still basically intact.

Shell -  Most of the house's exterior walls are still standing, but it has no roof.

Ruin -  Only a small portion of the walls of the house remain; possibly only a basement or outline is left.

Destroyed - The house has been completely destroyed; no physical evidence of it exists today,

These categories refer only to the house; many estates where the house has been destroyed still have gardens, follies, and outbuildings that are intact that are open to the public; thus, the sometimes confusing listing of a house that's listed as being destroyed and open to the public!

Please note that we concentrate on only one house and refer to its extant status, even it there were multiple houses by the same name on the site.  Thus, if there was a 15th century house, one built in the 18th century, and third built in the 20th century, only one house will be the focus of our record.  Accordingly, in the above example, if the 18th century house was the house of record, we would list the house as being demolished, even though a house by the same name exists on the site, having been built in the 20th century to replace the demolished 18th century one, which in turn replaced the demolished 15th century house.  In the section "History / Gardens & Park / Movies" you would then find the 15th century house listed in the section entitled Earlier House(s) / Building(s) and the 20th century house listed in the section entitled House Replaced By, but the 18th century house would be the star and the focus of our record. 

Historic County(ies)   top

Over the past couple of hundred years the county lines of Britain have changed many times.  A house that was in Oxfordshire in the 18th century could have been in Berkshire in the 19th century, and then back to Oxfordshire in the 20th.  If you think the house for which you're searching may have been in a different county in the past than it is today, this is the field in which to search for past county locations.

This is also the field to use when searching for a county whose name has changed, e.g., search here for Dorsetshire (now called Dorset).

This field also contains different names that the same county goes by, or  regions that contain subsections, e.g., Perthshire is a subsection of Tayside.

House Name   top

When searching for a record by house name, you can search by a whole or partial name.  If you enter a fragment of a word, or an entire word,  you will retrieve EVERY record that has that fragment, or word, as a part of its name, e.g., entering worth will return Chatsworth, and over 80 other records that contain worth as part of the house name.  If you enter king in the search field, you will retrieve ALL records that have king somewhere in the house name, e.g., Ardkinglas.

Do not put quotation marks around the house name, as this will confuse the search engine and zero records will be returned for your search.  When searching for a house name that contains the word "Saint" or the abbreviation "St.", you will get better results if you search without "Saint or St.", e.g., search for "Annes," not "St. Anne's".

The House Name field does not recognize an apostrophe.  So, if you're searching for Bishop's Court, enter Bishops CourtPunctuation in general can confuse the search; if you're not getting the results you want on your search, it's best to eliminate all punctuation and try again.

The previous or secondary names of a house are shown in parentheses after the name used today.  You can search by previous names, as well as current names, in the House Name field.

Some houses will have a county or town listed after their name, e.g., Dodington Park, Gloucestershire.  When this appears, it indicates that there is a house or houses by the same name or similar spelling, e.g., Doddington Hall, Cheshire and Doddington Hall, Lincolnshire.  Thus, this listing of the county or town next to the house name is done to enable easy identification of like-sounding house names or to distinguish houses that may have the same name and be in the same county, but located in different towns.

 

Keyword   top

This search tool casts a wide-net search of all the fields in the "History / Gardens & Park / Movies" section of each of the over 7,200 houses in The Database of Houses.  Thus, if you enter "Reynolds," all the houses where there was or is a painting by Joushua Reynolds will be returned.   Because this search tool is so broad-based, it's important to refine your search as much as possible.  The fields in these sections include everything from family names to composers who played in a house to references from literature to contemporary events.
 

Movie / TV Titles Filmed at House   top
 

This field is used to search for a house, or houses, using movie or TV titles as the search tool. 
Houses where filming has taken place will be identified with this logo:



The search engine will look for houses where filming took place (currently over 570 houses) that feature the movie or TV title you specify.  Movies often use multiple locations, e.g., if you search for "The Remains of the Day," you will retrieve the records of four houses where the movie used location filming, all of them used to depict Darlington Hall.  When the records are returned from your search you will need to click on the "History / Gardens & Park / Movies" section and then look in the "Movies" field to see the name(s) of the movie(s) and TV show(s) filmed at the house.  This field is particularly helpful if you don't know the name of a house, but saw it in a movie or TV program.

Please note that you should not use quotation marks around the movie title; this will cause the search engine to return with no results.  Enter the title in plain text, e.g., The Remains of the Day.

When searching in this field, please note that, though we always strive for consistency, there are inevitable slips.  For instance, when searching for a movie that has the word "and" in the title, it's best to search using both the "and" and the ampersand (&), e.g., "Sense and Sensibility" and "Sense & Sensibility."  As is always the case with any search, you give yourself the best possibility for a successful search by making the search criteria as broad as possible, e.g., typing "Sense" in the field will give you the same results.

We use the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com) as the source of record for dates that we associate with movies and television programs in our Database of Houses.  For consistency, we have adopted the date that the Internet Movie Database uses directly after the title, e.g., "The Remains of the Day" (1993) as the date of record.  To view IMDb's listing of movies filmed at a house, use the IMDb Power Search (http://us.imdb.com/list), by entering the house name in the Location field. If a TV program is not listed in IMDb (common for one-off smaller UK documentaries made for TV), then the year should refer to when it is first broadcast (or viewed at a film festival) anywhere in the world (which may differ from the year show in the credits at the end of the program). For made-for-video titles, the year refers to the release or first sale date.
 

Only Show Houses With Images   top

Over 1,160 records currently have images attached to them to illustrate the house; many houses have more than one image (we add images on a regular basis).  When you perform a search for house records with images the Database will return the initial results with a thumbnail image as shown below.

Image Available

If you want to search for houses in a particular country, district today, date field, or any of the other searchable fields, choose that field(s) and then click the box next to Only Show Houses With Images. Your search results will be returned with only the houses that have images in the criteria you specified. 

You can be as broad or as specific as you want with an Only Show Houses With Images searchIf you check the Only Show Houses With Images box and nothing else, every record in the database with an image will be returned.  Conversely, if you choose England, Derbyshire, Fully Extant, Country House: Yes, and Open to the Public: Yes from the drop-down menus, and then check the Only Show Houses With Images box, your search results will return four records.

 

Only Show Houses With Royal Connection   top

Over 200 houses are currently listed as having a royal connection.  We define a royal connection as having a member of the British royal family, or the predecessor royal families of England, Scotland, Wales, or Ireland, having lived at or visited a house marked with this symbol: 

 

If you want to search for houses in a particular country, district today, date field, or any of the other searchable fields, choose that field(s), and then click the box next to Only Show Houses With Royal Connection. Your search results will be returned with only the houses that have a royal connection in the criteria you specified.  To find the Royal Connection reference, look in these fields: 

~In the "History / Gardens & Park / Movies" section look in the "House & Family History" field

~In the "Access / Ownership / Seat" section look in the "Today Seat of" and "A Past Seat of" fields.

You can be as broad or as specific as you want with an Only Show Houses With Royal Connection searchIf you check the Only Show Houses With Royal Connection box and nothing else, every record in the database with a royal connection will be returned.  Conversely, if you choose England, Derbyshire, check the Only Show Houses With Images
box, and then check the Only Show Houses With Royal Connection box, your search results will be greatly reduced.
 

Seat Of   top

Country houses have traditionally been the primary residence, or "seat" of landed families for generations.  This field is used to search for families that have occupied, or currently occupy, a country house.  The term "seat" is used in this database very broadly, e.g., any family that occupied the house for approximately five years or more will be listed as having made the house their "seat."  

Family names are listed by both title, e.g., "Devonshire" for the Dukes of Devonshire, and by family surnames, e.g., Warde.  In some cases you can search by both the title or family name, e.g., you will retrieve the same houses if you search by "Devonshire," or "Cavendish".  If you don't find the match you want the first time, try searching again by the alternate name, i.e., non-titled surname.

When searching by titles it's best to use the most basic form of the title.  For example, when searching for the seat of the Earl of Carlisle, you should simply enter Carlisle
 

Start Date   top

Building a house could often take many years, even decades in some cases.  This is the field to search for a house if you know the date in which construction was started.  This field is very specific; broad searches are not possible; e.g., if you enter 1785 in the field you will retrieve the records for houses that started construction specifically in the year 1785. 

Please note that many houses had additions, partial demolitions, and renovations over the years.  The start date here refers only to the date in which construction on the main block was commenced.  If an earlier Tudor building existed, the majority of which was demolished in the 18th century and replaced, incorporating Tudor fragments, starting in 1753, the start date would be 1753.

City / Town/ Village top

This field searches for houses located in or near a town, city, or village in Britain and Ireland (please note that in large cities like London this field is used to pinpoint the area within a city where a house is located, e.g., "Mayfair").  Please be aware that the very nature of a country house means that it is usually not actually in a town or city; thus, where towns are listed they should be used only as a reference guide to the general area where the house is located.  A large number of the houses in the Database have a small map that appears on the "Special Info / Location / Date" page pinpointing the approximate location of the house; we can increase the number of maps if we have more towns to associate with houses, so we're most grateful for updated town information.  Email your updates to us.  Click Here to Email Us



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