Leeds, United Kingdom

The English Country House: A Social History

when 2 July 2022 - 16 July 2022
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 5 EC
fee GBP 1820

Country houses (stately homes) are one of Britain’s greatest contributions to world culture, but who created them and why? Have they always functioned as ‘containers’ for art collections or have they had deeper meanings and a wider social impact? Using Yorkshire’s world-class country houses as case studies, this course will introduce you to:

The builders of the country house.
The rise and fall of the great estates.
The ‘upstairs’ lives of the men, women and children who lived in the country house and the ‘downstairs’ world of the men and women who served them.
The idea of a ‘court style’ and its regional variations.
The often difficult relationship between patron and architect.
The allied arts of interior design and decoration.
The relationship between the aristocratic great house, the more modest gentleman’s house and the villa.

Tutor-led visits to houses such as Temple Newsam, Harewood House and Castle Howard are an important feature of this course.

Please note, the Leeds International Summer School runs for four weeks (2 - 30 July 2022). You can choose to study with us for two weeks or for the full four-week programme. Each module lasts two weeks so you study one module if you choose to attend for two weeks and two modules if you choose to attend for four weeks.

Course leader

Kerry Bristol

Target group

Undergraduate/Bachelor students

Course aim

On completion of this module, students should be able to undertake a critical analysis of visual and textual documentation relating to the history of the country house in England between the Tudor era and the present day.

Students should be able to:
- identify who built country houses, when and why
- understand how the 'upstairs' and 'downstairs' realms functioned
- understand how patrons, architects/designers and craftsmen interacted
- and distinguish between different types of country house.

Credits info

5 EC
The module is worth 10 Leeds credits = 5 ECTS. You can transfer the credits earned back to your home degree subject to approval.

Fee info

GBP 1820: Leeds International Summer School (LISS) is an all-inclusive programme. Included in the programme fee is tuition, accommodation, breakfast and lunch, Monday to Friday, module field trips, weekend excursions, social programme and The Edge sports centre membership. The cost of flights, insurance and visa is not included.


If you have a GPA of 3.2 or above (or equivalent) you're eligible to apply for a Merit scholarship worth up to £500. We are also looking for LISS Champions to receive a scholarship of £1000 while sharing their experiences of LISS via different platforms.