The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

'X' marks the spot: the history and historiography of Coleshill House, Berkshire

'X' marks the spot: the history and historiography of Coleshill House, Berkshire
'X' marks the spot: the history and historiography of Coleshill House, Berkshire
Coleshill House was a much admired seventeenth-century country house which the architectural historian John Summerson referred to as ‘a statement of the utmost value to British architecture’. Following a disastrous fire in September 1952 the remains of the house were demolished amidst much controversy shortly before the Coleshill estate including the house were due to pass to the National Trust. The editor of The Connoisseur, L.G.G. Ramsey, published a piece in the magazine in 1953 lamenting the loss of what he described as ‘the most important and significant single house in England’. ‘Now’, he wrote, ‘only X marks the spot where Coleshill once stood’.

Visiting the site of the house today on the Trust’s Coleshill estate there remains a palpable sense of the absent building. This thesis engages with the house that continues to exist in the realm of the imagination, and asks how Coleshill is brought to mind not simply through the visual signals that remain on the estate, but also through the mental reckoning resulting from what we know and understand of the house. In particular, this project explores the complexities of how the idea of Coleshill as a canonical work in British architectural histories was created and sustained over time.

By considering how past owners of Coleshill subscribed to the notion of the canonical house this thesis contributes new knowledge about architectural ideology and practice in the long eighteenth century. Furthermore an examination of the pivotal moment when the house was lost in the mid-twentieth century sheds new light on how approaches to historic architecture impacted on ideas of national heritage at the time. This allows us not only to become more cognizant of the absent house, but the practice of formulating architectural histories is itself exposed to scrutiny.
Fielder, Karen
d7c675cf-0980-4d72-bd5d-248330af4eda
Fielder, Karen
d7c675cf-0980-4d72-bd5d-248330af4eda
ARNOLD, DANA
8cf98f7d-b93c-49c8-b94d-d48e5fe53ea4

(2012) 'X' marks the spot: the history and historiography of Coleshill House, Berkshire. University of Southampton, Faculty of Humanities, Doctoral Thesis, 328pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Coleshill House was a much admired seventeenth-century country house which the architectural historian John Summerson referred to as ‘a statement of the utmost value to British architecture’. Following a disastrous fire in September 1952 the remains of the house were demolished amidst much controversy shortly before the Coleshill estate including the house were due to pass to the National Trust. The editor of The Connoisseur, L.G.G. Ramsey, published a piece in the magazine in 1953 lamenting the loss of what he described as ‘the most important and significant single house in England’. ‘Now’, he wrote, ‘only X marks the spot where Coleshill once stood’.

Visiting the site of the house today on the Trust’s Coleshill estate there remains a palpable sense of the absent building. This thesis engages with the house that continues to exist in the realm of the imagination, and asks how Coleshill is brought to mind not simply through the visual signals that remain on the estate, but also through the mental reckoning resulting from what we know and understand of the house. In particular, this project explores the complexities of how the idea of Coleshill as a canonical work in British architectural histories was created and sustained over time.

By considering how past owners of Coleshill subscribed to the notion of the canonical house this thesis contributes new knowledge about architectural ideology and practice in the long eighteenth century. Furthermore an examination of the pivotal moment when the house was lost in the mid-twentieth century sheds new light on how approaches to historic architecture impacted on ideas of national heritage at the time. This allows us not only to become more cognizant of the absent house, but the practice of formulating architectural histories is itself exposed to scrutiny.

PDF
Final Ethesis.pdf - Other
Download (6MB)

More information

Published date: June 2012
Organisations: University of Southampton, History

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 367361
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/367361
PURE UUID: e3ae8dd5-abd7-4a71-b3a0-c9888dce5413

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 23 Oct 2014 11:56
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 02:00

Export record

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×