It has been said that Britain's greatest contribution to the history of architecture is the creation and development of the country houses, estate and collections. Millions each year visit stately homes that either through good fortune, wise management, the National Trust or sheer good luck managed to avoid demolition. As a nation we are now proud of these monuments to our history.
However, hundreds of houses, both the grand and small, have been lost. Until the 1970s, the greatest danger was that there were few legal limits as to what the owners did with their properties. Houses which had been passed down through many years, and the associated family collections, could be lost within a generation.
The reasons were varied; demolished due to financial difficulties as agricultural or mining incomes fell or due to heavy inheritance tax demands, urban or industrial development blighted others, lack of use, fire, requisitioning during WWI and WWII, or natural threats such as dry or wet rot.
Lost Heritage is a personal project which aims to create an authoratitive and comprehensive list of the many significant English country houses which have been demolished or severely reduced.
A majority of those included in the Lost Heritage list would now be classified as Grade I, Grade II* or II - but others have been also included where they were likely to be of importance within a local area. These houses range in style from the smaller manor houses to the Classical mansions to the vast Victorian Gothic palaces. The aim is to list and provide an 'architectural biography' comprising a full history including who built the house, when and why it was demolished and to have an image of the house - be it a photo or a print.
The list also uses the county names and geographical boundaries from before the 1972 local government re-organisation which removed or significantly altered many of the historic counties. Much of the research and documentation relating to the houses naturally refers to the pre-1972 boundaries, locations and names so I have kept to these also.
Views and opinions are my own. If you have any questions or comments please contact me.
This website is dedicated to incredible research and tireless campaigning of those who have so greatly enhanced our understanding of the lost country houses: John Harris, Marcus Binney, Sir Roy Strong, Peter Reid and Giles Worsley.